We all know that every launch, market entry and growth plan starts and ends with research. To use a military metaphor, research insights map the terrain on which the battle is fought, and measure the contribution of each battle to the wider war after its conclusion. Research is not a substitute for leadership and insight; it is a test of intuitions. It builds consensus within the team by appealing to the one thing standing above each person and department’s biases and vested interests – the facts. This is what research can accomplish.
Good research, on the other hand, does much more. It calls out those “unknown unknowns” that will become evident after you gain a better understanding of the market. It generates ideas from customer and industry insights refracted through the prism of expertise and experience. Good research is far better than a litany of verbatim comments from customers, or a mass of statistics devoid of context, that is of no relevance. Good research is your best investment.
Three big barriers exist to impede good research in the 21st century:
Research that makes you say, “So what?”
The term “insights” could now be the most tired expression in the research industry. Many research vendors will present you with numerous data points, expecting you to draw your own insights. Some may provide you with data that has been analyzed for patterns – creating knowledge. Very few will draw conclusions for you – generating real insight. Augustus Hall Limited will go further – offering advice on the foundation of genuine insights. We know of no other vendor that will – which is why Augustus Hall Limited’s executives are acknowledged as consultants.
Research that is not holistic enough
Most of what passes for research is purely consumer research, which is understandable. Customers, though the most important element in the business eco-system, are not the only element. Here in Augustus Hall Limited, we possess capabilities in research across the business eco-system, from competitors and channels to government, opinion leaders and suppliers. Augustus Hall Limited integrates insights from the customer, industry and macro-environment – presenting to you the voice of the customer in the context of what is possible, what has been tried and what we feel should be done.
Research that misapplies approaches from the Western World
Executing good research in emerging economies is different from doing so in the West. Emerging markets lack good published data as well as a widespread culture of co-operating with research. Its markets and value chains can be irregular and opaque, due to fragmented and unorganized retail, complex regulations and high penetration of grey and counterfeit products. This argues against the crude importing of fieldwork approaches, analytic paradigms, and even terminology from the developed West, when the project is done in an emerging economy. Only Augustus Hall Limited focuses on solving research execution and analysis problems in an emerging market like Nigeria.
Our success in building the only strategic research-based consultancy focused on emerging markets explains the many long-term relationships that Augustus Hall Limited is privileged to have with companies.