Happy birthday to us.  Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

We’ve had a busy first year and have to keep pinching ourselves about what we’ve achieved. Despite the age of a few of us we’ve still learnt a few things along the way. So we’ve created our own listical of 5 of them.

Sapio's first year in numbers

1.    The importance of a well framed question hasn’t gone away.

The old adage of ‘garbage in garbage out’ is probably more relevant today than ever. The proliferation of Big Data makes it all the more important with the likes of IBM et al having banged on about determining the question you really want to be able to answer with your data for years. 

AI is smart, and no doubt set to take away many of the mundane, logical jobs of marketing and alike, even going as far as giving pointers on Tone of Voice and creating content in the first place.  It’s certainly not going away with Google funding programmes by the Press Association. However, as of yet there is still a gap in the complete creation of original content and coming up with the angle or concept behind it.

AI is based on machine learning, so by definition ’reproductive learning’. It needs to be taught and fed things, the kind of things a curious, questioning human being can feed it as we have a better capacity to forecast.

And closer to home, from a survey perspective, if the question isn’t well framed in the original research it won’t get you the insight or the angle you are after.  We can wax lyrical about the do’s and dont’s of questionnaire construction, but suffice to say questions construction isn’t as easy as it might seem.  For example, what would you do with the responses for this kind of question that asks two things at once. Q What is the trendiest and cheapest smartphone on the market?

In our experience (and we’ve got over 48 years of ‘traditional strategic’ research between us) framing the right questions to get the story you are after can be more tough than the exploratory, objective surveys.

 

2.    Social Media hasn’t killed the online panel

Members of Sapio’s team, in a previous life were probably among the first to fully adopt online research methodologies and sing about the virtues of online panels: the time and cost savings, ability to target specific profiles, easily work across countries etc. They built their own panel and share their knowledge with others wanting to do the same.

Over that time new technologies arrived and Social Media was paraded as the great alternative to actually asking humans their opinions via an online forum or survey for example. Then people got a bit wiser about the value of their own digital footprint and security and started doing more and more things behind closed doors e.g. Whatsapp. Currently 77% of content is being shared via ‘Dark Social’, so ‘listening’ to their opinions isn’t quite as easy as initially thought as there are loads of info gaps.  

Cookies can track digital behaviour but they have more difficulty in explaining why someone has done something. So the power of an online panel with member digital tracking facilities can reinvigorate the value of panels all over again. Through our use of Cint Connect, we’ve seen that the panel isn’t dead yet, a whole new chapter is opening.

 

3.    Forklift trucks can be interesting, honest!

The Materials Handling market is often maligned as being dull and slow moving. We’ve monitored its spectacular services level for years, but never quite been excited enough about it. But then we got involved with Jungheinrich UK developing a new service, launching it and ultimately changing its brand promise, so our perceptions changed.  Admittedly, we can’t claim to have done it all by ourselves, but to get such a deep understanding of how a business operates and see how our insights are changed into (many) actions is fascinating.

It also turns out that our learnings are interesting enough to share with the great and the good of the research world, as we’ll be part of the line-up for the MRS’s Driving Transformation Through Insight Conference in October. Design thinking here we come!

 

4.    There is serendipity in the Gig economy

Having previously worked in a big group, the need to get outside assistance was low. We worked within corporate accounting systems and were more restrained in our decision making.

Now we can turn to who we want, when for assistance we’re finding out that accounts are our friend and symbiotic relationships can be found in the most unlikely of places.  When you’re small you both, seek and offer more assistance to others and the benefits can be pleasantly surprising.

Through a chance meeting while brushing up our creativity skills at an AQR event we found a relationship that has led to us sharing an office with a lovely independent workplace consultancy company Burtt-Jones and Brewer.

With a heightened empathy for fellow start-ups we’ve joined a Collective (the Campaign Collective), run joint initiatives together and will soon be presenting at the PRCA’s Charity and Not-For-Profit group together, talking about the potential AI can have to campaign success.

We’ve even found a lovely freelance Creative Director Justin Robert Price who is working wonders on our visuals and offering us plenty of inspiration.

 

5.    You are never too far from an Eat

It turns out we have a choice of 9 Eat sandwich shops within 500 meters from the office!!! Thank goodness there are healthy lunch spots, it relieves the conscious after visiting all those rooftop bars!

 

Here is the next year of the journey, if you want to be a part of it with us, please call on +44 (0) 207 2361 604