Joaquim Bretcha, ESOMAR president 2019 "The worldwide community needs more German presence"

Joaquim Bretcha will become president of ESOMAR in 2019. In our interview, he regrets the missing German candidates for the new ESOMAR council. What will he focus on during his presidency and which changes in market research have a global impact?

Joaquim Bretcha (Bild: ESOMAR)

Joaquim Bretcha (Bild: ESOMAR) Mr Bretcha, congratulations on your election as president of ESOMAR. Can you tell us about your first days in your new function?

Joaquim Bretcha: Thank you. My term starts in January 2019 and finishes in December 2020. I am currently in talks with the current President, Niels Schillewaert, and the Director General, Finn Raben, to guarantee a smooth transition. Additionally, I am already in conversation with the upcoming Council members, especially the newly elected ones in order to get to know them and their objectives better. We will define the strategy for the new term during the first quarter of 2019. What will be different during your period of office?

Joaquim Bretcha: This question should be answered by the ESOMAR community at the end of my mandate. This being said, my plan is composed of two main aspects: content and form. I will talk more about the content in the questions below and regarding the form, my objective is to increase the sense of community. I would like researchers of the world to know and feel that ESOMAR is the community they want to belong to for all the benefits it offers to their day-to-day professional life. On Twitter you wrote, your aim is "to strengthen the bridges across geographies and research practices" once you are president. How do you want to accomplish that?

Joaquim Bretcha: Market Research has reached a tipping point. The digitization of our societies has brought a new approach to customer/consumer/citizen understanding. Today we have unparalleled opportunities to understanding what consumers do, think and feel. Moreover, the research users, known as end-clients, are undergoing their own transformation. Their needs are constantly evolving and require a fresh type of insights which come from different practices, from more traditional to fully digital. As a profession we need to properly manage this digital transformation and get to the optimal symbiosis of more traditional practices and those coming from the digital analytics world. Regarding geographies, it is a fact that all markets are different. There are common traits, of course, but each market has its own pecularities. I have had the chance of intensely travelling the world of research and can affirm that there are excellent practices everywhere. We can elevate the profession by interchanging those good examples across countries and continents and learn from one another. Are there other subjects ESOMAR will focus on during your presidency?

Joaquim Bretcha: One of ESOMAR's key undergoing missions is the promotion and elevation of the market research profession in front of legislators of various levels and geographies on consumer privacy. This will certainly remain a key priority. Indeed, the ICC/ESOMAR Code is fundamental to attracting the new researchers coming from the tech/digital world. Another priority would be to help our current members (end-clients and providers) to adapt to the transformation of our ecosystem. Moreover, to increase the ESOMAR footprint worldwide and better adapt our member services in order to raise community engagement. And, finally, to keep working on attracting new talent to our profession. In some countries, like Germany, there currently is a very emotional discussion about how representative online-surveys placed in different news-sites can be, when there is no random sample selected in advance. What's the ESOMARs view on that?

Joaquim Bretcha: Before I answer you question, I would like to address a specific message to the German market research community. The worldwide community needs more German presence and the German perspective on where our profession must head to. I was rather disappointed to see that there was not a single candidate for the new Council coming from Germany. So, I would like to encourage the German professionals to be more participative within ESOMAR as it will be beneficial for them and the community globally.
As per your question, I am happy to give my personal perspective on this - I believe it all depends on the objective of the study. If you are interested in studying a specific community you will need to invite a sample of people that best represent that community. If you are interested in studying the global population, again, you will need to set definite quotas that represent the population segments. To avoid the problems related to the case you mention, we would need to work with a well balanced online consumer panel sample, counting with real people from different sources.
The online methodology is perfectly established. It is the the largest one accounting for 42 percent of the worldwide expenditure combining both online and mobile activities. We see larger players struggling and quite a lot of start-ups appearing in the industry, that consider themselves more tech-firms than market researchers. Do you think the market research industry is in a radical change?

Joaquim Bretcha: Yes, we are witnessing a radical change. When talking about this subject it is key to bear in mind that between 2010 and 2017, $20bn of new money came into our industry according to Cambiar Consulting. Our industry had never seen such a significant injection of funds. And more importantly, this money has been allocated to technology. Under the promise of the Golden Data Era, Venture Capital and Private Equity companies have strongly invested in the creation of new companies or already established ones. Furthermore, some of the established firms have gone public. The structure of the capital determines the objectives, mission and time-perspective of companies. This mix has definitely affected the market. As previously mentioned, technology gives us the ability to better understand people. For more than 100 years this has been the realm of market researchers. This expertise is invaluable and is totally needed to command the understanding of the new consumer with the use of new methodologies and available datasets. What do you think are the top 3 topics the market research business will have to deal with in the next five years?

Joaquim Bretcha: Ethics and Data Privacy, Automation and Artificial Intelligence, and the smart combination of the wisdom of 100 years of traditional market research with new tech data analytics.

marktforschung: Thank you, Mr. Bretcha!

The interview was conducted by Monika Maruschka

Joaquim Bretcha has graduated with a degree in Ecomomics and a degree in Business from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the IESE Business School, respectively. Bretcha has been serving as International Director at Netquest since 2010 and has been an ESOMAR council member since 2015. Both responsibilities allow him to stay in close touch with the international research community and up-to-date with the latest market developments. Previously, Bretcha has served other Director position is various companies in Spain such has Auchan, Kantar Worldpanel and Carrefour. Most recently, he has co-founded the NGO “Health us Nepal” with the aim of bringing health to the remote region of Humla. He has also had the experience of being a TEDx Talker in Royal Tunbridge Wells (England).


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