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Training in Sri Lanka – A review by Phyllis Macfarlane

On 21-23 November Phyllis Macfarlane, Treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation and Global Training Programme Manager at GfK, Dilek Ozler, Sr. Consumer & Market Insight Manager, People Data Center & Unilever Executive Coordinator of the Paragon Partnership and Sajeevani Hewage, Consumer & Market Insight Manager, Unilever Sri Lanka, addressed the Sri Lankan Market Research, Marketing and Sales fraternity with a programme including qualitative and quantitative advanced research training, a special session on the future of market research and a knowledge forum for senior industry leaders.

Part of ESOMAR Foundation’s mission is to provide training in smaller, developing markets that do not have the resources to develop such training for themselves.

So far we have run 2 training workshops in Myanmar, and one in Kenya, and this year we had a request from the Sri Lankan Market Research Association to support them.

Sri Lanka is emerging very dynamically and successfully, it appears, from years of internal conflict within the country, which only ended some 10 years ago. And the recently set up MR Association is full of plans and energy to get their MR industry onto a thoroughly modern footing, and growing!

Change is in the air!

How exciting to be a country at a point where you have just successfully transferred (almost) all your F2F fieldwork to CAPI  – and internet and smartphone penetration are both at 35% and growing.  You have a real opportunity to learn from what has happened elsewhere in the world, and plan for a whole new online and digital future. Perhaps able to leapfrog technology (online data collection going straight to smartphone, for example?) and learning and utilising all the new tech and opportunities that are available.

And from a training point of view – how refreshing to be there at a point where change is in the air. To be able to emphasise the values of traditional MR skills (and help enhance them) and also to demonstrate how these skills translate into the new age digital of MR. In fact, the training couldn’t have been timed better.

What did we do?

Our Hosts were determined to get the most out of us. Beforehand we had discussed various scenarios, and we ended up with a really packed and interesting agenda. We spent one very full day on Quantitative research – focussing on quality and insight and adding value (50 attendees), and a very full half day on Qualitative research – again focussing on qualitative data collection, analysis and insight and how to communicate research to have more impact (38 attendees).

And then a full half day (100 attendees!) on the Future of Research where we covered: quantitative research, qualitative research, passive measurement, Social Media, Big Data, and Behavioural Economics – Phew!

From the feedback I think we did inspire some young researchers to look into these new areas and make them their own.

And then, on the final day, we did a breakfast presentation for clients (c 90 attendees) – who were a very impressive lot, interested mainly in return on research investment (what else?!), and who asked very difficult questions – mainly about the future of communications, social media, Big Data etc. As I mentioned earlier – it’s clear that Sri Lanka is determined to become a very modern business centre – and, based on the people I met there, I think they are very likely to succeed!

Inspiring!

It is always inspiring to meet researchers from other countries – particularly developing ones – and hear about their concerns and aspirations, and  perhaps be able to help and advise them on how to tackle the issues, and also on how to learn new things to achieve their ambitions. It’s also inspiring for me to consider their unique market and how they might develop it. But the workshop was also an opportunity to meet the committed and charismatic Sri Lankan research leaders, and my fellow trainers: Unilever colleagues – Dilek Ozler and Sajeevani Hewage.

Dilek and I have been working very well together on Paragon for nearly 2 years now and we had never actually met – it seems strange to have to travel half way round the world to actually meet – but that’s what happened! And Sajeevani, a young but very experienced Sri Lankan researcher, had great stories about the local industry – which is such an important context in any training programme.

We were very happy to work together to deliver this series of Workshops, which we hope had an effect on everyone who attended.

Training NGOs

Our next task as ESOMAR Foundation is to develop this training programme for NGO researchers. Their language and requirements are very different from our usual commercial clients – so we can’t deliver the same content – it needs to be tailored to their needs.  Do let us know if you have any experience or ideas as to how we should do this, we would love to hear from you.

Our thanks go to The Sri Lankan Market Research Association, Himalee Madurasinghe, ESOMAR Representative and CEO Kantar Sri Lanka; Roshani Fernando, COO at Quantum Consumer Solutions for making this new ESOMAR Foundation training session a success!

Nicolin hopes to find employment!

The end of the year is fast-approaching and I am not looking forward to searching for new hobbies to keep me occupied. I doubt I will be visiting my family this Christmas due to the fact that I have not found employment as yet. However, I have to remain positive for the sake of sanity.

The exam season ended on the 24th of November, just the day before the 25th being my birthday! A great way to end the exams. I also presented to Colgate-Palmolive on the 27th of November with Patience, Ridwanaah and Farzaana (the girls who attended the SAMRA conference with me).

The presentation was based on an assignment we wrote on ways to improve the sales of the Colgate toothpaste in informal stores around South Africa. Hopefully the company will consider recruiting us after listening to our creative ideas. We can only pray!

The scholarship awarded to Nicolin was sponsored by SSI and in collaboration with SAMRA.

Developing the Impact of Research in Sri Lanka

This year the ESOMAR Foundation training programme will conclude with a series of events taking place in Colombo in cooperation with the Market Research Society of Sri Lanka, MRSSL.

On 21-23 November Phyllis Macfarlane, Treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation and Global Training Programme Manager at GfK, Dilek Ozler, Sr. Consumer & Market Insight Manager, People Data Center & Unilever Executive Coordinator of the Paragon Partnership and Sajeevani Hewage, Consumer & Market Insight Manager, Unilever Sri Lanka, will address the Sri Lankan Market Research, Marketing and Sales fraternity with a programme including qualitative and quantitative advanced research training, a special session on the future of market research and a knowledge forum for senior industry leaders.

Phyllis Macfarlane
Dilek Ozler
Sajeevani Ewage

We offer training for the purpose of improving the quality of market research in emerging and developing economies. We hope that through this effort we will be able to stimulate both young and experienced researchers to stand back and think about their work and the future of MR.  We wish to provide the opportunity to researchers to develop and adapt approaches which are suitable for them and their culture.

Watch this space for a review of this exciting training programme!

Marketing research; Baptism by fire

This is the first blog from Innocent Rwamba Nyaga who is following the MS in market research at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Innocent is the recipient of the ESOMAR Foundation / MSRA Scholarship sponsored by WIRe and Unilever

The phrase ‘baptism by fire’ was first coined by John the Baptist in the Bible in The New Testament and was mainly mentioned in regard to peoples’ ability to be cleansed and consecrated spiritually. Its application now originates from Europe describing an employee that is learning something the hard way, like being immersed in their field of employment. Baptism by fire also has its roots in battle terminology, describing a soldier’s first time in battle.

This is true for my interaction with the subject of Market Research as an actual field of work or study and this was initiated (literally) by a guest lecture in the university by Phyllis Macfarlane. I hadn’t attended a class by then so she was my opening to the subject and what it entails in the real world. I left that two day seminar a believer. Like most people in Kenya, Market Research is not known very well as it has not been an avenue to get employment. You see, when we go to university, we choose fields that will enable students get a job at the end of it all because that is the societal pressure we face. The idea of using one’s talent as a way of making a living is a concept that has just penetrated the country and more so Africa as a whole. This is because we have been brought up to uphold tradition and to always obey our elders (in this case parents/guardians) as they know what’s best of us.

It’s a very interesting subject for me as I am very passionate about people in general, what makes them tick and being able to put myself on their lever to better understand them. This degree will further this ability and together with training, I’ll be well integrated in the industry. Honestly, I find myself looking forward to being done with this part of schooling and getting my hands dirty, so to speak.

I have had a couple of months’ worth of classes now and truthfully my best class so far is on Marketing Ethics and Governance taught by one Dr. Joseph Owino, every Monday evening, worth every penny this lecture. What’s interesting is his ability to let his students think critically by providing real life situations/scenarios by way of case studies and asking pertinent questions that make us think because the aspect of ethics is not always a given for all. One may choose to be ethical or not in every aspect of life. The other subjects are interesting too thing is I need to invest more time in doing more out of class research so as to reach a suitable level of understanding.

Dr. Joseph Owino

This Scholarship really is special because women in general and especially in Africa face a lot of challenges specifically when it comes to advancing themselves so as to reach that level of self-actualisation that Maslow’s theory/hierarchy of needs talks about. Besides these challenges women are strong willed, future oriented and can survive any environment. To ESOMAR Foundation, WIRe, MSRA and Unilever, I’m forever indebted to you. I will endeavour to be a good example to those who come behind me and I shall take full advantage of this opportunity.

How you can support

If you are a market researcher, a national market research association, an NGO involved in research or a university interested in a scholarship in your country please contact us at info@esomarfoundation.org

Partners & Sponsors

We are always on the lookout for partners and sponsors. If you are an organisation looking to understand more on how you can support us, please find more information here or contact:  info@esomarfoundation.org

   

Believe in yourself, be confident and don’t be afraid to take chances

This is the third blog from Nutsa Kvitashvili who is following the BA Program of Sociology at Caucasus School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Nutsa is the recipient of the ESOMAR Foundation Scholarship sponsored by Inizio.

 

 

It’s been a while since my last blog so I’m going to tell you a little bit about my summer vacation and my studies. I’ve enjoyed my summer vacation a lot. I was in Batumi it’s the second largest city of Georgia and it is located on the coast of the Black Sea in the counrty’s southwest. Batumi is a place which I really enjoy visiting with my friends because of its beautiful walking areas, long boulevards and old 19th century buildings which gives you the feeling that you are in Europe. It was a blast.

Summer has ended and I’m about to start my 4th and last year at Caucasus University. Thinking about my last year of studies makes me sad and excited at the same time. Sad because studying at university is one of the most interesting, thrilling and inspiring experience in life. After spending four years studying, adapting to life after university can be pretty difficult. But at the same time I’m beyond excited because after graduating from university you will start a new journey, a new chapter in life. This is the time in your life when you can reach new heights, the time when everyone has a lot of opportunities but a lot of people miss that chance because they’re afraid to go after them. The important thing is to believe in yourself, be confident and don’t be afraid to take chances.

This year my studies are starting a little bit late because Caucasus University is moving into a new building and all the students are excited about this change because the architecture of the building is very beautiful and has a historical atmosphere.

 

In this semester I’m going to study a bunch of interesting subjects such as sociology of arts, sociology of religion, visual sociology, sociology of education, etc. I’m very excited about the new semester, new building and new subjects which I’m sure are going to be intriguing and fascinating.

How you can support

If you are a market researcher, a national market research association, an NGO involved in research or a university interested in a scholarship in your country please contact us at info@esomarfoundation.org

Partners & Sponsors

We are always on the lookout for partners and sponsors. If you are an organisation looking to understand more on how you can support us, please find more information here or contact:  info@esomarfoundation.org

    

From baby prawn to adult prawn

This is the fifth blog-post from Esther Tot who received the ESOMAR Foundation Scholarship to study at the English based Bachelor Degree program in International Business at the National University of Management (NUM) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

It’s kind of weird but wait until I’ll explain why there’s a baby prawn and an adult prawn! Yes, this is how I see myself! In Year1 I was a baby prawn, which just entered the university. Our lecturers like to call us Year1 students “Baby Prawn” because we are the youngest ones in school and we, baby prawns, are trying to adapt and learn from the adult prawns (Year 2, 3, 4 students). We have to learn and observe from them because when we enter the university it’s as if we are born into a new world or new place.

BUT_ BIG BUT (got this way of saying from my marketing lecturer which everyone love to use), so BIG BUT is that in November I will enter Year2 and I am so excited because I have passed all the exams of Year1. To be honest if people ask me whether it was easy, I would say not too easy and not too hard but it required so much self-discipline as I had talked about in my previous blog about Self-Discipline. What I mean by self-discipline is that we need to commit to having less sleep and more study time because there are loads of assignments that need to be completed and submitted. We have to be committed to school and assignments.

So now I am becoming an adult prawn as I am entering Year2! I don’t know what’s coming next but I guess it might be more fun than Year1 because there will be more and more assignments. But I am ready for it!!!

I can’t wait to finish my university and get a degree so I can have a good job with a high salary, which makes my life worth. It’s not easy but I believe one day I can become a Prawn Boss. There’s still a long way to go…. 2 more years till I reach Year4!

So my message to all the baby prawns is that it’s ok to have a lot of assignments and presentations because it will pay off when you will become an adult prawn. You will gain a lot of experience from your baby prawn year so work hard and if you fail don’t lose hope and please keep trying harder and harder each time you fail even though sometimes it seems that you have reached your limit. But don’t limit your education just keep letting it grow.

I would like to say thank you again to the ESOMAR Foundation for providing me with the special opportunity of having a better education and as well as achieving my dream as a poor kid to become a knowledgeable person.

Partners & Sponsors

We are always on the lookout for partners and sponsors. If you are an organisation looking to understand more on how you can support us, please find more information here or contact:  info@esomarfoundation.org

 

Learning New Things….

This is the third blog-post from Paola Loy Villagran, the recipient of the ESOMAR Foundation scholarship in Guatemala. Paola tells us about her studies and her social life. 

 

 

During the last months I started a Human Resources course in which we had to investigate the work climate of some companies in the country and we found that most of them have communication problems and that employees need to have access to all relevant information required to perform their duties, in any job employees must be motivated and they need training programs to constantly upgrade their existing skills. We learned about the term “human capital management” (or HCM) which represents the entire range of practices and processes for managing people in an organization and the drivers they should implement to develop employee engagement.

The key objective of every organization should be to train its employees so that they become efficient resources later on.

Also we received a Marketing Management course in which we learned how to increase sales, strategies to stand out in today’s world, how we can have a quality offering that meets customer needs, understand the market in which we compete, how to build a strong brand. I really enjoyed this class because we had the opportunity to analyze real cases of failure and success, like Blockbuster, Open English, Kodak, Netflix and last but not least McDonald´s. We even saw the movie “The Founder”, the story of Ray Kroc a salesman who turned the idea of two brothers into the biggest restaurant business in the world.

The first McDonald´s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois (kept as a museum)

In my personal life everything is good, I’m trying to be focused in my studies, I have new friends from many parts of the country; most of them come to classes from far away places because unfortunately there aren’t good opportunities of study in rural areas.

The Campus. Universidad Rafael Landívar

In my free time I like to spend time with my nephews, I want them to be proud of me and believe in their dreams as I do, and keep fighting for what they want to achieve in life. Hopefully one day they will know about this opportunity and take it as an inspiration to become better students and professionals.

One of my favorite photos, me and my nephew Matias

How you can support Paola

If you wish to support Paola and be the donor of this scholarship, we would be happy to connect and provide you more information. Please contact: info@esomarfoundation.org

How you can support in your country

If you are a market researcher, a national market research association, an NGO involved in research or a university interested in a scholarship in your country please contact us at info@esomarfoundation.org

Partners & Sponsors

We are always on the lookout for partners and sponsors. If you are an organisation looking to understand more on how you can support us, please find more information here or contact:  info@esomarfoundation.org 

 

 

Women’s month is every month!

This is the 14th blogpost from Nicolin Mamuya, the first ESOMAR Foundation scholarship in South Africa. The month of August is women’s month in South Africa!

 

 

This is the month where we celebrate all women as well as show gratitude to the four brave heroines (Lilian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa, Sophie Williams and Helen Joseph) who marched to the Union Building to fight for the equality between genders.

Of course in my life, women’s month is every month! I strive to surround myself with friends who do not seek to compete with other females, but rather understand the significance of encouraging and empowering each other. I believe my obsession with women is due to being raised by a single mother.

My mother always emphasised about female power, which stuck in my head particularly because, I did not have a male figure in my life.
I believe females are slowly stretching out of the box that society has built around us. However, compared to the rest of the world, female leadership may still be considered taboo in Africa, with many males open to expressing their opposition. Therefore, I give credit to African female leaders such as the late Miriam Makeba, a late singer and female activist, Ellen Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president and Wangari Maathai, an environmental activist. Let them, along with other heroines, inspire bravery in many of us females.

Miriam Makeba
Eilen Sirleaf
Wangari Maathai

The scholarship awarded to Nicolin was sponsored by SSI and in collaboration with SAMRA.

 

Freshman Year, as a graduation party organizer!!!

This is the fourth blog-post from Esther Tot who received the ESOMAR Foundation Scholarship to study at the English based Bachelor Degree program in International Business at the National University of Management (NUM) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 

 

Wohooo!!!!!! It’s the end of marketing class! Loads of assignments and self-discipline are over. At the same time there is also a year4 graduation party so our last and final assignment of the marketing class was to organize a party which is for all IBBA-er and especially for year4 students who are likely to graduate at the end of this year.

As an IBBA year1 or freshman year or as my marketing lecturer likes to call us the “baby prawn”, because we are the youngest among all the other classes at university, on August 12th, 2017 all year1 held the task of organising one big event as we called it “IBBA Gala”. We divided into teams: the morning team planned and organized the activities of the event and we, the afternoon class, were tasked with contacting and finding sponsors for our event and we finally did a very good job! Our lecturer was proud of us as year1 students.

The activities and program had some fun features: female students in year1 had to dress like a man and male students had to dress as a girls and there were also some fashion shows as guy dressed as girl and girls dress as guy, as well as singing, and teachers and student awards.

I am at the back!!! With the L hand style!

As for me being in year1 and holding this kind of big event is something I will be proud of myself for the next few years because it is a real learning experience and I felt I was in a real world as a business woman and marketer.

I have successfully contacted the sponsor from Hot&Cold Café and my class successfully contacted BreadTalk, Major Cineplex, BOPEA, CAM Paint, and Domino’s Pizza (you can see the company’s logo on our backdrop).

This was the hardest year because it was my first year at university and next year I believe it will be better than this because I will learn to adapt to the university life from this year experience.

Some of my friends from morning and afternoon class and our Marketing Lecturer Ms. Sopornetra

Partners & Sponsors

We are always on the lookout for partners and sponsors. If you are an organisation looking to understand more on how you can support us, please find more information here or contact:  info@esomarfoundation.org

The final stretch is almost there for Nicolin’s studies!

The school break is reaching its end and I must admit that I am a bit afraid of returning to school. However, this is the final stretch and I am ready for the victory!

I have recently found myself getting closer to God and enjoying the company of people who share the same love I have for him. I grew up in a Catholic church, which means all I know is Catholic. However, recently I have started attending my friend’s church. I really enjoy their messages as well as the songs they sing. I have had many say I seem confused because, I immerse myself into different religious cultures. It is almost as though there is no sense of direction or stability in how I choose to praise God. I say it does not have to make sense. It is about my relationship with him and nothing else.

The scholarship awarded to Nicolin was sponsored by SSI and in collaboration with SAMRA.