Market Research Agency of the Year Singapore 2016

Owned by: Independent
Headed by: Joan Koh, managing director

Nielsen has maintained its top spot as the leading market research agency in Singapore again this year. A global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers “watch and buy”, it had a strong performance in 2015 and has posted a strong start to 2016, underpinned by its consistent, resilient business model.

It focuses on driving the adoption of total audience measurement across all devices and platforms, and total consumer measurement across all channels, including e-commerce. It continues to better serve clients through measurement and analytics, leveraging on data assets, data science and technology.

It explored changing trends and patterns with C-level business leaders across sectors and industries at the FT-Nielsen ASEAN Cities Summit 2015 leadership forum; launched the Bricks and Clicks Shopper Trends report on the rising trend of Singapore omni-channel shoppers to retailers; along with more than 20 thought-leadership reports on consumer and market trends.

Another of its significant work was a widespread consumer study for a telco to understand customers’ usage, engagement patterns, needs and lifestyles which helped to develop its marketing campaigns.

People-wise, Nielsen continues its strong emphasis on the employee experience, and a diverse and inclusive culture. It aims to continue to reinvent and stay agile to help clients tackle business issues and connect with their consumers via Nielsen’s differentiated path-to-performance and expertise in innovation, marketing effectiveness and sales effectiveness.

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Silver: IPSOS
Owned by: Ipsos SA
Headed by: Joseph Chua, managing director, Singapore

In 2015, Ipsos adopted a slogan to symbolise its new philosophy of “Game Changers”. The tag line represented what it wished to accomplish as an organisation; proactively changing the nature of market research by delivering on four core principles – security, simplicity, speed and substance.

2015 also saw the launch of a revolutionary research platform – insight cloud – an “always-on” digital platform that offers clients the ability to collect and connect insights that are curated with every piece of research. Insights are continually built on and brought alive in multi-media richness on a dynamic platform that encourages collaboration across the client organisation, as insights become the cornerstone of their business decision-making process. Insight cloud was launched for multiple clients in 2015 in Singapore.

Ipsos in Singapore opened as AMI 21 years ago and was rebranded as Synovate in 2003, and in 2011, Ipsos merged with Synovate to create the third-largest market research firm in the world and the Singapore office has been operating under the Ipsos brand name ever since.

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Bronze: Millward Brown
Owned by: WPP
Headed by: Priti Mehra, managing director, Singapore

Established for 40 years and in Singapore since 1997, Millward Brown continues to push the boundaries of traditional research with its approach to client engagement and product innovation to reflect the changing needs of clients, while investing in talent.

In 2015, it strengthened its creative development footprint, expanded its expertise to an early stage creative development process, and offered a range of LINK solutions that were cost and time efficient. LinkNow for TV and digital was introduced as a faster and cost-efficient solution to provide businesses the flexibility to use pre-testing when needed as a quick evaluation.

In 2015, it rolled out an all-encompassing engagement plan to retain and motivate its people. The plan focused on career growth, employee empowerment and employee engagement. In terms of work, its research, AdReaction: Video Creative in a Digital World, launched in October 2015 to help marketers understand how to create a video that is effective in a multi-screen world. Consumer Theatre was rolled out to help clients develop brilliant brand communications through powerful human insights.

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Local Hero: Consulting Group - Asia Insight
Owned by: Independent
Headed by: Adrian Tan, managing director

Founded in 1996, Asia Insight celebrated its second decade with a strong performance in 2015. The year saw the team deliver on its commitment of “turning insights into foresights” for its clients by strengthening its consulting expertise with senior-level strategic hires, up skilling team capabilities with an improved talent training programme and improving consultative and executional capabilities with new research product solutions.

Since 1996, its marketing and strategic insights have helped global brands such as Daimler, Estée Lauder, Hewlett-Packard and Philips embrace their potential within Asia and throughout the world.

Making a social stand during the Singapore Haze in October 2015, and concerned with the impact on Singaporeans, Asia Insight conducted a published study titled “Haze-omics”. The survey measured how the haze had impacted Singaporeans’ health and lifestyles and also how consumers were prepared to change their shopping behaviour, among other things.

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Finalist: Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants
Owned by: Independent
Headed by: Sum Ooi Leng, director

Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants is the largest independent Asian research network in 10 Asian countries. Its focus has been on the building of strategic long-term partnerships with clients, not just in Singapore, but across Asia. More than half of its business revenue continues to come from its vintage clients with more than 15 years of relationships.

Finalist: Agility Research and Strategy
Owned by: Independent
Headed by: Ali Mirza, executive director and Amrita Banta, managing director

Agility Research and Strategy provides clients with access to the affluent suite, a unique system of tools and processes developed through years of research. One of the significant works done by the agency was for Star Cruises. Together with Star Cruises it launched the first ever comprehensive study on cruise travel in Asia – an incredibly fast-growing travel trend in the region.

Finalist: Blackbox Research
Owned by: Independent
Headed by: David Black, managing director

Continuing its path to steady growth, major revenues for Blackbox came from existing and new clients and it expanded its offerings across a wide spectrum of categories, including public policy, financial services and retail/property. Being strong advocates of collaboration, Blackbox successfully continues to partner with several brand agencies, management consultants and advertising creative teams to provide actionable insights to clients.

Finalist: Kadence International
Owned by: Independent
Headed by: Philip Steggals, managing director, Singapore

Rather than being a “traditional” market research agency, Kadence acts as a research consultancy, putting itself at the heart of clients’ businesses. In early 2015, it introduced its campaign “Insight Worth Sharing” – a new company tag line and brand position. It is an expression of the two pillars of Kadence’s communication philosophy – its high quality business insight allied with its innovative market-leading output.

Finalist: Market Probe
Owned by : Independent
Headed by : Saji Kumar, managing director

Market Probe has been in the business of designing and implementing customer experience management (CEM) programmes in various sectors such as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and utilities and telecommunications for nearly 40 years. The core of its thought leadership is its approach to customer loyalty and advocacy.

Finalist: SKIM Singapore
Owned by: Independent
Headed by: Robin De Rooij, director, Asia Pacific

In 2015, SKIM Singapore managed to build a strong relationship with two high profile FMCG multinationals: Unilever and Coca-Cola. It also worked together with the consulting firm Simon-Kucher & Partners and by the end of the year, had gained another high-profile FMCG client in Asia: L’Oréal.