MRMW 2021: A Short Review of Day 1

An exciting first day of MRMW 2021 concluded with (wonderful) networking – those who attended will understand the pun. Looking back at the day, here are some of my key take-aways and observations.

The insights function is increasingly recognized as delivering real business insights. Google’s Mac Smith went as far as predicting that within the next 10 years half of the fortune 500 companies will have a c-level officer for customer experimentation and insights. Miles Drayton, Mondelez also emphasised (consumer) insights feed the background of all innovation, activation, forecasting. So while their impact may be hard to measure in short term – neglecting your insights function will hurt your business in the long run.

Social media takes the lead when needing to collect insights fast. Corona has forced businesses, consumers, and consequently researchers to act and adapt fast. Insights needed to be gathered at high speed in order to understand how consumer sentiments shifted globally and in record time.

ATCS’ Claudia Lucchese Aiman-Smith demonstrated this by showing how social media mentions exploded from around 6000 at the end of December 2019 to 124 million by the end of February 2020. Pepsi used ATCS’s social media analysis to better understand and respond to the changed emotional state of consumers during this time.

ViacomCBS is taking a more long-term approach to quickly and regularly tap into their audience. Using a video based community provided by Rival enables ViacomCBS to collect results fast but also continuous – especially during a crisis where insights and changes need to be realised fast. The broadcaster goes as far as their staff becoming social media influencers in their own right, creating a strong bond with the community.

An emotion economy?

“Emotional appeal reigns supreme” says PT Man from Streetbees – emphasising that everyday choices are primarily driven by emotion (and context). So when brands understand what consumers go through, they can create stories that consumers can positively relate to, creating stronger connections.

David Evans from Microsoft focuses on creating “peak moments” for consumers because they define brand memories. So while it is important to fix weaknesses or bugs, creating strong “AHA moments” is substantially more rewarding in terms of creating brand value.

With emotions being notoriously hard to measure, Olivier Tijon from Beyond Reason is proposing that the market research industry will change forever and for the better through the application of neuroscience. Top marketing starts with the best possible understanding of consumers’ minds. In the example provided, combining insights into consumers’ external voice through traditional research and into their internal voice via neuroscience helped to turn around declining sales of a cookie brand by refocusing its messaging to consumers.

Learning from failure

How to you possibly summarize a “failure panel” where seasoned research executives share their learnings from past mistakes? I won’t even try but invite you to see for yourself – all MRMW 2021 sessions are available on-demand at Thanks to Laurence Miklichansky-Maddocks, Dan Foreman, Pavi GuptaSiamack Salari, Jonathan Grove for their bravery!

Up for more? There are still two more days of MRMW 2021 to come. Join us!

Also read: A (post) Covid World – Day 2 of MRMW 2021

Sign-up to receive our regular newsletters, updates and special offers!

linkfluence banner
Avatar photo

Jens Cornelissen

Jens Cornelissen has been writing for over two decades – initially for general newspapers in his home country Germany. After receiving an MA degree in Communications, he joined a new media start-up in Amsterdam as consultant on new media technologies and country editor for two daily newsletters. In his current day job, Jens runs the global conference division for Merlien’s dedicated marketing research events. Jens is a trained journalist with a BA in Journalism from Westminster University in London and has authored several media industry reports and articles on mobile and media technology.

View all posts by Jens Cornelissen →

2 thoughts on “MRMW 2021: A Short Review of Day 1

Leave a Reply

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