We start with our annual Perils of Perception study, which now covers 40 countries. It highlights just how wrong the public are about what’s happening around them. Nearly all countries think wealth is more evenly distributed than it actually is. Most think the population in their country is much more Muslim than is the case. And, perhaps reflecting the gloomy stories we consume via our chosen media channels, we underestimate how happy other people say they are in their lives.
If you do want to see more of what people are worrying about, look no further than our World Worries study, which finds Mexico to be the least optimistic of the 25 countries covered. Our survey reveals a clear gender optimism gap, with men across the world consistently more optimistic about the way things are going in their country than are women.
As the year draws to a close, we take a look at how Europe has been feeling in 2016. Brexit was a surprise to many people, although French and Italians get a prize for correctly predicting the outcome. Our tour of the continent takes in how Europeans feel on a range of issues, from their attitudes to the workplace to their love of beach holidays.
Our UK team covers takes a detailed look at the Brexit vote and its aftermath in their annual Almanac. They look at the huge unknowns the country faces going into 2017, and cover a range of topics along the way, including Theresa May’s “honeymoon”, the future of the United Kingdom and the ongoing questions as to whether Britain is making the right investments in its infrastructure. We also take stock of how Canada is feeling in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory: we find admiration (in some quarters) for how he galvanised his support, but also trepidation about the implications – for example on climate change.
We look at customer expectations and explore the dynamics of just what people are looking for – and how your staff can make a difference. Not just in terms of doing the right thing when things are going well, but also in responding well when the customer is experiencing problems.
Good customer experience can of course have a positive impact in terms of word of mouth – getting others to say nice things about you, whether in person or on social media. Our case study from Russia sets out some new analysis from one of the world’s bigger consumer markets. It includes a look at how category “opinion leaders” can play a particularly powerful role in building momentum.
One brand which has not struggled when it comes to getting talked about is Marmite: you either love it or you hate it, as the slogan goes. Gillian Drewett investigates the relationships between people and brands, with a look at #Marmitegate. What happens when what we are used to (availability, price…) gets disrupted, and we have to re-evaluate how important the product is for us?
Disruption is perhaps one of the words of the year, and it’s a feature of Andrew Green’s It’s About Time piece, which sees him evaluate our media measurement toolkit. The concept of Reach has been one of the key metrics used by researchers for many years; Andrew looks at how the concept of “Time” can be applied to different mediums to help advertisers in their quest to invest their marketing budgets wisely. Meanwhile, Colin Strong looks at the market researcher’s toolkit from a different angle, as he looks at on how behavioural science techniques can be applied to build our understanding of how consumers think and act.
Many consumers of course have been thinking about the holiday season. And with it comes shopping. Black Friday was very much in evidence this year, but we are now starting to see a strong movement towards it being just as much an online phenomenon as one you see in the stores. A topic we will no doubt return to in 2017!