Tag Archives: Tom LaForge

The Cultural Macroforces Redefining Market Research & Shopper Insights

The business environment of 2020 will look nothing like the business environment of today.

Global Macroforces are reshaping our world and people everywhere are responding with new ideas of what constitutes a great company or a great brand.

Business leaders will need to revamp their skillsets in order to understand and surpass these new expectations. And your first step is to come see exactly how one global futurist already sees 2020 emerging.
In this video interview from the 3rd Annual International Shopper Insights in Action Event in Prague, Tom LaForge, Global Director of Human & Cultural Insights, THE COCA-COLA COMPANY, discusses his keynote “The Emerging Relationship Economy: How Cultural Macroforces are Redefining Business, Brands, and the Skillset You’ll Need to Succeed in the Years Ahead,” where he shared which macroforces & trends will play the biggest role in reshaping global culture & consumer preferences and which skills you and your company will need to acquire in order to create flourishing brands and thriving companies.

The International Shopper Insights in Action Event is the most integrated, cross-market shopper agenda focused on strategy and activation. Details on how to join us for the 4th Annual International Shopper Insights in Action Conference, taking place on 3-5 November in Edinburgh can be found here.

Privacy Engineering: How Researchers Can Protect Consumers and Companies

By Marc Dresner, IIR

Those of you who follow this blog know I’ve been a little
hung up on privacy lately. 

My last two posts, respectively, have dealt with
data brokers and the relatively unchecked accumulation of people’s personal information on- and offline by companies nowadays.

Today I want to look at the privacy engineering movement
that’s been gaining traction in the IT community and why researchers ought to
take note.
But first, just to refresh, in my previous posts I’ve echoed
a growing sentiment among experts that we may be on the brink of a privacy
backlash in response to a perceived lack of informed consent and
transparency with regard to Big Data collection and use.
In a nutshell, there’s mounting consumer anxiety over what some characterize as a sort of Big Brother-style corporate surveillance.
It’s a worrisome trend at a time when trust in brands and
companies’particularly among younger cohorts’is already abysmally low.

A Consumer Trust Crisis

Coca-Cola’s Global Director of Human and Cultural Insights,
Tom LaForge, summed up the trust situation well in a speech I attended earlier
this year:
‘Whether or not a competitor will steal share is not what
you should worry about. Worry instead about whether or not people will allow
you to stay in business, because ‘big’ is on probation,’ said LaForge.

‘Worry about
whether or not people will allow you to stay in business, because ‘big’ is on
‘ Tom LaForge, 
The Coca-Cola Co. 
‘People do not trust big entities,’ he added. ‘They don’t
trust governments. And global corporations are often bigger than governments. Corporations
are about as big as it gets.’
How bad is this trust crisis? LaForge said ‘corporations are losing the social
license to operate’ as a result.
In such a climate, it’s not implausible that a
well-publicized privacy breach (note that’s privacy
breach, not data security breach) might
cause serious, even irreparable damage to a brand, company or other
institution’s credibility and relationship with the public.

Privacy: It’s About Ethics Not Compliance

Accordingly, experts are advising companies to think about
privacy not in terms of compliance, but in terms of ethics.
Indeed, the reason privacy is getting so much attention
these days is arguably because current legislation and regulation don’t go far
enough and may not be able keep pace with technological change.
In lieu of statute, companies must sort out privacy ethics
on their own. That’s a complicated affair in which the research community can
be an invaluable resource.
But first, I humbly suggest that researchers get acquainted
with ‘privacy engineering.’

What is Privacy Engineering?

An increasingly popular approach with the tech set, privacy engineering endeavors to
systematize privacy and embed it in the products and processes companies use, buy, create
and sell. 
I conducted a podcast interview on the subject with one of its pioneers, Michelle Dennedy, VP and Chief Privacy Officer at
McAfee, back in April.
Dennedy, whose credentials straddle the legal and
technological aspects of data security and privacy, is also co-author of ‘The Privacy Engineer’s Manifesto: Getting from Policy to Code to QA to Value.’

engineering is a way to build respect for information about people back into
our infrastructure.’ 
- Michelle Dennedy, McAfee 
‘Privacy engineering is a way to build respect for information about
people back into our infrastructure and to think about data from the consumer
perspective,’ Dennedy told me.

It’s particularly important for researchers to familiarize themselves
with this approach, I think, in part because companies are increasingly looking outside the
research function to data scientists to manage Big Data.

You don’t need to be an IT specialist to understand ‘The Privacy
Engineer’s Manifesto’ and it may be just the blueprint consumer researchers need
to insinuate themselves in the fundamental discussions that shape not only
privacy policy and practice, but the manner and extent to which companies
harness Big Data moving forward.

See Also: Privacy by Design

I would also advise researchers to familiarize themselves
with another, similar concept: Privacy by Design’ (PbD).

PbD is both an approach
and a landmark resolution approved by international data protection and
privacy commissioners in Jerusalem in 2010.
The PbD framework sets out seven foundation principles aimed
at ensuring that privacy is embedded into new technologies and business
practices from the outset and boils down to three key tenets:
Trust and control
Freedom of choice
According to Dr. Ann Cavoukian, former Privacy and
Information Commissioner of Ontario, Canada, and architect of PbD, privacy
policies are becoming meaningless to people and companies should not hide
behind them.
‘If your company does something with people’s information
that might raise ethical questions, stating it in a privacy policy’even if it
isn’t buried in jargon’does not equate to informed consent. People check the box
without reading all the time,’ Cavoukian told a room full of consumer
researchers back in May.
‘Privacy isn’t
something people think they should have to ask for; it’s a presumption.’ 
‘ Privacy and Information Commissioner
Ann Cavoukian

‘Privacy isn’t something people think they should have to
ask for; it’s a presumption,’ Cavoukian added.

Bottom line: A privacy policy may protect a company in a
lawsuit, but it won’t help in the court of public opinion, where the stakes
may be much higher.
To illustrate just how serious the threat of a
public backlash has become, Cavoukian cited a variety of survey data,
most notably a January 2014 AP-GfK poll in which more than 60% of respondents
said they value their privacy over anti-terror protections.

PbD and privacy
engineering offer a compelling safeguard to companies because they’re
inherently proactive. You’re embedding privacy protection in everything you do
and design’right down to the code’from the get-go.
While it may seem expensive to take the necessary steps to
ensure that all current and future products, systems, etc., meet standards that
may not be mandated by law, the cost may be infinitely higher to implement,
revise and rebuild after a privacy breach.

How does this
apply to researchers?

We tend to think of this stuff as falling under the purview
of a Chief Privacy Officer, but it’s both an imperative and an opportunity for
Consumer researchers are probably the last people who
require a lecture on the ethical collection and use of data or the sanctity of
trust’without it, we have no respondents’but as you well know, research today
is neither confined to direct response methodologies nor gathered exclusively
from opt-in panels and communities.
Moreover, a research department typically isn’t the only
entity in a company engaged in the collection of consumer data, its sole repository or the arbiter
of its use.
In short, there’s plenty of room for an unintentional breach
of privacy ethics in most organizations today. And given the stakes, this
represents an unacceptable risk.
So, the time has come for internal research functions to get
involved in privacy discussions outside departmental walls and to have a hand
not just in crafting policy and protocol, but to make the case to management for
building a company-wide culture that understands and respects consumer privacy.
So start by paying a visit to your colleagues in IT to talk
about privacy engineering. Privacy oversight will need to cover marketing,
R&D, sales, etc. 

This is a chance for research to assert influence over all of a
company’s present and future consumer information assets. It’s a natural fit.

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

Consumer Macro Forces Will Change the World ‘ Is Your Market Research Ready?

Once upon a time, brands competed on emotional and
functional attributes ‘ making money by selling products based on these things
alone. This was market research industry for a long time, when researchers had
it easy.
Then, one day category after category became filled with
similar products. People taught themselves how to focus in on the best set of
solutions and differentiation ultimately went away. Because of this, large
established brands lost loyalty. Over the last decade, small new entrants have
come into categories, introducing brands that come with a proposition about a
better way to live our lives.
At The Future of Consumer
Intelligence 2013
, we sat down with Coca Cola’s Tom LaForge to discuss the
implications and changes to the market research industry, as well as the
importance of macros forces and trends in market research today.
According to LaForge, who has been with Coca Cola for 15
years, a macro force is a vector that tells you where you are going. ‘It either
has to affect most people on the planet or everyone on the planet. And, there
are more of these macro forces today than there have ever been before,’ he
As LaForge looks at how the world is changing by studying
the macro forces, he sees that it will have implications for everybody because
the entire world is changing ‘ including governments, companies, and even within
companies there will be implications for how we manage brands and research.
‘I don’t know what the future is going to look like, but I
can tell you that your research and your branding and your marketing and how
you manage your company’s image are all going to be affected,’ LaForge said.
So, why do you think most corporations have a research
department? Well of course, to help the company make better decisions.
‘So, how are we going to do that? We are going to get some
data,’ explained LaForge. ‘And, that data tends to be: ‘prove it to me.’ When
people start asking for proof like that, we tend to resort to can we validate
it and is it projectable? These things are very difficult to quantify.’
In the last 25-30 years most things have been computerized, so
LaForge is finding that people who are really good at those analytical skills
are now abundant.  But, how exactly does someone
distinguish themselves in that area? Simple. 
‘What the computer can’t do, you better be able to do,’ he said.
Ultimately, the world is going to change and it’s going to
affect every single part of every organization .It just takes time to figure
out what those changes are and ask yourself, ‘What will people’s response be?
And how can we make sure our response is aligned with theirs’?

Check out the full
interview below:

This year, The Future of
Consumer Intelligence 2014
explores the emerging role of decision science
and the convergence of knowledge points – insights, foresights, social science,
marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force
and profound connector.
Right now, it’s about connecting ideas to data to culture to
the future of your business and this, is the real data revolution. This year
represents the year of the multi-dimensional marketplace, and just as the
market researcher’s role evolves, so does our third annual event. FOCI is a gathering
of the “consumer culture” collective exploring common ground across
roles and industries for translating behavioral information into business
opportunity.  We hope to see you there!
Join us at FOCI 2014
in May. To register, click here: http://bit.ly/1aZJcfs

the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and
print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing,
and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs
including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business
. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a
Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the
technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow
her at @AmandaCicc.