I have seen firsthand the power of good (and bad) research. It’s often the difference between a successful campaign and a complete flop.
The Australian media industry sees research as a pivotal and essential asset in customer insights – providing a deep understanding into their needs and wants, preferences and pain points, motivations and behaviours.
In our fast-paced and competitive world, there are so many brands vying for consumer attention, which makes our job as advertisers that much harder. But, thanks to research, standing out and making an impact is possible and easier than you think.
Throughout my career I have often been referred to as "The Queen of Research” because of my passion for the insights it generates.
Self-proclaimed or otherwise, being ‘The Queen of Research’ and someone who has spent many years within the advertising industry, I have seen firsthand the power of good (and bad) research. It’s often the difference between a successful campaign and a complete flop.
#1 The second largest cost
The same way we invest in staff and colleagues for success, we also invest in materials to establish facts and reach new conclusions. This sets us up for results and performance.
In high performing Australian media agencies, many subscribe to media research that is:
Syndicated media research available to the market – or –
Proprietary to an individual agency and/or their clients
While often qualitative in development, most research used is quantitative in its nature.
#2 The Client Relationship Trifecta
Research, Rapport, and Results. When it comes to client rapport, agencies frequently report back with a wealth of research, information and insights on their product, service or brand – demonstrating indisputable value to clients. Why? It allows for holistic future campaigns, concentrated strategic direction and campaign execution options that can potentially be outside of a client’s remit.
#3 Research fuels strategy
Advertising needs a rich understanding of consumers and their behaviour to develop a solid strategic idea to answer a client brief. This becomes even more paramount when analysing and auditing media habits and consumption. It informs creative ideation – which is how we get the eyes, ears and engagement on our campaigns. Research informs good strategy.
#4 Strong agencies have strong research
This section goes out to clients or brands looking to work with an agency. Be sure to ask about their research capabilities because the quality of their research will equip them with how they best serve you. Here’s how. It will -
Enhance the quality of their response to your briefs.
Produce key insights on your consumers and their behaviours – especially regarding their media habits.
Identify the most appropriate media channels to consider.
Identify the most effective media supplier.
Identify the most effective way of using the media (from channel type to timing considerations).
Track and report on campaign performance.
#5 Research is the key to futureproofing
Lastly, research helps to identify industry trends, allowing us to pivot advertising strategies to best suit the needs of our clients and brands.
It’s difficult for me to not be biased and exude enthusiasm for what research offers. If there is one thing to take away from this, it’s that research helps us measure the success of our campaigns and make informed decisions for future ones.
Want to learn more about Research?
All this (and more) is discussed in Episode 25 of our Pending Approval podcast. Our co-hosts, Glenda Wynyard and Jack Geraghty, discuss consumer behaviour, the power of ‘purpose’, and the roles brands play in economically turbulent times with industry figurehead and special guest, Michele Levine (CEO of Roy Morgan Research).
So, consider this your coronation into the Royal Family of Research. Long may research reign!
This article is part of a series following the topics covered on our podcast, Pending Approval.
Glenda Wynyard is the Managing Director of The Media Precinct and host of the Pending Approval podcast. She draws on her wealth of experience in advertising to bring you key ideas from the topics covered in the show.
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Transcript - Pending Approval Episode 25: In brands we trust with Michelle Levine
Glenda [00:00:00] Before we get started, we'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we produce this podcast, Gadigal Land of the Eora Nation and pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.
[00:00:13] May I have your attention please, this is Pending Approval, advertising from the inside out.
Glenda [00:00:23] Hello and welcome to the Pending Approval podcast, advertising from the inside out. I'm your host, Glenda Wynyard. For those of you that don't know, I've spent about a million years in advertising, so I kind of guess that makes me a bit of an expert every now and again. Hello, Jack, what's been happening?
Jack [00:00:42] Glenda, that's a great question, a lot has been happening. It's been a busy old week in the world of advertising, but we're getting them very excited for today's podcast and today's guest.
Glenda [00:00:52] I know, I'm fangirling, it's quite like having the Queen come to visit you.
Jack [00:00:57] In a lot of ways, I think it is, I think we often say in the office, we refer to you as the queen of research, Glenda but I think we, we might have the real queen, at least in your eyes here joining us today.
Glenda [00:01:08] Oh, no, she's totally I'm just a, I'm a novice, a complete novice. This one is absolutely the queen of research. I'm so impressed that she's come on board.
Jack [00:01:19] Yes, well, we're very lucky to have Michele Levine with us, the CEO of Roy Morgan here. Welcome, Michele, thank you so much for joining us today.
Michele [00:01:27] Thank you, I hope I can live up to that.
Glenda [00:01:30] You definitely will. You definitely will. We were saying before, Michele, that we've just seen your latest podcast, your own podcast of on trust and distrust, which I always love watching.
Michele [00:01:45] Thank you.
Glenda [00:01:45] I find it fascinating, we're going to talk a bit more about that, aren't we?
Jack [00:01:49] Yes, we're going to talk about a number of different things today. I think before we get into it, I just sort of set the scene for a couple of things we wanted to cover, I think that idea of trust and distrust is a big one as well. But we also wanted to touch on a few of those topics that I think are really topical, the topics at the moment, which is sort of the impact of governmental and financial pressures and how that impacts on brands and the public's relationship with them. As I mentioned, we will touch on trust and confidence in brands. We'll talk a little bit about this idea of being socially conscious for a brand, especially in the 2023 context, which I think has been a bit of a continuing theme through the podcasts we've done in this series so far. And then also I think we'll just talk a little bit more broadly about how this all applies to the businesses of 2023 and this industry of advertising that we work in.
Glenda [00:02:39] But Michele, before we get on to all the serious stuff. I always like to set the scene for our listeners because, you know, you've got a wealth of knowledge and you've built a wonderful career and you lead such a magnificent ship. Let's give the listeners a little bit of a background about you. What's your bio? How did you get to where you are today?
Michele [00:03:00] The short answer is kind of straight from kinder to Roy Morgan Research and I stayed that's the really short version, but a slightly longer one really is that I was a maths and stats girl, so absolutely straight in that area, then picked up psychology and then picked up environmental studies, which actually showed me how to look at things from all sorts of different angles the environment, the economy, and particularly people so that was the school thing. And then I was really lucky to work on major social research projects like Quality of Life. What are the things that make people feel they have satisfaction with their life. Another one that was really interesting in my formative research years was all about the relationship between man and machine. I didn't realise just how relevant that was going to be at the time. Then worked at the Institute of Family Studies. So essentially you can see a really social research background. Then I joined Roy Morgan to do the World Values study, and from that we devised your favourite and mine, Glenda, the Roy Morgan Value Segments, which were created in the first instance in 1983. And because they really are based on people, values and the choices that we make, it is still relevant today. They still help me navigate all sorts of relationships today, and they're still in our database today. From then, I guess at Roy Morgan, I had to learn real stuff, like I ran the Morgan poll for a while, which we had to learn about voting. Then built the government business, social research in the government and at a pretty early age became CEO, which meant that I had to temper my natural inclination to be a researcher and curious about everything and get focused on trying to be commercial and I still balance that today.
Glenda [00:05:07] Very difficult, isn't it, when you're trying to balance the business that you love with the business that you have to do.
Michele [00:05:14] Yes, I'm always thinking, oh, that's really interesting. I'd like to know more. From a commercial perspective, I should be saying that's not relevant, move on. How do we make money from that, move on, at a really solid level, it's quite challenging.
Glenda [00:05:28] It is and you've got such a wealth of data at your fingertips. It's so difficult. Look, I've got such a confession for you, Michele, when I used to work for you, I used to make up these briefs, and then I would dip into all this beautiful wealth of knowledge that you have at your fingertips and just make up these outcomes and it was just wonderful.
Michele [00:05:53] Glenda, I've got a confession for you. I know you did.
Glenda [00:06:01] I just used to, I just love it because I was one of these people, oh, I still am, when I get a new database or I know what's coming, I think, oh, my gosh, what am I going to find out? What am I going to see? And so to have this huge amount of information, I mean, what we get in agencies is like a fingertip of what Roy Morgan actually has. And because it's single source, it's so beautiful to cut the data in so many ways. And so, Michele, I think it's really good for the listeners, if you can explain what is single source research.
Michele [00:06:36] The single source, we call it the single source database. But essentially what it is, is a really, really large survey. And it's a survey these days we're doing 65,000 interviews across Australia, and each of those people are asked all about themselves. They're asked about their demographics, their age, their value statements, those key drivers. And then they're asked to complete a whole lot more information about various aspects of their lives, whether it's their attitudes to politics or the environment or anything else, whether they've been eating fast food or being eating really healthy food, doing lots of exercise, whether they've been smoking or we that been drinking a bit too much, what kind of car are they going to buy. And, you know, it's really like this incredible, almost encyclopaedic compendium of people's lives. And so, as you said, Glenda, you're able to look at anything, whether it's what kind of car you intend to buy and then think, I wonder, why they're intending to buy a Tesla rather than something else. I wonder if it's to do with their values. So you run across to other values and you go, oh yes, I wonder if we focus on male female difference and you run across males and females. And if you're anything like you and me, it's actually dangerously addictive so you can really getting it and understand. One of my real passion projects at the moment is like, be in it, we're rejuvenating life, be in it, and it's going to be all about understanding the health of Australia and the kind of dramatic changes that have happened. It'll be through our data, the dramatic changes that have happened in health since COVID so some things have got better. We'll be tracking very much things like mental health, there is a change in that. But with single source, you know, you can tell there's been a problem with mental health from absenteeism, from people going to the doctor. But with single source, we're able to say, who are those people that are really struggling? Where should any initiatives be that would help them back to good health? So, yes, it's pretty addictive stuff.
Jack [00:08:53] Sure, as I am, I definitely find the same thing. And I think, as you say, it's kind of similar to what you were saying before and that it's kind of easy to get off brief and what we're doing as well. I often find myself exploring something in particular for a client and then just the amount of different ways you can cut the data it you find yourself getting lost in all these different avenues of research. And I guess gauging consumer sentiment in Australia. And I guess I wanted to use that as sort of a way to move into our next topic with this idea of looking into consumer sentiment. Obviously with Roy Morgan really having their finger on the pulse, I just wanted to ask you, Michele, quite broadly, how's consumer and business sentiment tracking at the moment across the country?
Michele [00:09:31] Broadly, not too good and can I just say you're absolutely right. You easily get lost in the data. The critical thing, though, is to think about what are you looking for and with things like consumer sentiment, we need to look at that pretty much at a total level. So consumer sentiment or consumer confidence now is sitting at what is it, it's a pretty low number in the 70s, 76.5. Now, when consumer confidence is 100 that means equal numbers of people are optimistic and equal numbers are negative. So 76.5 is really low and you look at that as a whole and you go, well, what does that mean and it sort of means that you're looking for people to be concerned about things. Maybe they won't be spending, maybe they won't be taking holidays or all of those sorts of things provide the context. Now, of course, today, as I've been saying in my videos, all of those relationships are sort of up the pole, all of those relationships have changed. So at the moment, our economic views are really negative. We're really anxious. We're worried about our families in the future. We're worried about the economic future of Australia. If we're businesses, we're saying it's not that good a time to be investing. We kind of worry how the business is going to go so at that level we're really worried. On the other hand, we have are really supportive of the government of the day, and that's unusual, unusual to be worried about the country and everything, but still supporting the government. So we trust the government to an extraordinary degree. And of course, we're still spending the massive government handouts, the many billions of dollars that were put into the economy that kept us spending and saving. We saw savings go up so we're still seeing a lot of spending as we spend those savings. So, you know, the economic framework or in our view at Roy Morgan, it's not actually the economy, it's how people feel about the economy, how they respond to the economy, it's absolutely critical.
Glenda [00:11:45] And when times are unpredictable, Michele, can that really impact upon a brand and the public's relationship with them?
Michele [00:11:53] Yes, I think it can and it can impact positively or it can impact negatively, though when times are really unpredictable, then essentially trusted brands, the ones that you don't need to think about, what are they doing, how does that work, let me read the label. You just kind of go, oh yes, it's Bunnings, for instance, then that's great so people will rely on reputation and that sense of trust. But of course the some of the instability is coming from things like cyber crime. So we've seen a number of brands just hit from nowhere with cyber attacks and they've had privacy breaches and the population, we all respond with horror because one of the things we know about our research on trust and distrust is if a brand is trusted and it does something wrong like loses your data, then we just become really shocked. We sort of feel foolish to have trusted so much but then on the other hand, let me say the good bit is the COVID uncertainty. And that definitely threw a lot of uncertainty into our minds. We all know exactly what's going to happen in hindsight, but we had no idea at the time that gave a couple of industries a really good opportunity to show what they were made of. So the banks were able to step up and help people coming out of the Royal Inquiry. We were all angry with the banks. We were so frustrated, but they stepped up and helped that was a really good opportunity for them to do the right things. Similarly, the supermarkets, I mean, they just made our lives so much easier. They went the extra mile and they definitely didn't waste the COVID crisis. They took us on a journey. So unpredictability gives brands an opportunity to strut their stuff or kind of really mess up badly.
Jack [00:14:00] Well, I think it's yes, it's interesting looking at, I guess, consumers relationship with brands in these times of unpredictability. And often what we would expect is typical behaviour in unpredictable times or in times of things like pandemics or even in times of recessions. You recently spoke at the Australian Retailers Association Leaders Forum and you spoke about a particular I guess not as you expect behaving group of consumers in this time of recession. And I will read from the page because I don't want to mince your words, but you referred to a group of people that continue to spend their way through every session and every downturn. They see themselves as part of the desire economy and they're looking to fall in love with something. Cost is just seen as the price of falling in love. Those 24% of people represent more than 40% of spending so who are these recession spenders?
Michele [00:14:48] These are our NEOS, as Dr. Ross Honeywill would call them, the next economic order. Now, what is interesting about this, first of all, as a researcher, I talk about averages all the time. I should not talk about averages all the time, but you've only ever got a few minutes. And when we talk about things like people worried about cost of living, not everyone is worried about the price of meat in the supermarket, not everyone is feeling the pinch in the same way, and not everyone's responding the same way. This 24% of people, the NEOs, are the ones that will spend it. They'll spend more frequentl. They'll spend more confidently. In fact, they're always looking for the next thing that will sate their desire and what we've seen over the time that we've been able to monitor these things, like through the global financial crisis and through every other little hiccup that we have in the economy, I'm not saying the global financial crisis was a little bigger, but this group, something economic happens and they kind of go, oh, no, they will crash a minute but then they are the first to come out spending. And when things happen like inflation, the traditional person goes, oh, what's that going to do? What will that mean? And these guys, these NEOs are saying, right, inflation, how do I deal with that? How do I make money in that? What should I be doing in that? Like everything is seen as something that they can take advantage of right away and essentially do something that they desire doing and it's so critical that people in the business of selling products or selling services don't make the mistake of thinking everyone's miserable, everyone's looking for a good deal because these people are behaving so differently and they will continue to spend and they'll continue to lead the way in terms of what is the next way of spending so really, really interesting work to get a handle on. And of course, they can be found in our database.
Glenda [00:16:59] They absolutely can, I know that.
Michele [00:17:01] I'm not making it up.
Glenda [00:17:02] I know you're not, I know you're definitely not making that one up but, Michele, as people go through different changes and life goes through different momentums and you go through all this roller coaster, I call it the roller coaster of life that you're riding so many of our behaviours are actually attached to our personalities. Like you're talking about these NEOs does it dramatically fluctuate when people are facing difficult times like recessions, for instance, or if they like COVID lockdown and things like that, do you find that there's a movement and patterns?
Michele [00:17:38] There's a bit of movement and of course, if someone is a NEO, happy to spend looking to fall in love with something but they've lost their job and they've got no money. They're not going to spend. So they'll slip out of that category, but they won't become a traditional. It's almost like they'll go, oh, I haven't got the money. What am I going to do about that? Let me get something and find a way so the personality, if you like, characteristic what you call personality value or trade or whatever you call it, is kind of agency. It's about agency. It's about whether you feel like things happen to you, you kind of have to deal with them or whether you feel like you make your own life, you make your own way. And these NEOs epitomise people that say, yes, I'm going to get out and do it. I'm going to plan and I'm going to get there and off I go. Whereas most of us, me included, will actually, because I'm a traditional I'm not one of those newfangled NEOs will actually go, oh what's happening in the economy and how is that going to impact me that big distinction is really important. It's not just about wealth. It's not just about affluence. It really is a state of mind, a sense of agency and a willingness to explore new things.
Glenda [00:18:57] Can you change into your like different profile, like going from a NEO to a traditionalist as you age?
Michele [00:19:04] Well, if you ask the author and the developer of this way of thinking, Dr. Ross Honeywill, he will suggest that it's in your DNA and so it won't change and he will give himself as an example. Now, Ross, I'm not supposed to be ageist, but he's kind of getting on a little bit. He's a bit older than me, which makes him kind of on the old side. He is still so NEO. I mean, he's not, it's a bit like baby boomers are not behaving the way they need to, and NEOs, as they get older, don't behave the way they're need to. As old people, they will still be following their desires as long as their little legs will carry them.
Glenda [00:19:45] Yes, love that.
Jack [00:19:46] And it's fascinating, isn't it, I think I know a few people who I would definitely classify as NEOs, not sure if I am myself, but that's just the most interesting thing actually.
Michele [00:19:54] Ask me later, I'll actually do a little test.
Jack [00:19:58] There you go, well, I just wanted to take a bit of a step back onto this. This idea of trust again, Michele, if you don't mind and I think you mentioned a couple of these brands before, but we wanted to talk about the winners of the 2022 inaugural Trusted Brand Awards that Roy Morgan's running with the winners being Woolworths, and then followed closely by Bunnings and also Kmart. And I think as we've sort of already touched upon, it's interesting to see trust as a metric that's being recognised more and more both I suppose, in the political sphere, but also on more commercial spheres as we look to, you know, put brands to the test and see how they're recognised as being trustworthy or not in the public eye. But could you talk to us a little bit about how you measure trust?
Michele [00:20:39] Yes, it's actually a really important question and we started looking at this about seven plus years ago and it really came from the fact that the banks in particular, but many organisations were using a net promoter score, They were looking at whether people would recommend them or satisfaction score, and that was scoring really well. And yet, you know, bank bashing was Australia's favourite pastime. So the directors of these companies were saying, you know, what is it we're measuring? What is it that gives you guys your bonuses when everyone hates us and it just might misunderstand that we didn't really know what we were measuring. And so what Roy Morgan did was to start out with a very open ended way of understanding this and simply ask people, which brands do you trust? Let them say anything they like, which brands do you distrust? Let them say anything they like and then ask them, so, okay, why do you trust Coles or whatever? And then why do you distrust whichever brand it was? So this is a massive open-ended exercise, we cut our teeth on AI actually do all of the coding. And so from that open-ended world, we gather the number of people that mention each brand as a trusted brand and subtract the number that mention it as a distrusted brand. So if trust outweighs distrust, you become a trust score. If distrust outweighs trust, you get a distrust score and it's very powerful. We see that many of the reasons people trust brands, in fact, very much like why they have a net promoter score, good service, nice people, good quality products, prices that suit my needs or whatever. But the reasons for distrust are so much more visceral. They are actually to do with greed. They are to do with lying. They are to do with cheating. They are to do with greenwashing and often the reasons people distrust brand can be intergenerational. Why do you distrust that bank? Well, they took my grandfather off the land that many years ago, and our family's never been the same since. The distrust is a whole lot more powerful in a way than trust and that's where these companies that are looking seriously at their right to operate, their path to being able to navigate through government regulations, consumer demand, all of these things, the whole social right to operate is based on trust but more critically, distrust.
Glenda [00:23:27] It's interesting, isn't it because that value of brand trust or distrust and I really I'd look at that distrust layer, you made a point in the latest political when you were covering off New South Wales government about distrust being more important with winning elections than trust. Do you know what I mean, like you talk about that, very openly and how significant does it really impact upon a brand if you've got a lot of distrust that's been built? You talk about the banks, for instance.
Michele [00:24:03] Yes, so we've seen examples like A&P flood of money went to A&P with a flood of customers with A&P. Optus recently with the breach and the distrust flared immediately. And so it can have an incredible, real and material impact. Now, what of course, is challenging is that you can have brands like Amazon and Facebook or Meta that are really distrusted and yet people keep using them. So there's a bit of a challenge around this but you have to say, if a brand is distrusted and there's a relevant option, you can go somewhere else to get the same thing. Then it's a really fragile brand and people will jump as soon as they can. I mean, at the moment, something like Facebook, it's just a way of life that people are sort of doing a transactional decision and going, okay I know that, but I'm still using it for these reasons. Another option, they wouldn't be there. So we talk about fragile brands that are just where that distrust layer is kind of sitting there waiting to catch you out.
Glenda [00:25:21] Do you think you'll ever see the fall of Facebook?
Michele [00:25:26] I would prefer to think that Facebook will continue to improve the way that it operates. I think I still think the Internet is like the Wild West. When we survey people and ask them, has the Internet brought more problems than it solves or has it solved more problems than it brings? It was still the majority, small majority still say the Internet solves more problems. On the other hand, social media, the vast majority of people think social media, that subset of the Internet has actually cause more problems than it solves. So I feel like this future is still being mapped out, and I would prefer to think rather than thinking that Facebook would be wiped off the earth, is that I and others will learn to navigate and learn to treat with respect their customers, the people they operate with, and that the world will be a happy place, Glenda.
Glenda [00:26:28] I hope so too, because it leads me to my next quick question about being socially conscious, because in our industry, it's like the buzz phrase. Everything's socially conscious, every client wants to be seen to be socially conscious and I do think that some try to jump on the bandwagon without actually really thinking it through. Are you seeing trends with audiences and the Australian public in respect to being socially conscious or in respect to flocking towards a socially conscious brand or company or organisation?
Michele [00:27:09] It's a really interesting question because we absolutely are and if we use the NEOs, those future shapers, as our guide to the future, they are very, very concerned about social conscience, about the kind of good behaviour of the brands that they're dealing with. And they're not only worried about, they are very interested in it and they're also they will follow it through to a logical conclusion, which means that they're a pretty hard audience. You know, if you're found to be greenwashing or whatever word you would use for pretending to be something that you're not that's death so that would be, you know, you would undo any good reputation you had if you're over claiming with the NEOs because they really will find you out. And I think, you know, the term greenwashing has become part of our common parlance now, and it's a bad thing. So people claiming to be environmentally friendly or doing things that they're not doing are running a huge risk. On the other hand, just claiming to kind of be, I don't know, good and donate here or think about all the list of things that you could claim to be socially conscious, it sort of has to be relevant to your product, otherwise it is seen as being spin or marketing and that doesn't go down well with anyone. And so, yes, it's important and I think basically what all companies are doing and are being required to do is behave well. You know, there are all sorts of legal issues and contracts that organisations have to sign and it's great if you've got a real story that helps people understand your purpose, your products and services, how it all comes together and why it makes sense, like a believable narrative as opposed to a cool bit of spin. And I have to say we still see lots of cool spin and that's not a good thing. But, you know, the thing that is always important is you've got a brand like Shein, S h e i n and the kind of el cheapo clothing brand that, you know, in most instances people know breaks every rule in the book. And yet it's doing extremely well because its price point is appealing to a group of people who kind of can't put their money where their heart might be so it's just too compelling. So it's never going to be a straight-line issue but I think we are moving more and more towards brands and organisations having to have transparency and having to be able to tell the truth simply, and hopefully it's a good truth.
Glenda [00:30:10] And do you believe that has evolved, like the measurement of social consciousness has evolved over the last 5 to 10 years, particularly around COVID because I think we sort of saw a little bit of a lift there too didn't we?
Michele [00:30:26] The measurement or just people's expectations, what do you mean?
Glenda [00:30:31] I think it's both, I think it's people's expectations, but it's also the way that we have been measuring it has it seems to be a more of a spotlight on that measurement piece than what there has been in the past.
Michele [00:30:47] Well, that's what happens when you more and more start measuring these things. So, yes, look, there's no question that if you looked at any brand study, people would have is a socially conscious organisation. I mean, I remember right back in the early '90s when we were doing all of the corporate communications research we talk about is a brand that does good for Australia or is a brand good for the environment. So those issues were always there but there's definitely a bandwagon and people are trying to be seen as that as an attribute that they can find. I think what Roy Morgan has tried to do and what Ross Honeywill and I have tried to do with our risk program, trust and distrust and this is like a passion project for us is to really get underneath the bonnet and find out not just which slogans kind of work for people, but what is it really all about? What is the real pain? What is the sort of visceral response to some of these bad things that companies do and how do they rebuild that? How do you come back from something like that? And once we start doing that, we inherently will measure it and will inherently compare things across industries. You know, the example of Juukan Gorge for Rio isn't just a mining issue; it's an issue that could happen to any organisation in any situation. So it helps us build language and measurement and therefore be able to shine a spotlight on the situations, hopefully with a view to making it better as opposed to just pointing the finger.
Jack [00:32:36] Michele, you spoke before about the idea of, I guess, in the context of greenwashing and brands starting to be held more accountable for identifying as being socially conscious or green or environmentally friendly, I wanted to sort of explore that idea a little bit, and I suppose in the context of the winners of the 2022 awards that Roy Morgan undertook for brand trustworthiness. To what extent do you think that comes down to, I guess, the legitimacy of the brand and the services or products it provides and how effective they are or how much they loved by consumers? And to what part do you think advertising and branding play into people's perception of whether a brand truly is trustworthy or not?
Michele [00:33:16] Look, I think many of the people who trusted brands were not current customers of those brands. And many people who distrusted brands were definitely not customers of those brands. So it's not just current experience, as I said earlier, a really bad experience yours or perhaps a family member will carry on for a long time. So distrust and those really vitriolic feelings are not things that advertising probably create or really resolve. On the other hand, if you've got a brand that's doing really good things advertising, communicating that whether it's advertising or any form of communication that helps people link the good with the purpose and the brand, is very powerful.
Glenda [00:34:13] Maintaining trust is so important, isn't it and taking notice of this kind of research; I just think it's so invaluable. And as I say, that distrust piece in particular is amazing, you know, like it really is for you just to really understand why they distrust you versus the trust.
Michele [00:34:34] Absolutely.
Glenda [00:34:35] Michele, do you think brands pay enough attention to this kind of research?
Michele [00:34:40] Some do, some really, really seriously do. Some people are actually putting trust and distrust on their risk register for their board because it's so important. But, Glenda, one of the things that I find really interesting and this is story sort of transcends trust, but if we think about Toyota, when Toyota came to Australia in the '60s or whatever it was, it was saying in an incredibly pejorative sense, you know, people called them teeny Jap cars. It was really negative and what Toyota did is they didn't advertise their way out of that position. They, unlike any car company or most companies I've ever worked with, systematically sought to understand the rejectors, those that were against them, those that said they would never buy a Toyota. They understood why and they systematically worked to solve those problems. And they've done that quietly, going about doing that improving things and look where they are today. So you have to say that was the Toyota's, in my mind, a wonderful example of a company that took the long-term view. Toyota also had an interesting approach, which is that it was like seen as one company, one brand, one company, and everyone was in it together. So it wasn't like, well, let's just get some good advertising. We need some advertising now because everything's looking doom and gloom. It was a much more holistic approach and it has stood the test of time.
Glenda [00:36:21] And they really do and they really did make themselves the car for the everyday people.
Michele [00:36:26] Absolutely.
Glenda [00:36:26] You know that is actually what won them the hearts of every country they've moved into.
Michele [00:36:31] Yes so there's a place for advertising. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, you guys. You know, we've seen the danger of spin; the danger of advertising that is irrelevant and just kind of trying to paint a picture that's not real can backfire very easily.
Glenda [00:36:51] It definitely can.
Jack [00:36:54] There you go, we've covered, I think a lot of hard hitting topics. I just wanted to take a little bit of a step back and sort of just ask a question about Roy Morgan more generally, Michele, I think obviously, as we've touched on today, it's you know, Roy Morgan's research has prominence across all sectors of the Australian industry, really is undeniable. And I think it transcends, you know, politics, it transcends brand research. It is something that's been a big part of my life and the various agencies that I've worked at. In recent years, we've seen Roy Morgan use as a bit of a figurehead for some online industry discourse through the Facebook page, Roy Morgan, as well as the Instagram handle, Roy Morgan TV, and as we all know, they do have a bit of a satirical skew these pages. And what they do well is I think they make light of some f these sort of ups and downs and sort of the funny things in day-to-day life of working in advertising and talk to the, you know, these dynamics between clients and media agencies and creative agencies and PR agencies and pretty much all the different people that are involved. And I just wanted to ask you if you're aware of these pages and how you feel about the Roy Morgan brand being used as, I guess, a bit of a meeting point for this melting pot of industry parody?
Michele [00:38:07] Yes, well, when I first saw it, I was kind of agog but then when I first looked at social media and saw a person saying, well, you guys don't really do surveys. And again, I was devastated but I've learned that life goes on. I've learned that you have to go with the flow. If something said that is not right, you just simply correct it and move on. And I have to say, I haven't had a really big eye on this special Roy Morgan TV page. I'll go back and have a look now, if there is really awful things happening, please tell me, otherwise, I think it's kind of a bit of a compliment that we're part of the story of Australia.
Jack [00:38:49] Well, what do they say is imitation is the highest form or lowest form of flattery, one of those.
Glenda [00:38:55] I think it's brilliant, you should just have a handle called Just Ask Roy and just ask Roy come online and correct them.
Michele [00:39:04] Absolutely, you know what we used to have, this is very old, but I'll tell you anyway, we had badges that people would wear saying Ask Roy.
Glenda [00:39:12] I love that. I actually love it.
Michele [00:39:14] I think I still got some.
Glenda [00:39:16] I should definitely have one of those badges. I just love that, now Michele.
Michele [00:39:21] And you know what, Glenda, GPT4, you know chatGPT4 is going to make Ask Roy or Ask Roy Morgan a reality. Type it in, go to us, out it comes, I'm so excited about the future.
Glenda [00:39:38] I think it's brilliant, although I do find, I'll be really interested to see how fast they get more current with their data because they are really using.
Michele [00:39:51] Well they have a license, if you're doing the freebie one, it's not going to happen.
Glenda [00:39:53] No, it's not but the buying a licence is, totally, look I'm there with you with chatGPT, I think it's fascinating. I love it.
Michele [00:40:02] There are so many tools that are going to make our lives easier, the whole business of navigating all the information that's available. I mean, like the asteroid database, it's got enough to make your head spin, but then you start looking outside and you go, yes, we need help adding all of this information and synthesising it.
Glenda [00:40:24] Totally, I absolutely agree with you, now, Michele, we're coming to the end of the show and I always save my most important questions for the end. I know you're going to be excited about this, but Michele, in your view, what is the most useless invention of all time?
Michele [00:40:47] I think I'll have to say the Chihuahua.
Glenda [00:40:50] Really?
Michele [00:40:52] I've got two, they do nothing but yap and shed. They're useless but I've grown to love them.
Glenda [00:41:02] Oh, that's fantastic, you'll love mine. Mine's the Cuisenaire rods. You know, remember how you used to get the Cuisenaire rods. Well, I'll tell you now, I still don't know my times tables. I know that two white squares go in a red square.
Michele [00:41:21] Don't tell the world that you don't know your times table when you worked at Roy Morgan that just is not on.
Glenda [00:41:27] It's true, like, seriously, it's just horrendous, do you know what I mean? Like, you just, you have to think it through, they did a complete disservice. Jack is looking at me in disgust.
Jack [00:41:37] I'm picturing an abacus.
Michele [00:41:41] Oh Jack, you're too young, they are wonderful kind of blocks but you're absolutely right, Glenda. They forced us to do something that was counterintuitive, to get to something that was intuitive. Look, there are plenty of those things in the world today, but I don't think they come close to the Chihuahua.
Glenda [00:42:00] Now, I agree with you, although I do wish I'd just stuck to that repetitive, you know, ten times ten.
Jack [00:42:07] I mean, I remember being issued a calculator in Year 4 or 5 and wondering why we were we still looking up at the thing on the wall to remember the times table. So I don't blame you and GW, to be honest.
Glenda [00:42:16] Calculators, what are they? We didn't have them at school. We weren't allowed. It was a big deal.
Michele [00:42:26] With had logbooks, didn't we, where we'd look up logarithm, oh, my goodness, let's not go there.
Michele [00:42:31] We can't go there. We can't go there. My first boss, I still remember working out whether or not he was going to buy one of these new fax machines or update the telex machine, how bad is that?
Jack [00:42:42] There you go. Well, I think that's just about it for us. Thank you so much for joining us today, Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan. Obviously, you can find Michele's bio and link in our credits and in all the sort of things below the videos and in the Spotify description.
Michele [00:42:59] And I seriously encourage you all to review Roy Morgan and what they have to offer because they really do have an amazing depth of research. Michele, thank you so much for your time today. It really did feel like we were having the queen. I mean it, I'm going to send you a tiara. You need to walk into that boardroom and say, okay boys.
Michele [00:43:24] I'm happy to do that, I'm happy to do that.
Michele [00:43:27] I think you would. Thank you so much again and of course, join the Pending Approval community. You can sign up to our mailing list and join in on the conversation at mediaprecinct.com|/pending approval. Goodbye everyone, play nice and be happy.
[00:43:44] May I have your attention, please, this is Pending Approval, advertising from the inside out.