Reports from our company leaders


Report by Eric Salama (front row, second left)
Chairman and chief executive officer

Also pictured (left to right): Front row: Mario Simon, CEO, Kantar Vermeer; David Day, CEO, Lightspeed GMI; Josep Montserrat, CEO, Kantar Worldpanel; Bart Michels, CEO, Kantar Added Value; Phil Smiley, CEO EMEA ASPAC, Kantar Retail; Preeti Reddy, President, Kantar IMRB; and Lynnette Cooke, CEO, Kantar Health. Back row: Mark Inskip, CEO, Kantar Futures; Travyn Rhall, Global CEO, Consumer Insights, Kantar; Andy Brown, CEO, Kantar Media; Richard Ingleton, Chairman, Consumer Insights, Kantar and CEO, Kantar Consulting; Joel Benenson, CEO, Benenson Strategy Group; Steve Pattinson,  CEO Americas, Kantar Retail; Michelle Harrison, CEO, Kantar Public Affairs; and Hidehiko Otake, CEO, Kantar Japan.


ur clients are fixated by the need to differentiate and be relevant. It is that relevant differentiation which allows them to charge price premiums, maintain margins, secure distribution on acceptable terms and have customers remain loyal to them and try new products and services.

We have teamed with other WPP companies to ensure that our insights are widely used and embedded to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of creative and media campaigns

We are equally fixated by the need to be relevant and differentiated in the eyes of our clients, for many of the same reasons. Against that background we were delighted with the highest-ever increase in our preference scores in 2015 (by an unprecedented eight percentage points) – the measure of differentiation used by our clients to assess our relationship and work. We are not just talking about relevant differentiation – clients are experiencing it. It is testimony to the focus we have put on making our work contemporary and relevant to the issues our clients are facing and to the thought leadership, innovation and quality of talent which we have brought to market during the year.

Relevant thought leadership

We have delivered world-class thought leadership around the issues of greatest importance to our clients. Issues such as how to build strong brands, compete effectively at a local level, succeed in e-commerce, charge and maintain premium prices. We have continued to publish studies that have been read, discussed and absorbed by top management around the world. Examples have been Millward Brown BrandZ rankings globally and in China, India, Indonesia and LatAm, Kantar Worldpanel’s Brand Footprint which focuses on the issue of penetration, Added Value’s cultural insight and premiumisation work and The Futures Company Millennials, Centennials and Polycultural publications, as well as Kantar Retail publications about e-commerce and their retail PoweRankings. Many of the benchmarks we have created (e.g. strength of retail brands, penetration, brand differentiation) have been adopted as KPIs for senior management in a host of client organisations and have led to clients commissioning new work.

As clients have sought to restructure and reorient their marketing and insight departments, Vermeer’s work on Marketing 2020 and Insights 2020 has been published in Harvard Business Review, discussed in CMO forums around the world and used by clients to benchmark the degree to which they are positioned to use marketing, insights and analytics to grow.

Relevant innovation

We have focused on the issues which are the biggest pain points for our clients. To these ends we have piloted, launched and rolled out a number of new approaches, notably:

Making our work more impactful and predictive

  • Building our consulting capability. We have 1000+ consultants working within Kantar on marketing strategies which span sectors such as retail and healthcare to issues such as structure, market access and embedding insights. Their impact has been felt by our clients ever more widely this year.
  • Socially infused tracking. TNS now incorporates social media data in its tracking product for clients such as SABMiller, making the results more real-time and predictive.
  • Programmatic segmentation. Clients such as IHG have benefited from our ability to take our consumer segmentation work for them, map profiles on to larger databases and deliver these to a media agency to plan and buy media in a way whichhas a proven uplift.
  • Using profiles. Through our Ignite and Lightspeed platforms, and working cooperatively with GroupM and Wunderman, we have built rich profiles on millions of people across multiple markets – profiles that can be used to enhance media planning and buying and which we can use to target surveys on the basis of people’s behaviours and attitudes.
  • Working horizontally. On many clients as diverse as Indofoods in Indonesia, Pfizer globally and L’Oréal in the US, we have teamed with other WPP companies to ensure that our insights are widely used and embedded to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of creative and media campaigns.
  • Transforming creative deliverables. In expanding our creative capability through the acquisition of Graphic (previously Guardian Digital Agency) and in putting more internal emphasis on our creativity, clients as diverse as EY and MundiPharma have rewarded us with more work on the back of impactful creative ways of delivering insights. And brands such as Kantar Health have built a reputation for delivering complex medical conclusions through interactive compelling dashboards.
  • Helping society through our public affairs work. Insight and polling work for governments and NGOs has an impact of a different order. IMRB’s work for the Indian Department of AIDS control and TNS’s work for the Kenyan Government on digital tax collection go to the heart of policy making, while the polling we do around the world informs the public debate.

Our best work often comes from multi-brand multi-skill teams putting aside agendas

How digital is transforming brand building

  • Measuring content. A key starting point is Kantar Media’s ability to measure content on all devices and platforms. The Netherlands became the first market in the world to roll out cross-media measurement and we were thrilled to be chosen as the industry’s partner to do so. In the UK, we are measuring and reporting content which is viewed time shifted and/or through various players on tablets and smartphones. In Spain, we have built on our partnership with comScore to launch an integrated TV and digital service. We are currently looking at how we can export real-time ratings (the only market in the world where these are available being LatAm, through Kantar IBOPE Media) to other markets. And we will continue to roll out our Twitter ratings service which helps clients understand the relationship between TV viewing and Twitter activity and its impact on engagement.
  • Measuring digital brand building. Millward Brown’s Digital Behaviour Analytics gives clients an understanding of the digital path to purchase while our AdReaction and Link for Digital products give clients a way of measuring the impact that advertising and other content is having on brands. Our partnership with comScore has resulted in a more global, digitally-centred brand lift service.

Optimising marketing spend

  • A key focus has been in helping clients understand and optimize the impact of trade action. Kantar Retail XTEL’s award-winning promotion optimization software has been adopted by clients such as Kellogg’s and L’Oréal globally; Kantar Retail Virtual Reality has been adopted after fierce pitches by clients such as Unilever and Sam’s Club to help optimize supply chain issues.
  • Similarly, we are focused on relating media consumption to purchase behaviour. PowerPurchase was launched by Millward Brown and Kantar Worldpanel to link brand equity with purchase behaviour, the first client being JBS in Brazil. In many markets we have linked digital tags to Kantar Worldpanel panelists to enable us to relate TV, Twitter and Facebook campaigns to purchase behavior, and to report for clients a measure of direct short-term ROI. We have done the same in LatAm and the US to link TV and purchase – in LatAm linking panels and, in the US, linking big data sets of comScore, Rentrak and Kantar Shopcom.

Quality of talent

Even more important than technology is the quality of talent we have across Kantar and our culture of innovation and constant improvement. We have seen innovation in everything from finance, HR and operations to marketing and client service. And we have seen in reviews for clients such as Unilever, Treasury Wines and Yildiz that our best work often comes from multi-brand multi-skill teams putting aside agendas and delivering unique sets of actionable insights and strategies.

We have continued to emphasise the importance of diversity in our hiring and have expanded our women’s mentoring program. We have seen a growing number of units awarded an externally assessed ‘best place to work’ award – including Kantar Health by The Sunday Times in the UK and Kantar Worldpanel by a host of organisations in France, the UK, Spain, Ireland, China, Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico.

Kantar into 2016

Our recently-introduced Kantar First program will enable better collaboration between our operating brands to better serve client needs by eliminating internal profit silos; by encouraging the sharing of data across brands; and by facilitating better co-operation at a local level around which, increasingly, many important and profitable clients are organising themselves. Kantar First will enable us to bring the best of Kantar to many more of our clients across the world, while keeping the brands and specialisms which they have come to trust.