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How good does your office make you feel?

May 28th, 2015 by

Anna RobertsHonestly? Pretty good!

After attending a recent Wellbeing event I returned to the office feeling very enthusiastic about the whole topic and wondered how we could improve wellbeing in our office Read more

Fresh insights counter voter apathy

May 5th, 2015 by

ivonneHSometimes a short advert or article can really bring home the need to act in a way that no amount of lecturing or blanket coverage can.

While watching some re-runs of the Big Bang Theory this past weekend on E4 I noticed an interesting advert during the ad break… Read more

Innovation – let’s focus on the impact not the razzmatazz

April 6th, 2015 by

Kate AndersonWhen thinking about innovation often the emphasis is on finding the new, the never done before and especially focusing on technology. How innovative a development is, is often confused with how much noise is made about it, but by focusing on the razzmatazz surrounding a development rather than the impact that it has, we’re missing a trick. Read more

NEUROBLOG 1: How the brain’s need for fuel can affect the quality of responses

January 30th, 2015 by

Rachel CopeWhat we know about neuroscience might impact on how we design and deliver market and social research projects. My first ‘neuroblog’ considers the impact on decision making of the brain’s need for and use of glucose, and how we might use this relatively new learning when devising our research. Read more

Automatic pension enrolment – a step in the right direction?

January 23rd, 2015 by

Kate DownerBy 2018 all employers must introduce automatic pensions enrolment. In an article originally published in Society Central, Kate Downer shares the experiences of early adopters and found more employees saving for retirement.
Read more

Reflections on graduate work experience

January 22nd, 2015 by

Sam Willcocks I’ve recently completed work experience at the RS Consulting Group, a market and social research agency, and thought I’d share some reflections on my first stint working in the industry.  Read more

“Your opinion is important to us”? Really?

December 15th, 2014 by

Kate AndersonI’m getting very opinionated of late – everyone seems to want my opinion.   Leastways, that’s what they all say when they email me links to their customer satisfaction surveys. Read more

Financial education, financial education, financial education

December 11th, 2014 by

Peggy YoungI was delighted to read that the crackdown on payday lending continues with announcement of a plan to re-introduce the habit of savings at an early age. No matter how much we regulated the low end loans market, poor financial decision-making (the underlying cause) will only be reduced through improved financial education. Read more

You can lead a horse to water… engaging consumers in comms and literature development in a post-RDR landscape

December 2nd, 2014 by


Slides from a presentation by Kate Downer (Consensus Research) and Carly Thurgood (L&G) – delivered to the MRS Financial Services Conference on November 20th 2014

Kate and Carly outline the challenges of communicating key changes to financial consumers.  They explore how good research can encourage and enable people to do something out of the ordinary, Read more

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”, as the Active Investor Monitor proves – IFR Insights, Part 4, Dec 2014

December 1st, 2014 by

Lucian CampOne of the small but still significant pleasures of my life is the way that in my role as consultant to Consensus’s Investment Funds Reports, I’m able to add a “private” question of my own (or actually, on this occasion, two private questions) to each wave of the research. Read more

Consensus finalists in FSF Awards for Marketing Effectiveness

November 11th, 2014 by

FSF logoTuesday 18th November sees the Financial Services Forum Annual Members Dinner at the Guildhall in central London, where the winners of the FSF awards for Marketing Effectiveness will be announced.  This year we’ve been nominated (alongside partners SwissRe) in the Customer Loyalty and Retention category, for our work on their thought leading 2014 Insurance Report Connecting Generations – Protecting Generations. Read more

Consensus finalists for best financial services research at MRS awards 2014

October 13th, 2014 by

Finalist_FinancialServicesResearchFantastic news! Again! We’ve been shortlisted for best financial services research at the MRS Awards 2014 for our work with Swiss Re on Connecting Generations – Protecting Generations, the industry-leading 2013 UK Insurance Report.  This is brilliant news because it is recognition from our peers the research industry.  It complements Read more

“Active Evil is better than Passive Good” opined William Blake. But that was then… – IFS Insights, Part 3, Sep 2014

September 22nd, 2014 by

LucianCAs predicted, the RDR has given a very substantial boost to sales of passive funds via intermediaries. Frankly, you can choose your own reason (or reasons) for this. Cynics will highlight the levelling of the remuneration playing-field, or possibly the desire of some advisers to Read more

Why work experience before Uni is a great opportunity

September 9th, 2014 by

Freddie BorgWho am I?

My name is Freddie. I’m 17 and going into my final year of school, and I have to start applying to university soon. After a few long trips to university open days, I’ve decided that I want to study industrial economics Read more

Where’s your focus in your focus group?

August 29th, 2014 by

Fiona Pannell Focus Groups, once the mainstay of the creative development process, have come under fire in recent years. Some companies, such as Yahoo, have already outlawed them on the basis that the correlation between stated intent and actual behaviour is usually low.

Read more

TSB banking on Social success

August 21st, 2014 by

guyG_smallI recently participated in a discussion on the role of social media in financial services.  It’s a very conservative sector as well as one that’s heavily regulated and for that reason it often thinks it shouldn’t ‘do’ social media; either because it’s too techy or too risky. Read more

Investment fund managers, don’t just preach to the converted – IFS Insights, Part 2, July 2014

July 23rd, 2014 by

LucianCInsofar as I know anything much about the retail funds marketplace, a lot of it comes from a single source – Consensus Research’s legendary Investment Funds Survey, a syndicated study which has been running for well over 25 years now. Read more

A visualisation that ticks all the boxes

July 16th, 2014 by

The FT Data Blog published a visualisation of EU unemployment that is a real pleasure. There are a number of things I really like about this blog: Read more

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”, remarked the queen – IFS Insights, Part 1, June 2014

June 3rd, 2014 by

Lucian CampWe live in an era in which organisations of all kinds involved with long-term savings – government, employers, financial services providers – are keen to pass investment risks of almost all kinds on to individual consumers. Read more

Physical fitness, for a healthy body and mind

May 15th, 2014 by

Peggy YoungFollowing the theme of Ivonne’s excellent blog about the benefits of knitting  on mental health I would like to put the case for exercise as well.  I can often leave work feeling very jaded and mentally tired. I find myself unable to leave my work ’problems’ behind Read more

Thoughts on my Apprenticeship

April 23rd, 2014 by

Amy GrewcockHi, my name’s Amy and I’m the first Apprentice here at RS Consulting. You’ve probably heard of apprenticeships, they’re the new, innovative scheme to help young people combining practical training in a job with study, usually as an alternative to university. Read more


March 20th, 2014 by

Andrew Wood rec PortraitAll my dreams have come true. For once I don’t need to begin a blog by explaining the details of the most radical changes to pensions in years, which were announced in yesterday’s budget.

This story isn’t hidden in the depths of the Money pages. Everyone’s talking about it! Read more

The housing crisis and the pensions crisis – joined at the hip?

March 14th, 2014 by

louiseAThe UK has recently embarked on the most radical reform of pensions in recent memory, with all employers now obliged to automatically enrol most of their employees into a workplace pension.  Read more

Automatic enrolment: Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

March 12th, 2014 by

Kate Downer I’ve just re-read the chapter of Nudge called ‘Save more tomorrow,’ in which the authors consider ‘how private and public institutions might nudge people in directions that will make them a bit wealthier and more secure.’ Now, I reckon most of us are up for more wealth and more security. And as luck would have it, our latest report for DWP which looks at peoples’ experiences of automatic enrolment Read more

Failure is an important part of success

March 10th, 2014 by

brianKIt was very refreshing to hear Conny Kalcher, VP Marketing and Consumer Experiences of LEGO, talk at a recent Big Questions Live show about their approach to innovation and driving customer satisfaction. She spoke candidly about failures at LEGO, how they learnt from those, quickly adapted and put in place alternative plans. Read more

If there’s a time for premium-rate lines, now’s not it

February 21st, 2014 by

Peggy YoungThere’s no doubt that the insurance industry is up against it at the moment. The appalling condition that people in certain parts of the country are currently experiencing as a result of the floods is heart breaking to watch on TV, and to read about.  There but for the grace of God………   Read more

When customers give feedback… listen

February 6th, 2014 by

peggyYWe’d all like to think we offer an excellent standard of customer service – some of us are more realistic about this than others!  And surely if it really matters we’d want to check this out, scientifically. Any company with a high profile customer-facing identity should be commissioning surveys on a regular basis, to investigate how they are regarded.  Read more

A bad reputation need not drive business away

January 14th, 2014 by

elkeN2byKen_smallThe link between reputation and business success is far more complex than you would imagine. Counter-intuitively, what appears catastrophic publicity in the news may impact on attracting new customers, but not immediately convert to diminishing loyalty. Read more

Don’t gamble with your retirement

December 17th, 2013 by

Andrew Wood rec PortraitI was interested to see the reaction to last week’s report by the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP), looking at the current state of the annuities market.

After a year-long study, the FSCP reported that the retirement income people get when buying an annuity can be “akin to a lottery”.  Read more

Still no way out for payday loan ‘customers’

December 13th, 2013 by

peggyYThe dreadful practices of the payday lenders charging astronomical interest rates may finally be curtailed – or at least be controlled – by the new Banking Reform Bill, which is going through Parliament at the moment. Read more

Will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four? Probably not

December 5th, 2013 by

louiseAThe government has announced today that the State Pension age will now be determined by a new formula linked to life expectancy: having already announced that it will go up to 66 by 2020 and to 67 by 2028, we now know it will be 68 by the mid-2030s. Read more

Hello, is it SME you’re looking for?

November 25th, 2013 by

Kate Anderson

I got this letter from O2 the other day and I must admit it delighted me but for all the wrong reasons.  From opening salutation through to sign-off and all the text in between this really is an example of how not to do it. Read more

Financial education and the poverty trap

November 22nd, 2013 by

amyCAs I drove through the City of London last week I listened to the news on the radio announcing 28% of adults and 40% of children in London are living in poverty (rising to over 50% in certain inner London boroughs). Though obviously aware of inequalities in the UK and across the capital it always comes as a shock to hear it put so starkly. Read more

FCA looking to regulate payday loan rollovers. Good news

October 8th, 2013 by

peggyYSome good news at last on payday loans.  I was delighted to read about the FCA’s plans to ‘consider’ capping charges on payday loans when it takes over regulation of consumer credit firms in April next year. Read more

The future – bright or bleak, it will be silver

September 27th, 2013 by

kateDSomeone (it seems likely that it was my yoga teacher, since I’ve tracked what I’m about to say down to Deepak Chopra) told me recently that we have approximately 60,000 thoughts in a day. Hurray! Thoughts! Unfortunately, 95% of them are the same thoughts we had yesterday. Read more

Financial education finally on the school curriculum – v.good

September 24th, 2013 by

peggyYI heard some really good news a few days ago; for the first time financial education for secondary school pupils in English schools has been confirmed.  From September 2014 it will become part of the national curriculum – Read more

Barely scratching the surface

August 2nd, 2013 by

Since the election of the current Government there has been lots of heat and noise about the unsustainable bill for public pensions.  The tone of debate, in the media at least, has long since become impervious to attempts to introduce reality Read more

Credit where credit’s due

July 30th, 2013 by

Peggy YoungThe recent announcement that the Church of England was planning to force payday loan companies, such as Wonga, ‘out of business’ through the expansion of credit unions was one that I truly welcomed. Read more

I always take my financial advice from an ex-bankrupt!

May 9th, 2013 by

The recent news that the advertising standards authority has ruled against a television advert running earlier this year featuring Kerry Katona  opens a new front in the controversy surrounding so called “payday loans”. Read more

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blew

May 2nd, 2013 by

It’s been another bad week for economic forecasting in the United Kingdom as the latest tranche of GDP figures include a series of revisions dating back over most of 2012.  As a result of these corrections the “double dip recession” which dominated press coverage a year ago has now almost been revised away.
Read more

The links between financial health and physical health

March 15th, 2013 by

On a recent commute, I read with interest that households are now more worried about the rising cost of living than they are about their health.  According to data from uSwitch released in the build-up to the budget next week, more than half of households (55%) said that their biggest concern Read more

Conference speaking do’s and don’t’s: a plea from the floor

February 20th, 2013 by

Kate DownerConference speakers! Loads of you have talked to me in the last 12 months. And I have (mostly) listened. I’ve been intrigued and inspired by what some of you, elsewhere in research-land, are doing. I’ve enjoyed talking further with many of you afterwards in the queue for coffee. Read more

Data visualisation – time to get back to basics?

February 11th, 2013 by

Data visualisation is, quite rightly, a hot topic at the moment for those of us involved in quantitative research. However, in the drive to make our visual presentations more interesting and engaging are we in danger of forgetting the key purpose – to communicate clearly the story the numbers are telling. Read more

Squeezy the pension python

January 31st, 2013 by

In many Western economies the term “pensions crisis” has entered popular discourse, attributed to a variety of causes including an ageing population, under-funding, apathy towards saving on the part of the public, and poor financial returns. Read more

Keeping tabs on payday loans

January 24th, 2013 by

There has been a huge amount of coverage in both industry and general press in recent months about payday loans. Thankfully some of the poorer practices of these lenders have finally come under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.  Read more

Calculating the cost of success

December 21st, 2012 by

Andy GI noticed earlier in the week that the NHS have published their Pensions Scheme contributions calculator for 2013-2014. Whilst it wasn’t quite what I expected when I started to play around with it (I thought it was going to be one of those “if we assume x, y and z, then if you continue to make your current pension contributions you’ll be living on nothing for 20 to 25 years” types of model) it did start me thinking. Read more

We need to talk about…. income protection

December 19th, 2012 by

Never a week goes by without another report in the insurance press informing the reader that people are living, economically, very close to the edge.  Spending on protection insurance is not, unsurprisingly, regarded as high priority and yet the irony of it all, of course, is that the vulnerable customer would benefit from this type of cover at the present time. Read more

Gender Directive update! Insurance equality comes at a premium

November 26th, 2012 by

The implementation of the Gender Directive (21st December) beckons and the amount of industry press coverage continues to increase. Sadly very little of it is positive reporting – not from my perspective anyway! Read more

Household financial decision making – let’s talk!

November 12th, 2012 by

Kate DownerThe thing about decisions – the ones that matter – is it’s often hard to say when or how you made them. Do you remember the moment you chose whether to do A-level Economics? Read more

The cost of stress in the workplace

November 7th, 2012 by

Peggy YoungIn case you weren’t aware, the 7th November was National Stress Awareness Day.  You could be forgiven for not knowing this but for those of you who are involved with employee benefits and absence management I’m sure you are well versed in the impact of stress in the workplace.  Read more

Car insurance set to join the battle of the sexes

October 11th, 2012 by

Peggy YoungThe time is fast approaching when insurance pricing will become gender-neutral – 21st December in fact. There was a lot of press coverage when the EU ruling was first announced about how female drivers would be the ones to suffer as their premiums have traditionally been based on actuarial fact i.e. we have less accidents! Read more

UK press in level-headed pensions coverage shocker

October 2nd, 2012 by

If you’re anything like me (and I know you are), this year you will have got married, bought your first house, and been counting down to the introduction of Automatic Enrolment on October 1st. Read more

Google enters the insurance aggregator market – Simples

September 14th, 2012 by

Peggy YoungWe all know how successful price comparison sites have become with consumers in recent years. You can search for the best place to source a fridge freezer, to get the cheapest dual fuel utility package and even the best deal for a holiday or flight. But I think where it has had the greatest impact is with financial services products. Read more

Must the employee benefits conversation be Shameless?

September 11th, 2012 by

Kate DownerAd agency iris have come over all controversial this week, after the release of its staff benefits book, ‘iris on Benefits.’ The booklet features members of the agency dressed in what Goldie Lookin’ Chain (ahhhh … remember them?)  would term ‘leisurewear’– knock-off Burberry for the boys, pyjamas for the girls. Read more

It’s not who you are, it’s how you drive – the rise and rise of telematics

August 13th, 2012 by

In recent months I’ve taken a look at the pros and cons associated with the use of telematics in the brave new world of motor insurance pricing.  Originally regarded as part of the solution to the introduction of gender pricing at the end of this year it has now truly taken off.   Read more

When things go wrong…do the right thing!

July 31st, 2012 by

I recently travelled by Eurostar to a client meeting in Paris. On emerging from the Channel Tunnel in France we were informed that we would have to swap trains in Lille due of a technical fault with the train, meaning we would be over an hour late into Paris.  Read more

Defying the laws of mathematics

July 2nd, 2012 by

I’ve always been a strong proponent of cross fertilisation: What can we learn from those around us? What can we learn from parallel markets, parallel disciplines? As researchers you can’t help but be a bit nosey! Read more

The brave new world of Conduct Risk

June 21st, 2012 by

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing”, or so said Warren Buffett, and I for one don’t intend to argue……

Nor it seems, does the FSA. From the chrysalis of TCF emerges the bright and beautiful creature that is Conduct Risk. But what actually is Conduct Risk and is it any clearer than TCF? Read more

Cupcakes and vegetables – changing customer ideals

June 14th, 2012 by

Kate DownerWhen things at work are tough and you day-dream about your alternative career, what are you doing in it? In my (rose-tinted, ultra-sentimental) version, I run a deli selling cupcakes and artisan goat’s cheese on the high street in Earlsfield. Read more

Attack of the killer journalists from hell

May 9th, 2012 by

When we write research publications for Government clients, the golden rule we operate by is “Assume that any sentence you write can be taken out of context by the Daily Mail and used as a headline”.  That way, you can avoid any, er, ‘unintended political consequences’. Read more

Anyone for a prawn sandwich?

May 2nd, 2012 by

Now don’t hold it against me, but I’m a lifetime follower of Amlin Cup holders (for the next few weeks anyway) Harlequins rugby club. My season ticket allows me to sit in the LV= stand for every game at The Stoop in the Aviva Premiership, as well as a good deal of other matches. Read more

Smart phones, dumb drivers

May 1st, 2012 by

Front page news in the Metro free sheet this morning – “Car insurers blacklisting text drivers”.   Am I surprised at this?  Why is this ‘news’ and how does it qualify as front page news? Read more

New products – old markets

April 25th, 2012 by

The financial services industry is not traditionally known for its ability to innovate. There haven’t been any truly new product ideas for many years.  It’s often argued that the increasing constraints imposed by successive waves of regulation have restricted what can be done, Read more

5 ways to funk up your co-creation

April 23rd, 2012 by

Victoria BoelmanOne of the great pleasures in the life of a researcher is having the opportunity to be involved in the creation and development of new products and services – from those first sparks of ideas, when those first little seeds are germinated right through to the detail of packaging, pricing or communications.  Read more

Navel gazing into the future

April 16th, 2012 by

Often organisations find it extremely difficult to see themselves clearly, to take stock of their weaknesses as well as their strengths. Whilst we are happy to congratulate ourselves on a business win, successful project delivery or a bumper year, true introspection at a company level can be a struggle.  Read more

FCA talking tough – but will the industry act?

March 28th, 2012 by

Special guest blogger and friend of Consensus Lucian Camp welcomes Martin Wheatley, the FCA and anything that encourages good practice in financial services marketing. Read more

MRS 2012 Conference highlights

March 23rd, 2012 by

In between Magnus Lindkvist stripping down to a morph suit, and talks of arousal and stalking I think the 2-day MRS conference gave a refreshing perspective on our industry and what we do for our clients. As a young(ish) researcher, it’s great to see industry leaders opening up to non-traditional and diverse research methods rather than shying away. Read more

Insuring equality

March 16th, 2012 by

Gender pricing is a hot topic in the insurance industry at the moment following the European Court of Justice ruling back in March last year, which stated that gender can no longer be used as a factor in pricing with effect from 21 December 2012. Read more

Pensions: the sharp end of the knife

March 9th, 2012 by

Kate Downer

Here are 3 things that I am bored of seeing in online newsletters.

1. Anything to do with the countdown to RDR/ use of the ‘ticking clock’ metaphor ‘time bomb’ metaphor, etc. Read more

Freedom or Failure?

February 23rd, 2012 by

In his recent initial public offering letter (IPO) Mark Zuckerberg provided us with two interesting insights into the Facebook philosophy – “Done is better than perfect” and “Move fast and break things.” For me these two statements represent a more general shift in how software is developed and rolled out. Read more

Innovation through iteration and triangulation

February 15th, 2012 by

I blogged a few months ago about the differences between academic and real-world research.  I referred indirectly to two pretty textbook-ish terms in that blog: iteration and triangulation. Read more

The Hester Effect

February 13th, 2012 by

Bankers and company executives have been front of mind recently, especially the embattled Chief Executive at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Stephen Hester, whose bonus rejection is now global news. Read more

e-luminate™ – a developer’s perspective

February 2nd, 2012 by

It goes without saying that the technological paradigm shifts of the last 30 years have had, and continue to have, a massive impact on the way we live our lives.  No part of our day to day existence remains untouched by the digital revolution.  Read more

Cheggers versus the mighty meerkats

January 26th, 2012 by

Now there’s a bout I thought I’d never witness! Read more

All stations to bank

January 20th, 2012 by

From March Londoners will have a new way to pay for travel.  If you’re lucky enough to have a contactless bank card you will be able to use it when travelling by bus. Read more

UK migration policy is affecting businesses

November 15th, 2011 by

Consensus was commissioned by the City of London Corporation to assess the impact of the migration limits on a representative section of London businesses. The UK Government introduced a limit on the numbers of skilled non-EU/non-EEA workers who can apply for work permits in the UK in April 2011. Read more

Is cash still king?

October 18th, 2011 by

Walking through Victoria station recently, I have seen a number of different charities collecting donations using ‘buckets’. Given the recent announcement from the government of an Innovation in Giving Fund whereby there will be £10 million available to use technology to encourage giving I wonder how the way in which we donate to charities will develop over the next couple of years. Read more

Working on the re-write …

October 7th, 2011 by

… a splendid song from Paul Simon’s latest album, ‘So beautiful or so what’, that could have been penned for Mr Cameron’s speech-writer.

Yes, the UK is alarmingly in debt. And I mean in personal debt, at a level which would make many of our European neighbours run for cover. Read more

Size matters

September 27th, 2011 by

Of course it depends on how you look at it, but, for me, one of the very few upsides to the financial doom and gloom these days is that business decisions are being placed under ever more scrutiny – gone are the days when companies can base their strategies on hunches and whims, gone are the days of commissioning research for research’s sake. Read more

Big Brother is watching us ……

September 21st, 2011 by

I attended a very interesting meeting held by the Financial Service Forum a couple of weeks ago and I saw the future of motor insurance. Whether you like it, or indeed agree with it, the chances are in 10 years time an awful lot of us will be driving around with a ‘black box’ concealed in our car. Read more

Half-way up the ivory tower

September 14th, 2011 by

Because I have a lot of time on my hands (joke), I’ve spent two and a half years of weekends studying towards an MSc in research methods. I’m hardly the first person to draw attention to the different worlds that academic and commercial researchers inhabit. But since I live in both of them, here’s how I’d summarise the main differences:
Read more

The virtues of virtual ethnography

June 27th, 2011 by

In recent years, many market researchers have espoused the value of virtual ethnography. Not only is it very useful for gaining a deeper understanding of the attitudes and opinions that drive consumers’ decisions; it’s also an easy and less intrusive way of doing so, compared to other types of ethnographical research. Read more

Silver vs. grey pound

June 21st, 2011 by

Kate Downer and I attended a great Critical Eye event last Tuesday, Megatrends: What the Silver Economy means for your business.  As the title of the event denotes, the papers focused on the business opportunity that the 50+ represent versus ageing society and its impact for social care and pensions.  Read more

Financial advice: Is the internet now a match for the intermediaries?

June 14th, 2011 by

There’s been a lot of hype in the press this week about the new financial health-check launched by the Money Advice Service. By answering a few multiple choice questions about your financial attitudes and behaviour, you receive a personalised action plan with ‘simple steps you can take now’ and ‘clear goals you can work towards’ to improve your financial situation. Read more

It’s a U not a V nor a W

June 13th, 2011 by

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of listening to Dennis Turner, Chief Economist of HSBC, speaking on the state of the UK economy. He’s a very inspiring speaker indeed, being erudite and everyman simultaneously with an exceptional ability to make macro economics accessible to the great unwashed. Read more

The rise and rise of m-commerce

May 31st, 2011 by

I went to the InternetWorld exhibition the other day, where I attended a couple of seminars on the future of payments and mobile commerce. Again it was emphasized that consumers are increasingly using multiple channels for commercial reasons and expect merchants to keep up with their demands. Read more

Fancy a coffee?

May 27th, 2011 by

We all know that trust is an issue in the financial services industry at the moment. In an attempt to set themselves aside from the more traditional provider brands Virgin Money is to open coffee lounges in four locations – London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Norwich – where customers can buy drinks and purchase Virgin Money products. They do stress, however, that the lounges are not designed as bank branches with selling in mind. Read more

Mapping the messages that matter

May 17th, 2011 by

A story on Brand Republic this month makes very interesting reading – more than four-fifths of those buying personal technology products, like phones and cameras, visit websites to research what to buy and where to buy it from. This is an immense change compared with three or four years ago when on-line research was undertaken by only a minority of customers. Read more

PFE – the route out of the UK’s debt crisis?

May 13th, 2011 by

Maybe you saw the Nat West supplement in the Guardian on Tuesday which focused on the need for Personal Finance Education PFE to raise the level of UK financial capability. It’s well worth a read. Read more

Disponible en español

May 11th, 2011 by

If you ever watch US cable TV you will have seen that message pop up at the start of a programme, but how many of us have paused to reflect on whether we can say the same about the market research we’re working on? Read more

British banks doing good deeds and keeping it to themselves!

May 6th, 2011 by

The 2010 British Social Attitudes study reported that approximately 1/5 of those surveyed thought that banks were run well; this was down from 9/10 in 1983. This significant decline in public perception is something the banking community need to address. Read more

Just how representative is nationally representative?

April 27th, 2011 by

A regular party piece at industry conferences for the last few years has been one or other of the major web panel providers demonstrating that their sample is consistent with equivalent samples drawn using traditional (telephone or face-to-face) methods. Read more

Happy retirement?

April 15th, 2011 by

Yes, sure… but only for the baby-boomer generation. The rest of us are in for a bumpy, long and expensive ride. As The Economist reported last week, the world’s richest countries are in need of radical reforms, with no obvious example to follow. The UK is about to embark on its own version of the solution, and so the question on everyone’s lips is: will UK’s pension reforms fix the problem? Read more

Shopping for insight

April 4th, 2011 by

A love of technology, innate inquisitiveness, higher levels of disposable income and shopping malls should signal great opportunities in India. Recently I returned from a sabbatical in India and for a few days assimilated myself into a middle-class Indian lifestyle while visiting my extended family. Read more

Serious Games

March 17th, 2011 by

Market researchers often struggle to design research tools that truly inspire and engage their respondents. I myself profess that in my pre-MR life, I would click through online surveys absent-mindedly, going through the motions of answering everything required of me but investing little thought in the process. Read more

Re-building trust

March 3rd, 2011 by

How quickly do you think you can sum up the last ten years and the next ten years of the financial services industry? Try 60 seconds!

Read more

Are Sheilas’ Wheels in danger of dropping off?

March 2nd, 2011 by

As I feared, the European Court of Justice has ruled that gender based pricing insurance will be illegal by December 2012. The fact remains though that male drivers under 21 are twice as likely to have an accident than a female under 21.

Read more

Women will always be better drivers…

February 28th, 2011 by

On 1st March a ruling from the European Court of Justice will be made that could result in us safer female drivers being placed on an even footing with our less considerate male counterparts.

Read more

NFC – will customer engagement be the winner?

February 17th, 2011 by

Following on from my blog of last week, this week has seen some interesting developments for contactless payments in the UK. Blackberry is getting ready to develop near field communications (NFC) technology in time for the 2012 Olympics, which would enable its mobile phone users to make contactless payments. Read more

Will we ever mind the gap?

February 7th, 2011 by

I’ve been watching the roll-out of the new Aviva ‘life campaign’ with more interest than any for a while. They’ve adopted a hard-hitting, heart-rending approach – not as brutal as such campaigns as the ‘Don’t drink and drive’ or ‘Talk to Frank’ ads, but the point is well and truly made all the same. Read more

No Contact?

February 1st, 2011 by

I listened with interest to the Futures Company at the Financial Services Forum when they told us the new ‘Millennium Generation’ (18 – 31 yr olds) expect a seamless transition between communication channels. The Millenium Generation expect access to service at their convenience any time, any place, anywhere and seem to be more optimistic and trustful of financial service suppliers. Read more

2012 pension reform – get ready!!

January 24th, 2011 by

Here at Consensus, we were not surprised by the recommendations made in the recently published Making Automatic Enrolment Work review. Our public policy team has been investigating the pensions industry and the likely impact of the upcoming pension reforms for a few years now. We have been eagerly expecting the publication of the review, not just because we are obsessively curious by nature, but also because the years we have spent talking to employers, providers and intermediaries have brought the pension issue close to our hearts. Read more

What can today’s qual researcher learn from Gordon Ramsay and a Shark?

January 24th, 2011 by

Did you see Gordon Ramsay: Shark Bait last week? It was part of Channel 4′s Big Fish Fight Season in which Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Ramsay highlight the issue of over-fishing and campaign to end the outrageous fish discards which result from the EU Common Fisheries Policy. If you didn’t, then feel free to click here to view the show on 4OD. Read more

Digging for meaningful answers in a minefield of questions

November 24th, 2010 by

When the qualitative team suggested that I should blog about my first impressions of qualitative research, my initial thought was genuinely, “Maybe I can interview some colleagues about their early experiences.” Yes, I have been immersed in the culture of qual for only six weeks now and my standard solution to life’s many challenges is already to conduct a study of sorts, to ask more questions. Read more

To crowdsource or not to crowdsource?

October 18th, 2010 by

So Gap Inc has withdrawn a new logo just one week after its launch, reverting to its 20-year old “blue box” logo. And the reason for this: “an outpouring of comments from customers and the online community in support of the iconic blue box logo”. Read more

A matter of trust?

October 4th, 2010 by

One of the advantages of being a number-crunching researcher is revealing, first-hand, changes in people’s habits and behaviour, and how businesses will need to change to keep up with these trends. Read more

Market research, It’s a piece of cake

September 28th, 2010 by

Friday was one of my favourite days of the year as we held our annual coffee morning on behalf of the brilliant Macmillan Cancer Support charity. On this day our employees cast their questionnaires, reports and tables to one side and take up their spatulas, bowls and icing bags to create a magnificent feast for us all. Home-made treats from all over the world, reflecting the wonderfully eclectic backgrounds of the staff we employ, fill the boardroom table. Read more

Social media monitoring

September 27th, 2010 by

Social media monitoring sites – who are they, what do they offer and are they worth the cash? Read more

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses

September 20th, 2010 by

On Friday we supported our much loved client, Macmillan Cancer Support, by holding a coffee morning in the office. The emphasis for us is always more on the cake than the coffee and true to form, the event metamorphosised into a bake-off with the table groaning under a dozen different and all delicious offerings. Read more

It ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it

September 11th, 2010 by

Well I never… did you see the recent headline that 70% of people ‘believe retirement as we know it is over’? “Hooray!” thought I, “no longer is the British public burying its collective head in the sand” (not that we had much chance to hit the beaches anyway this ‘summer’) but is finally facing up to the ‘unpleasant reality’ that Andrew blogged about below. Read more

Talking ’bout my generation

August 7th, 2010 by

We twenty-somethings are reputed to be lifestyle spenders with high disposable income, and low financial commitment. Generation Y lacks personal finance skills and more than 60% of young people don’t plan financially. Read more

How to solve the pensions crisis? Try looking abroad…

July 30th, 2010 by

It’s an unpleasant reality but with fewer and fewer people of working age supporting each pensioner, without fundamental reform, our pension system simply won’t cope. We’re going to have to work later in life, hence this week’s news that the UK Government will abolish the mandatory retirement age from 2011. No longer will employers be allowed to dismiss staff just because they’ve reached the age of 65. Read more

There is no such thing as bad publicity

June 17th, 2010 by

Or so said Brendan Behan. But how true is this oft-cited, abridged remark?

Let me explain where I’m coming from. For my sins, I’m a Harlequins rugby fan. LV=, a long-term client of Consensus, is a key sponsor of Quins, a fact that gives me a bit of a buzz in a sad, anorakky kind of way. Read more

I say, I say, I say … when is a bank not a bank?

June 3rd, 2010 by

Hardly the type of humour we associate with Vicky Pollard or Emily Howard and Florence from Little Britain. But it is still the thought that strikes me every time I see the ‘ladies’ advertising Nationwide on TV or catch a picture of the equally lady-like Vicky in a branch window. Read more

Apply yourself

April 29th, 2010 by

A good friend of mine – in fact a retired Doctor of Psychology who frankly should know better – is a self-confessed Aleksandr the Meerkat groupee. So when I showed her my Simples iPhone app, complete with Sergei Bloopers, she was suitably impressed. Read more

“It’s not fair Daddy!”

March 23rd, 2010 by

The words yelled at me by my 4 year old daughter last weekend when she wasn’t allowed an unfeasibly large slice of chocolate cake right before tea. Tempted as I was to yell back with the cheap shot “well, life isn’t fair!”, it got me thinking. Read more

Room To Roam

March 8th, 2010 by

Late last year, to celebrate the 50th wave of our Investment Funds Syndicate, we conducted a piece of qual research among some of the most revered thinkers in the funds industry. Our brief was simple – ‘what’s going to happen now then’? Read more

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