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08 Oct 2013

Sustainable research, sustainable experiences

Fresh from presenting our paper at ESOMAR'S Istanbul Think Big conference, we reveal how we stitched a big, brave idea about sustainability into the very fabric of our research in Sao Paulo with PepsiCo

We realised we needed to pioneer a new way of researching consumers in Brazil. We wanted to use an approach that would lead to deep insights helping our clients grow their businesses. And we knew, because this group of consumers are juxtaposed with huge pockets of extreme poverty that we needed to do it in a way that would give something back to the local community.  This gave birth to a big, brave idea that creates sustainable research communities as well as making a positive social impact.

Since 2011, MESH has been working closely with PepsiCo to establish a way to understand the emerging middle classes – an important consumer group in Latin America. Growing business in these markets needs to be done with care and has led us to pioneer a new kind of research.   We reward communities for sharing their insights with practical benefits that enhance the quality of their lives from funding vocational training to renovating community areas.  But it's not pure philanthropy. We needed this project to succeed on two different levels. First, that it would offer educational and sustainable impacts on the communities we worked with and, second, to lead to a deeper understanding of people's lives to arm our clients with insight that would benefit their business.

So what’s the impact so far?

This approach is bringing our client closer to new customers. PepsiCo's general manager in Brazil believes this pilot can be used as a change agent and is hoping to roll out the initiative across Latin America and other markets globally.  Inspired by the mutual benefits to the community as a whole, our participants have been engaged in the Real-time Experience Tracking (RET)™ for four times longer than expected, boosting the quantity and quality of the data.  More importantly, Sustainable Research is already improving the lives of the communities we work with. This has led us to build a recycling station, provide manicure training and contribute towards renovating a sports court used to teach over 500 children.

We're learning all the time during this exciting project, and we'll continue to share our stories with you here. In our next blog, read about the challenges we have faced so far and how we breathed life into our big, brave idea.

Click here to view the Sustainable Research Paper presented at ESOMAR Congress, September 2013.

Click here to view a video of some of the work being done in Sao Paolo with Sustainable Research Communities.