Research often hangs out in the background, behind the flash and sparkle of the creative campaigns. However, on 2 September, the shadowy figures of the research industry stepped into the limelight as they descended upon the Hilton for the 2016 Research Association Effectiveness Awards (RAE Awards).
The awards – hosted every two years – were to honour the research agencies who work to help brands, marketers, and other clients understand their customers (and potential customers). Research Association New Zealand executive secretary said there were only about 10 large firms, and about 90 smaller firms, in the industry in New Zealand, but that the work they did was crucial to marketers to know who to sell their products and services to – and how to sell them to specific people.
That was a theme throughout the evening. Research Association New Zealand chair and convener of judges Winifred Henderson said it was important to honour the importance of research. “Most of the work goes on behind closed doors,” she said to a snazzily-dressed audience of several dozen. “But that’s what we’re here celebrating tonight.”
Emcee comedian Te Radar (who showed no signs of fatigue after hosting the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards the night before) delivered a steady stream of idiosyncratic jokes and witticisms, eliciting laughter, chuckles and guffaws from the audience over the duration of the three-course dinner.
Colmar Brunton took home the most awards of any company, winning the SSI Consumer Products Platinum Award, the AUT Business School Business to Business Platinum Award, the Nielsen Social and Community Platinum Award, the Infotools DIVAs Award, and the evening's most prestigious award, the Research Now Supreme Award.
Research Association New Zealand executive director Rob Bree said that, overall, the evening was a great success because it recognised the achievements of people within the industry. An industry undergoing massive flux, he said if it wasn’t for research, clients wouldn’t even know really who they were marketing their products or services to, meaning an entry into a market was like a proverbial “shot in the dark” with a low chance of success. Because of that, it was important to recognise and celebrate success within the industry.
The evening kicked into a more active gear following Colmar Brunton’s Supreme Award win, with a DJ spinning a combination of modern pop and 80s music as attendees boogied on the dance floor. And why wouldn’t they dance? Thinking of it in an extended metaphor, market researchers provide the sheets for which marketers write the music that is played for us by brands for us – the consumers – to hear.
List of Platinum Award winners:
- SSI Consumer Products – Colmar Brunton and The Coca-Cola Company: Goldilocks and the Three Ginger Beers – A tale of perseverance and bear-like grit.
- SSI Consumer Services – Ipsos and ASB: Using customer feedback to build a better banking experience. ASB Voice of the Customer.
- AUT Business School Business to Business – Colmar Brunton and Xero: Learning how to read the Signals on this new road
- AUT Business School Business to Business – Nielsen and Hobsonville Point Land Company: Putting the Customers at the Heart of the Home
- Nielsen Media & Advertising – TRA and Sealord: Let’s get real – Heidi, The Hills and Sealord
- Nielsen Social and Community – Colmar Brunton and Inland Revenue: Cracking the growing student loan debt dilemma – a $300 million success story
- Infotools Sustained Success – Infotools and The Coca-Cola Company: What “The Godfather” has to do with Coca-Cola. Infotools’ successful role as the protocol and quality control consigliere.
List of Gold Award winners:
- SSI Consumer Products Gold Award – Fiftyfive5 and Lion New Zealand: Mac's Brand restage
- SSI Consumer Products Gold Award – TNS New Zealand and Trilogy Natural Products: Powered by nature: shifting the Trilogy brand into high gear
- SSI Consumer Services Gold Award – TNS New Zealand and Air New Zealand: Supercharging the high value customer loyalty programme
- SSI Consumer Services Gold Award – Colmar Brunton and Vodafone NZ: Kiwis Living in the Digital Age
- Nielsen Media & Advertising – Glasshouse Consulting & Associates and Māori Television: The Foundation for Growth
- Nielsen Media & Advertising – Ipsos and NZX Agri: The Green Green Grass of a Revitalised Content Strategy
- Nielsen Social and Community – TRA and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa: Te Wānanga o Aotearoa - moving Maori education into the 21st Century
- Perceptive Community Advancement: Nielsen and Look Good Feel Better NZ: Finding the Real Story for Look Good Feel Better
- Infotools Sustained Success – Ipsos and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority: Here’s a tip – how research helped shape New Zealanders’ attitudes towards energy efficiency
- Infotools Data Insight Visualization Award (DIVAs) – The Colmar Brunton Creative & Multi-media Team: Babyboomers; Truths & Myths
- AUT Business School Young Researcher of the Year Award – Philippe Boulanger (NeedScope International)
- SSI Effective Partnership Award – Infotools and The Coca-Cola Company: What “The Godfather” has to do with Coca-Cola. Infotools’ successful role as the protocol and quality control consigliere.
- Infotools Innovation Award – TRA and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa: Te Wānanga o Aotearoa - moving Maori education into the 21st Century
- Research Now Supreme Award – Colmar Brunton and Inland Revenue: Cracking the growing student loan debt dilemma – a $300 million success story
This story also appeared on Idealog.