Happy MR Podcast Podcast Series

Ep. 526 – IA Annual 2022 Conference Series: John Ferreira, Chief Insights Officer at Finch Brands

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Jamin Brazil: Hey, everybody. We’re live at Insights Association in Philadelphia. There we go. I’ve only said that 100 times, but every time it’s like the first time. I am joined by John Ferreira. He is with Finch Brands. Tell us about Finch.


John Ferreira: Finch Brands is a brand consultancy, and it’s been around for about twenty years working with brands. Everything from startups to Fortune 50 and everything in between. We do work in the areas of Insights brand strategy and design as separate services or fully interconnected, and we can apply those in standalone project consulting in special projects, big projects at big moments, or we bring those same skills sets and combination of services into year-round relationships with clients in the form of Insights communities as well.


Jamin Brazil: You have your own technology stack for the Insights team or –


John Ferreira: Actually we took a team first approach. So five years ago we grew into the Insights community business by virtue of having repeat clients that just wanted to work with us again and again and again, because our team really understands brands and business and brand of business strategy at a very deep level, and they love the conversations they would have with us. And the more studies that we conducted with them, the deeper we understood their category, and it was like the snowball rolling down the hill. We could add more value, suggest studies, help to push the thinking further. So then the community methodology was one to just have the conversation never end week to week, year-round value-added conversations and as their needs evolve, we’re ready to help evolve with them, with the Insights communities to then go and chase the answers with creative research methodology. So that’s kind of our approach and our sweet spot. I used to be on the client side myself. I was at Campbell Soup for 11 years and others at Finch were as well. A lot of us have that as a common trait in our background, and we just a better way to build a better mousetrap here. So we actually start with the team, and we get the best third-party technology in the marketplace, combine that to kind of feature proof it and the analogy I like to make is we take race drivers, and we put them in race cars. So many firms are focused on the tech side of things, which makes all the sense in the world and a lot of great innovations happening there. But we start from more of the people side of things and the technology –


Jamin Brazil: You’re building the [CROSSTALK].


John Ferreira: – component evolves, and we’re ready to further evolve as needed to ensure our clients stay in the cutting edge.


Jamin Brazil: Wow, that’s pretty exciting. How long have you been doing it?


John Ferreira: Well I’ve been at Finch for nine years after being at Campbell Soup for over a decade. We’ve been in the community’s business about five years now and over the last four years we’ve grown over a thousand percent.


Jamin Brazil: That’s pretty good.


John Ferreira: It’s working well. The team is growing quickly. I’m bringing on talent from not just our local base here in Philadelphia, but now we have people all over the country because with the team first approach, it’s going to be a talent first approach, and we’ve kind of branched out to find the best people wherever.


Jamin Brazil: That’s great. Congratulations on your success.


John Ferreira: Thank you.


Jamin Brazil: It sounds like it’s well-earned as well.


John Ferreira: Yeah, we appreciate it. We’re humble but appreciative of all the opportunities that our clients bring us and try to create opportunity for them as well.


Jamin Brazil: I’m talking about trends tomorrow. What is a trend do you see in the consumer side space?


John Ferreira: I thought the Walmart conversation at the show was a particularly interesting one. The marrying and combining of behavioral data with rational self-reported data that people play back and being able to append the two, so they can work well together to enrich what you already know, but just open – in my opinion, all research is a little bit of a distorted reflection of reality, and the goal of research should be to get you as close to the truth as possible and either of those approaches under themselves can only get you so far. You can get very far, but not all the way. Combining the two gets you that incrementally just a little bit further. So that’s one thing that we do within Insights community is for our some our clients, we’ll actually append behavioral data within the community profiles to be able to create new areas of synthesis across those two inputs.


Jamin Brazil: It was a really interesting presentation by Walmart, and it was interesting how they monetized it so amazingly well like $150 million in a year, it’s pretty crazy. Pretty crazy.


John Ferreira: That is a pretty amazing thing. I thought it was interesting. I think we saw two sides of the philosophical coin between the democratization of access to research tools through the Walmart model or the Campbell soup discussion earlier today of that can be a little dangerous if you turn over the keys to people who don’t know how to drive. I think that model, the Walmart model, really requires heavy duty ongoing training and coaching on how to ask questions properly and the rules of the road, which it sounds like they’re doing and putting in place that’s pretty hard to implement.


Jamin Brazil: [CROSSTALK]. Yeah, and it’s really to implement. I’ve been saying for years just because you have a scalpel it doesn’t mean you should perform surgery, and I think that’s a – in a lot of ways we have the means, the role if Insights because tools do make it so easy. It’s perceived that anybody can launch a survey or anybody can conduct an interview via Zoom, but that’s not the magic. That’s the operational consideration, it’s not the actual science and skill that is involved in crafting a right survey instrument that minimizes participant bias and similarly of course on the discussion guide and mapping how to actually do a proper interview. It’s very complicated, and it takes years of practice.


John Ferreira: I think it probably comes back to that question of what’s going to get you closest to the truth in the ways that are going to add the most value to decision makers. And if you’re talking about big questions at big moments, high stakes decisions, I think you’d want to be pretty careful and choiceful about how you structure that approach, or if it’s a question of there’s a leader at mid-level, the organization that had no access to data before. And suddenly they have a tool that can get them a little closer to the truth than just making pure intuition and gut decisions, then I think there probably is some incremental value, so it might depend. But giving them that at least the high-level training that’s necessary I’ve seen. I think we’ve all seen plenty of bad research –


Jamin Brazil: Plenty of bad research.


John Ferreira: – over the years.


Jamin Brazil: Plenty of bad research. Hey, John, I appreciate you joining me on the show. If somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


John Ferreira: They can visit Finch Brands, finch, like the bird and brands like the word brands.com. Or our website for Insights Communities is finchsight.com, so finch like the bird and then word sight, S-I-G-H-T. And yeah, I would love to chat and learn more and help in any way we can. Everything we do is custom. It’s not cookie cutter, so it’s always exciting to help a client solve a unique problem.


Jamin Brazil: Listening, you know the drill. If you care to find his information, you will find it, as always, in the show notes. With that, John, thanks for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


John Ferreira: Thanks so much. Glad to be here.


Jamin Brazil: Everybody else, I hope you found value. Have a great day.