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Review: ESOMAR APAC “Get Connected”

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This year’s ESOMAR Asia Pacific conference in Tokyo, Japan, again brought together the marketing, advertising and research community across the Asia Pacific region. Full of inspiration with its 20+ presentations, exhibition and networking breaks, the 17th edition provided a platform for attendees to “Get Connected” by offering a unique opportunity to network regionally and globally.

“At a time when Japan is experiencing historically high growth in inbound travel from other Asian countries, having the ESOMAR APAC event in Tokyo for the second time in 11 years was meaningful”, says Shinichi Hosokawa, CEO of GMO Research, ESOMAR’s Japan representative and council member of the Japan Marketing Research Association (JMRA). He further adds, “There were nearly 400 attendees present at the event sharing their professional knowledge, from which we have been able to catch a glimpse of the bright future of the APAC market research industry”.

The seven key themes and two interactive sessions over two days were titled: Connecting Ideas to Amplify the Value of Research; Valuable Connections with Data; Connecting Storytelling with Data (Interactive Capsule 1); Get Connected for a Better World; Connecting with the Future; Connecting with the Young and Young at Heart; Connecting Insight with Impact (Interactive Capsule 2); Making the Connection – From Path to Purchase; and Connected! | The Art and Science of Engagement.

The concluding session of conference day one fell under the theme “Get Connected for a Better World” and raised much interest. It was filled with case studies on how the market research industry can help to make the world a better place. Among them were ESOMAR Asia Pacific Excellence Award winners Elca Grobler, Founder of the My Choices Foundation (India) and Ram Prasad, Co-Founder and Director of Final Mile Consulting (US) for their Best Paper “Red Alert”. Their paper demonstrated a new understanding of the demand and supply side of girl child trafficking through a behavioural science approach. The session provided new insights into decision-making and how this scientific approach is helping to reshape the strategies and campaigns combatting this tragic issue.

The programme committee were all “impressed by this very well written powerful paper which highlights our profession’s unique ability to get to the heart of a terrible social problem. The mix of research methods used is impressive, and includes advanced qualitative techniques which leverage both gaming techniques and behavioural architecture to uncover ‘real and deep’ attitudes & perceptions. Operation Red Alert is already successfully translating this greater understanding into projects that will positively impact the lives of the 16 million unfortunates involved and hopefully start the process to bring this terrible trade to an end.”

The winner of the Best Presentation Award, as voted by the event delegates was “Myth vs. Facts – Connecting with the Senior Gens” by Dangjaithawin (Orm) Anantachai from INTAGE (Thailand). This presentation provided a better understanding of the myth vs. facts about seniors and highlighted strategies that resonate with this growing and high-spending power target.

Looking at the next generation of researchers, Shinichi Hosokawa highlighted the effort that was taken at this year’s conference to ensure young Japanese researchers were exposed to the global research industry. “With JMRA’s mission to encourage the Japanese market research industry to flourish on an international field and ESOMAR’s mission to gain recognition among the next generation in the Japanese market research industry”, he concluded, “I think it worked very well.”

As a whole, this conference in Tokyo was a powerful event that left participants connected, inspired and eager to get together again next year (2017) in Shanghai, China.