Link for Business: creating the world’s first dedicated platform designed to evaluate the effectiveness of B2B Corporate Communications

By Emily Dickinson and Emma Pyke – Kantar Millward Brown, Corporate Practice

A hidden gem within the Kantar network, Kantar Millward Brown’s Corporate Practice counters the perception the company only focuses on consumer research.  Emily and Emma are B2B specialists working with international clients who want to speak to anyone from HNW through to FTSE 100 decision-makers.

An exciting challenge for the Corporate team is to utilise the wealth of consumer knowledge in the area of Brand and Communications to further B2B thinking.  Both B2B and B2C consumers are increasingly looking beneath the surface of a brand to establish a more meaningful connection.  The success of a business will increasingly depend upon this ability to convey that their brand stands for more than just a product range.

As Emma points out, the proliferation of the smartphone and growth of sites such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat have altered the way in which we interact and communicate with our environment as around 1.5 trillion photos were taken in 2015, proving that pictures have become the means to evoke emotion, tell stories and drive people to action.

For advertisers, this represents both an opportunity and a challenge according to Emily.  We see digital perfection is declining.  The global population is becoming increasingly accustomed to a diverse range of aesthetics in the visual landscape. A beautiful picture is no longer enough. For that image to stand out, it must resonate with its target audience, irrespective of whether that audience is a member of the general public or a FTSE 500 CEO.

For B2B marketers, who have historically been second place to B2C in organisations, particularly when it comes to advertising spend, this movement towards ‘Prosumers’ provides an opportunity to elevate B2B marketing.  As such Emily, Emma and the Corporate team began thinking about what they could learn from Kantar Millward Brown’s insight legacy to help B2B marketers demonstrate their value and actively engage their target audience.

The team identified an opportunity to develop a fast and cost-effective way for clients and their agencies to measure the effectiveness of B2B corporate communications.  As Emily explained, the objective was to create a solution which could be utilised by any business in any sector whether start-up or established.

Emily worked with a focused internal team to review current Kantar Millward Brown thinking and consulted clients to create a new approach which would be relevant not only now but also in the future.  The result was Link for Business.

In order to move from idea to realisation, Emma worked with a client to pilot the first Link for Business to create a product that could be taken to market.  Submitting the paper, Emma was keen to show that B2B research doesn’t necessarily mean long lead times or expensive investment.  B2B research is moving forward and adapting to changing client needs.  She says “this is a quick and effective way of providing good, actionable feedback that clients and creative agencies can use.  We’re really excited client feedback has been so positive around the value they receive.”

The call for the BIG MRS award papers could not have come at a more opportune time – the concept had been developed and ‘live’ tested, and Kantar Millward Brown was able to show real results which added credibility to their entry.

About the authors:

Emily Dickinson, Director, Marketing & Development

It’s fair to say Emily took a rather circuitous route to her current role. Having previously worked as a journalist and editor, Emily completed her PhD in American Literature and now spends most of her week surrounded by proposals and unintelligible notes. Because she believes sleeping is often cheating she opened a pop-up pudding bar in Soho, rowed at a national level and currently lectures on an ad-hoc basis.

Emma Pyke, Director, Client Services

Like most people in the industry, Emma fell into market research, previously working at marketing comms and brand valuation agencies.  She has spent many years helping big global brands understand what the world thinks about them and more importantly, what needs to be done to improve their reputation. Emma used to have hobbies but is now kept on her toes chasing two small children.

For more information on the Award, including the other finalists, click on Jigsaw Research or The Sound, or find out more about Kantar Milward Brown Corporate Practice.