I’m Joining Vision Critical

This is an unusual post as it all about me and my new role with Vision Critical, but hopefully it will be of some interest to readers.

I am excited to announce that I have been appointed by Vision Critical as Executive Vice President with responsibility for the UK, joining an established team in Vision Critical’s London office. Along with the current leadership team of Kris Hartvigsen and Mike Stevens, I will be working with clients and research partners to utilise community panels to bring the ‘magic of listening’ to more products and services.

Several people will probably be wondering why I have chosen to move from a consulting life-style to a corporate role and I think there are four main reasons:

  1. Advising businesses and thought leaders has been stimulating, but I feel it is time to roll up my sleeves and help create something tangible.
  2. I feel that brands in the UK, indeed across Europe, are missing a major chance by not adopting community panels more rapidly and more completely.
  3. Vision Critical are the global brand leader in community panels and I think they are well placed to help the European market move to the next level
  4. I like the Vision Critical people (both the senior people and the local people) and the position they have created for me.

I have been saying that community panels were shaping up to change the face of brand/customer research and relations, for some time. Indeed, one of the key interviews in the Handbook of Online and Social Media Research was with Angus Reid (CEO of Vision Critical), exploring the benefits of community panels. However, although community panels have expanded massively in North America and Australia, their growth in UK and Europe has been patchy. In my view this represents a missed opportunity for European clients, who could be benefiting from faster, cheaper, and more flexible research.

There is growing support for the idea that every brand needs a community to keep in touch with its customers and to help it co-create its future. Some people believe these communities could or should be small and qualitative, such as the MROCs of 200-300 members. However, I think the future is going to be dominated by the community panel, which can be configured to provide both qual and quant, intense communities and wider advocacy groups, ad hoc studies and longitudinal analysis, and most excitingly of all a link between the voice of the consumer and the growing petabytes of BI (Business Information) data.

If you have enjoyed my writings, webinars, workshops, and conference presentations, do not worry, I won’t be disappearing from view. Vision Critical were attracted to me because of my immersion in the discourse of new market research, they are not about to lose that insight now I am part of their team. Expect to see me at a wide variety of meetings, talking about a wide variety of topics, and taking polemical positions.

Over the next few weeks, my appearances in my new Vision Critical role include a keynote presentation and workshop for the Australian AMSRS, workshops for the UK’s MRS, a workshop and presentations at ESOMAR events (including the Congress in Amsterdam and the 3D Online Conference in Miami), and of course chairing the Festival of NewMR.

Plenty of changes!

This new role will result in several changes, including:

  1. I am going to be living in London, Monday to Friday.
  2. The Future Place is going to largely close down its consulting role and concentrate on supporting, running and facilitating NewMR.
  3. I will be standing down from The Future Place and Helen Bartlett has been promoted to Managing Director of The Future Place.
  4. I am standing down as the Organiser of NewMR and Sue York, one of the founders of NewMR, will be stepping into the role. I will be returning in the unpaid positions of Chair of the Festival of NewMR and co-host of Radio NewMR.

What Next?

For the next few weeks I will be tidying up loose ends, receiving some intensive training on Vision Critical’s systems, completing a 30 mile sponsored run (see http://thefutureplace.typepad.com/saints_way_2011/), taking a two-week holiday, and appearing at conferences and workshops in Sydney, London, and Amsterdam.

After that I will be visiting as many people as possible to share with them my vision of how community panels can give clients faster, cheaper, and more flexible research, and how partnering with Vision Critical can enable market research agencies to profitably provide global brand leader solutions to their clients.

If you would like to have a chat about community panels contact me and we’ll set up a chat.

As part of the changes I will be stopping blogging at The Future Place and will instead by blogging at:

  • Vision Critical’s website – watch out for my personal blog shortly
  • RayPoynter.com – for my extracurricular thoughts and comments
  • And as a guest blogger at sites like NewMR.org and GreenBook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *