How innovative tools like AI and neuroscience are transforming the consumer research industry
Cristina Cernega Couturier, Global Consumer Insights Lead at Symrise AG, is coming to MRMW EU 2023 to share her insights into market research. In our series of interviews with speakers, we asked Cristina about the topic of her talk and her motivations to join MRMW EU 2023.
MRMW EU: Without giving too much away – what is the core message of your talk at MRMW EU and what would you like delegates to remember?
In a fast-evolving and complex environment, understanding change and delivering good insights at the right moment is key. In parallel, we see possibilities for innovation everywhere nowadays, not only in our consumer research tools (social insights, AI, neuroscience) but also in our ways to connect insights to stakeholders (design thinking, ideation, or activation workshops). Perhaps tomorrow we’ll see a complete redefinition of our skills and role within the company. What I would like delegates to remember is that innovation in consumer research is more needed than ever to help companies make the best decisions.
MRMW EU: How has this impacted your own work and your organisation?
With every new tool we introduce, we enhance our credibility as a solution provider in the field of market research, operating at different levels: firstly, in front of our internal stakeholders, serving as a trusted partner and not merely a source of reports or data; secondly, in front of our clients, acting as an inspiring collaborator with solutions tailored to market needs, rather than just a provider of ingredients. As a Consumer Market Insights (CMI) expert, my role is to propose the most effective research design to my internal partners and also to guide them in understanding and applying insights. This means maintaining a constant curiosity and openness for learning about market trends and consumer behavior, as well as an eagerness to be challenged and tackle out-of-the-box questions.
MRMW EU: The MRMW EU focuses on new tools, methods, and technologies. What are two things you hope to crowdsource more info on in your conversations?
My first wish would be to know more about new or better tools in the market regarding neuroscience. Symrise has its own internal program, designed to measure brain and body reactions to different scents or textures, and this expertise is constantly nourished and challenged by the latest technological developments. My second wish would be to understand how AI could shape the world of consumer research. Today Symrise is already using AI to generate scents, measure skin sensitivity, or foresee trends of tomorrow’s flavours. However, consumer research is a very human-centric expertise with a lot of automation platforms already in place. It would be very interesting to assess some real benefits of AI but also to understand its lowlights.
MRMW EU: With ever-evolving tech-stacks, which one has been a real game-changer for you? Whether it’s the use of your time, changing the way you work, or helping you deliver better results? (functionality, not brand)
One of the major changes for me is in the way we connect consumer research with business or R&D. CMI can have the edgiest technology in hand, but if this tool does not properly relate to people making strategic decisions, it does not serve at all. Since last year, I started implementing workshops inspired by design thinking methods to activate consumer research. It is more time-consuming than just presenting a report, but the quality of the outcome and the collaboration established do not raise any doubts about its necessity in the future.
MRMW EU: What has been the main impact of technological & methodological advances for your team/colleagues?
My colleagues experienced different situations such as breaking up silos, challenging different perspectives, developing empathy, encouraging creativity, boosting critical thinking, in one word, creating context for an agile innovation process. Today, all strategic consumer research should be paired with workshops, and this could even start before the fieldwork.
MRMW EU: What motivates you to join the MRMW EU conference and what are your expectations?
It will be my first participation in this event, so I am very excited and eager to meet other consumer research experts, learn about their experiences, share mine, exchange ideas, broaden my horizon with up-to-date tools/methodologies, or simply enjoy cross-fertilization and fun from a nice bunch of experienced professionals. As someone once said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.