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Cultural/Social Insights

We set up the consultancy to work in collaboration with clients, helping them to deal with the challenges impacting their brands. Our work is highly varied, ranging as it does from board-level consultancy to street level research. This unusual approach is our preferred way of working, as it enables us to combine ‘cultural/social reality’ alongside next-generation trends and scenario planning, etc.

This means that our case histories are extremely varied. Many are naturally confidential due to NDA agreements etc, but for a very topline summary of those that we can mention, the following ‘Top 20′ (randomly ordered, we promise!) will give you an idea of just how varied our work is…

1. For the fashion brand Comptoir des Cotonniers, we conducted desk and retail sector trend research in the UK and France alongside a range of ethnographic in-home interviews & accompanied shopping, plus depth interviews with industry experts inc bloggers, authors and fashion journalists. That project ended with ideation workshops run in liaison with their US/Japanese/EU teams.

2. We’ve been lucky enough to have worked with loads of great brands and agencies over the years, where the need for actionable consumer insights has been absolutely vital. For the healthcare insurance giants AXA PPP, we ran a series of ethnographic interviews with a range of truly inspirational people; and used that insight to assist the creative agency in developing impactful and motivating communications.

3. We’ve conducted some fascinating projects for Principal Hotels, an example being when we were briefed to conduct international trend research, consumer and trade insights plus brand development work relating to a total relaunch of hotels operating in the ‘upscale four star’ space.

4. We like helping brands play an active community role via clarifying an actionable social mission that’s relevant to the heart of their business. An example of this was our recent work for Dishoom: a company that genuinely ‘does it like they say it’.

5. Our latest project for Unilever was to advise on their sponsorship of New York Fashion Week. We’ve conducted numerous tasks for them over the years, inc giving trend speeches, running workshops and conducting international ethnographic research alongside focus groups etc.

6. General Motors briefed us to help them ‘reconnect with blue-collar America’. So we went to the most blue-collar state (Texas) and conducted ethnographic interviews alongside focus groups and cultural/social trend research.

7. Costa asked us to conduct trend research in New York City, Stockholm, Berlin and Tokyo; alongside linking with the amazingly creative students at Central St Martins to develop ideas around future retail.

8. Warburtons asked us to conduct trend research in Japan, the US and Europe; looking into areas inc sustainability, product and packaging futures.

9. We’ve conducted some fascinating projects for the National Lottery, from investigating deep social/cultural issues to strategic input on major events like the Olympics, to developing scenario planning around business forecasting.

10. Our research for Beiersdorf inc everything from strategic scenario-planning projects to annual-reviews to running ideation sessions.

11. The original challenger-brand that’s a staple of every MBA course, we conducted a brand-audit for Swatch that included interviewing product-design experts, fashion-forward consumers and a mass of compset trend research.

12. For the beautiful English sparkling wine Nyetimber, we’ve conducted focus groups, interviewed industry experts, and conducted trend research into the luxury sector, resulting in their brand positioning & strategy development.

13. We’ve conducted a variety of projects for the IDB, working in several countries on projects ranging from brand positioning, to concept development, comms testing, and ethnographic activity that’s inc in-home research everywhere from Moscow to L.A. to Jeddah.

14. Research for GSK took us to Asia, the US and Europe, looking into the energy, nutrition and sleep sectors via a mixture of focus groups, expert interviews and trend research.

15. For Tetley, we conducted a wide range of consumer and expert work in New York, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Stockholm and Berlin.

16. Co-op are a genuinely great brand, with an equally impressive social history for whom we’ve conducted detailed ‘Future of Retail’ research for their board. This involved a range of interviews with international industry experts and serious amounts of desk / trend research.

17. Xfm were our first client all those years ago! How pleased we were when, on the first day that we set up the consultancy, what was then the UK’s leading alternative radio station phoned up, and asked us to conduct a brand audit.

18. We’ve worked on numerous national branding projects over the years, and one of the most interesting involved us conducting social / cultural / brand research for the ‘Visit Britain’ strategy.

19. Based in one of the most beautiful cities in Italy (Bologna) we’ve had great fun working with Granarolo, for whom we looked into several areas re: their future planning for international expansion.

20. We’re just back from giving a speech in Prague – the previous time we were there involved running strategic ideation sessions for the global Coca-Cola NPD and consumer insights teams.