Kantar Consulting’s First steps to Switching on Growth in South America

Seizing the market data alone is no longer differential for the business of the companies and the research institutes. This fact motivated the Kantar Group last year to evaluate the merger of four of its operations: Kantar Added Value (Cultural understanding, positioning and brand design), Kantar Futures (Consumption forecast and perception of future trends), Kantar Retail (Specialized in shopper, e-commerce and retail) and Kantar Vermeer (Marketing ROI and brand and organizational consulting).

The initiative was officialised in January of this year, giving rise to Kantar Consulting, led in Latin America, by Eduardo Tomiya, who previously handled the Vermeer operations for the same region. The executive says that the four brands mentioned were acting in a more dispersed way, but it was clear that together they could create a new category of services, adequate to the current situation, in which global companies face challenges of growth and regional ones gain strength, making the first opt to be “global”, which demands a much greater knowledge of specific markets.

“By bringing together all these expertise, we can offer a level of consulting like no other in the world can,” Tomiya points out. Add to that the know-how, also of Kantar Worldpanel and Kantar Ibope Media, with which they work in tune. Consulting expects to grow between 20% and 25% in the launch year (growth was already high with Vermeer, supported by Futures and Added Value).

The Kantar Consulting team has a lean team in the region: there are 21 people in Brazil, 6 in Mexico and 2 in Argentina, as well as partners, Andre Galiano (Head of Brand & Marketing) and Marcello Berland (Head of Retail & shopper). Receptiveness to the services that the company offers has been great. In June, for example, Suvinil announced an investment of $40 million in a job that began at Kantar Consulting, which detected the different customer clusters and their demands. The results were reflected even in a change of brand logo (played by Interbrand), in addition to a new visual identity of packaging and reorganization of the product lines. In August, a Talent campaign will also highlight the news.

“There is no one else in the comfort zone and this is an opportunity to support companies in their growth, from brand strategy to implementation. The market acceptance is very great for this new proposal”, says the executive of Kantar Consulting. To fulfill the second part, the company even allocates teams to act within the structures of the clients. As work in progress is confidential, Tomiya opens only that four projects occur in this model today, for customers in the electronics, retail, services and petroleum sectors. The electronics sector is one of the global companies that wish to have a “Latin American footprint” and, therefore, Kantar Consulting has assisted in the execution brand strategy in the region.

Another front of action is B2B, particularly in the area of corporate reputation management. In Brazil, there are recurring issues involving corruption and environmental problems. On that front, Vale is one of the clients, after the environmental catastrophe in Bento Rodrigues, in the city of Mariana (MG), resulting from the rupture of a Samarco dam. “Companies are looking for us mainly to address this pain, and to help them first place to understand the size of the hole and then devise a plan of action. Today, there are tools and metrics to assess this and how to set short, medium and short-term plans”, says Tomiya. New business fronts, such as Fintechs also seek out Kantar to chart future growth strategies.

Of the four companies that came together to form Kantar Consulting, the one that had less activity in Brazil and now intensifies its presence in the country is Retail, which besides the part of consulting to go to market shares, has a whole part of services in IT information system for promotional actions and implementation of trade and retail solutions. With the new expertise’s added to Kantar Consulting, the average project ticket increased two to three times.

Asked how he imagines that demand for his company’s services will behave both in post-crisis Brazil or in a possible return to recession, the executive recalled one of the highlights of the study “Follow the money” Finding Growth in Uncomfortably Places, more specifically a phrase of entrepreneur Joe Kraus. According to him, the 20th century had a few dozen markets and millions of people, the 21st century already has millions of markets targeting dozens of people, about the demands of segmentation and the transformations of consumers and businesses. So, for Tomiya, if a company operates in the traditional mindset and is slow in terms of innovation, it will be in crisis and with no prospect for the future, whether the economy is good or bad.

 – This article first appeared in Meio & Mensagem.

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