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Export Award Win For Focus Research Ltd

Creating A Stand Out Brand - Export Award Win For Focus Research Ltd

Auckland, May 1, 2003 -- Focus Research Ltd, an Auckland company whose market research tool NeedScope is being used by global marketers to position brands likes Johnnie Walker and LEGO, has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award.

(Note to editors: Media are invited to attend the presentation of the Trade New Zealand Export Award to Focus Research Ltd by Trade New Zealand acting CEO Rod MacKenzie, on Thursday May 1 at 4pm, 16-18 Crummer Road, Ponsonby, Auckland.)

The company was formed in 1994 by directors Roz Calder and Michael Cook as a strategic market research consultancy targeting bluechip New Zealand companies. Responding to the increasing globalisation of branding and advertising, the pair developed NeedScope, a tool which understands and measures consumer needs and brand image and which can be applied in any country.

Roz Calder says Focus Research’s export earnings have increased significantly since 1999 when it entered into a global licensing agreement for NeedScope with TNS, a UK-based market research company with more than 80 offices around the world and an annual turnover that Ms Calder says measures in the billions.

“At that time TNS was undertaking a huge acquisition process to turn themselves into a major international research company so that if a client wanted to do a research study around the world they could respond. They saw a place for NeedScope within their portfolio of global research products and we saw an opportunity to licence NeedScope to a significant international player.

“Entering into the licencing agreement was very exciting, giving us access to a worldwide distribution network virtually overnight. The result was immediate and substantial export growth and that growth has continued at 25-30% per year.”

Ms Calder says TNS sales of NeedScope are now worth about $18-$20 million annually. Licence fees from those sales make up about half Focus Research’s export earnings, with the other half from direct consultancy work.

She says since licencing NeedScope globally it has been used as a brand-positioning tool by marketers in 50 countries. “Many world class marketers are recognising the value of NeedScope, including Diageo, the world’s largest alcohol manufacturer whose brand portfolio includes Johnnie Walker, Guinness and Smirnoff. Other high profile companies using the system include LEGO, Nestle, Unilever and Fonterra.”

Michael Cook describes NeedScope as a unique market research tool that uses a psychological model and validated research methods to reveal the underlying emotional needs of consumers. Tailor-designed software helps analyse the results.

“The reality of what drives brand choice is not at the functional and obvious level like price or taste, but emotional needs at a deeper psychological level.

“NeedScope is built on the principle of universal human needs, which means it can be successfully applied across all countries. This allows large global organisations to build brand strategies in any country in the world using a consistent framework. This is a major point of difference over competing research approaches.”

Mr Cook says companies use NeedScope to analyse and enhance all elements of their marketing mix – packaging, advertising, distribution, promotions.

“The aim is to increase sales of that particular brand by strengthening loyalty to the brand so the consumer won’t be swayed by a competitor offering a new or cheaper product or service.”

Trade New Zealand Account Manager Alex Mathew congratulated Focus Research on its Export Award.

“The company’s export strategy of licencing NeedScope to a global market research firm TNS has provided rapid access to the global marketplace while allowing the company to remain independent and New Zealand-owned.

“This partnership has been very successful, with the power of NeedScope demonstrated by its client list over the years.” Roz Calder says NeedScope is starting to become a significant market research tool worldwide.

“The biggest leap forward in growth for our company comes from TNS using NeedScope to win global accounts – when a client uses the tool as Diageo does, not for one-off projects but adopts it as their whole way of viewing consumers, segmenting markets and development brand strategies.

“We are working strategically with TNS to target companies who are making a major commitment to researching their consumers and who will benefit from a global market research system.”

Employing 23 staff in its Ponsonby office, Ms Calder says most are market researchers working with leading New Zealand marketers. While international clients will drive the growth of the business, he says the New Zealand component remains a very important part of the business.

"Focus Research remains a hothouse for NeedScope development in response to the demands of our New Zealand clients. And at the same time exposure to the diversity of international markets ensures that innovations made overseas can be brought back to New Zealand for the ongoing benefit of our clients at home."

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