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MRS/ICG Award for Independent Consultants 2020: Finalists Announced

Posted on Thursday 8 October 2020

We’re delighted to announce the finalists of the 2020 MRS/ICG Award for Independent Consultants. This annual award celebrates the excellence of researchers who choose to work as micro-businesses. This year’s award attracted a record number of entries.

Congratulations to the four finalists

  • Craft Beyond 2020: Reframing cricket to safeguard its future: Craft’s work with the English Cricket Board has helped drive one of the biggest revolutions in one of England’s most traditional cultural products. Cricket faces existential threat, having long failed to reach beyond its loyal-but-aging fanbase. Part of the ECB’s strategy to secure cricket’s future is the launch of a new competition and global entertainment brand – The Hundred. Its brand needed to be built from scratch. Furthermore, eight totally new team brands across seven cities were required, each with an identity around which a fanbase could coalesce. The ECB initially approached Craft to provide locally-grounded insight, informing and inspiring the team brands’ creative development. Over time the scope grew significantly and Craft’s work has had great and long-lasting commercial and cultural impact at the ECB. It also showcases the strengths of the ICG network in successfully, quickly and cost-effectively delivering work of great budget, scale, visibility and importance. 
  • Jump ResearchPutting the public at the heart of Scottish Government Covid-19 communications development: Jump Research provided ongoing insight to inform communications development for the Scottish Government during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Working closely with our local recruiters and a small team of researchers they established a system that enabled qualitative projects to be delivered in just five days. The research was of immediate practical value to the Scottish Government and their agencies in developing effective communications; but beyond this, it was also of real value to our recruiters – providing them with a much-needed income source,  our participants – who clearly appreciated being listened to during lockdown, and the researchers – keeping us busy and providing some financial certainty during an uncertain time.
  • Shed Research Consulting  – You don’t need new research to generate growth: how we used insight synthesis to help Primark address its biggest strategic challenge: Shed didn’t do any new research to help Primark understand the biggest strategic challenge it faced as a business. Sales in Germany were down 3.2% – unfamiliar territory for a brand used to exponential growth – and the business had many different hypotheses as to why this had happened. Shed helped Primark build a “single version of the truth” by visiting past research, drawing on external data, identifying gaps, and recommending what needed to happen. This led to Primark improving its in-store experience, investing in ATL advertising for the first time in its history, and ultimately led to a reverse of this sales decline.
  • Sketch Insight and Consulting  – Building an insight partnership with a Dutch retailer: Sketch Insight and Consulting partnered with a family-owned, Dutch retailer to progressively shift the internal mindset and develop a customer driven and evidence based culture. This was achieved through a mixture of qualitative and quantitative techniques, stretching the clients thinking where possible, to uncover insights that have contributed to the success of the business.

The judges were impressed by the independent researchers’ outstanding work demonstrated in the entries.

Judge Arthur Fletcher commented, “We’re delighted to see this award showcase the fantastic breadth, collaboration and innovation across the independent research sector.”

Fellow judge Dr Sarah Jenkins said, “It was great to read such a wide range of work being undertaken by independent and micro businesses for brands and organisations globally. The breadth of work being undertaken, the quality of insight being generated and the impact being had as a result, is something that should be celebrated and shared.”

Many of this year’s entries were collaborations between ICG members. Alongside making it easy for members to connect with each other, the ICG also helps them to grow their business through training and the sharing of knowledge and best practice.

What happens next?

The winner will be revealed in an online broadcast at 4pm on Monday 7 December.

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