The story of our start-up was on show at ESOMAR Congress 2017 in Amsterdam

There used to be a firm line separating technology from market research, but this year’s ESOMAR Congress proved that those boundaries are now blurring.

A strong and proud community of researchers, data experts, and insights professionals are actively innovating. It’s no longer a ‘talk the talk’ scenario – increasingly, researchers are taking firm action, and this was made abundantly clear over three rainy, windy days in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam GIF

ESOMAR 2017 was in Amsterdam

Technology and research, together at last

AI, machine learning, automation, text analytics, image processing, video transcriptions, virtual reality, augmented reality – these terms have made appearances at many market research conferences over the years. With ESOMAR’s 70th birthday as our backdrop and stories of inspiration setting a vision for the future, we scrutinized these innovations: what are they capable of doing for our industry? 

Market researchers are no longer resistant to change. Many presenters spoke of the importance of partnering with innovative technology companies to pursue better quality insights.

This has not been a quick rate of progression. Back in 2010, when ZappiStore first surfaced as a technology start-up, founder Stephen Phillips was convinced that the marketing industry needed to adopt the right technology to meet the ever-growing demands of today’s consumers. But how could a team of four bring this big idea to fruition?

Coke and ZappiStore

Coca-Cola present at ESOMAR alongside ZappiStore

Coca-Cola Japan, meet ZappiStore

We were nominated for ESOMAR’s best paper award, so took to the stage with Hisae Endo from The Coca-Cola Company in Japan. Here, we shared the story of our humble beginnings as a start-up and how we were eagerly adopted by Coca-Cola Japan.

This partnership was powerful, and it helped solve real problems for Coca-Cola. The Corporate Venture Capital Report discussed similar stumbling blocks in 2016, revealing that in just two quarters, corporations had directly invested $11.5 billion into start-ups. 

Hisae Endo, giving her first presentation in English, made sure to highlight that in Japan, it’s a true ‘innovate or die’ environment.

Trial and error is a must. All ideas, no matter how divergent, should be considered in full. After all, it takes 96 hours for a store owner to know if a product is a success; only 10% of the thousands of products introduced annually are still sold six months later.

ZappiStore and Coca-Cola Japan

ZappiStore’s Roxan Toll and, from Coca-Cola Japan, Hisae Endo

Coke’s leap of faith

At Coca-Cola Japan, problems lay in budgeting the creative process. Only 33 of over 80 ads were being tested yearly.

Luckily, it was at a previous ESOMAR Congress that Coca-Cola Japan had already met ZappiStore. It didn’t take them long to recognize that we provided quality insights at a fraction of the normal cost – and in hours, not weeks.

It seemed like a silver bullet for the team at Coke, but there was still one problem: at that time, ZappiStore only worked in a handful of English speaking markets.

Nevertheless, they invested hard cash (a small amount to Coke, but a significant revenue boost for a small start-up). More importantly, they dedicated their time and experience to collaborate closely with ZappiStore.

From start-up to smart-up

Coca-Cola worked alongside our small technology start-up of four, sharing equal commitment, equal risk, unfaltering transparency, and an open mind to help fund ZappiStore in foreign markets.

This helped us grow into the global company we are today, with eight offices and 135 employees in 38 markets with 20 languages.

What did Coca-Cola get out of it? Their reduced cost encouraged discovery, innovation, and the continuance of ad testing, creative rework, and retesting until success was guaranteed. They doubled their amount of ad testing without breaking the budget.

ESOMAR is where the heart is

It is at ESOMAR that great relationships are formed, primarily around a passion for research and technology.

As living proof, we were honored to be a part of their 70th birthday celebrations.

Strong Coke GIF

Learn more about ZappiStore.

A James Hodges

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A James Hodges

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