10 Attempts to Rebrand Market Research

In market research we live day to day in the world of branding. Yet we do not always apply to ourselves the very lessons we help our clients understand.

Sometimes I wonder about the brand “market research.”  When we call ourselves “market researchers,” what does that mean to our clients (both internal and external)? Are we truly conveying the value we provide?

Look at this long term downward trend of Google searches on the term “market research” (courtesy of Andrew Jeavons).

Is it time for a rebranding campaign for market research?

What follows is my semi-serious attempt to generate some possible alternate ways of referring to ourselves.

One challenge I found in this exercise was that many names I thought of highlighted just a portion of what we do. It is possible, I wonder, to conceive of a term that powerfully communicates our value?

Here, in no particular order, are 10 possible replacements for the term “market researcher.”

  1. Data Intepreter
  2. Customer Knowledge Officer
  3. Consumer Oracle
  4. Data Knowledge Officer
  5. Insightologist
  6. Insight Scientist
  7. Customer Intrepreter
  8. Data Scientist
  9. Customer Voice Specialist
  10. Data Jockey

What do you think?

About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.


  1. Asher Hunter says:
  2. Mcerneant says:

    Customer Knowledge Officer is pretty slick!

  3. Adre Schreuder says:

    What about Insight Facilitator?

  4. I like Insight Scientist!

  5. People still unaware of many technical terms used in the industry. I believe it will be very hard to brand these terms instead of Market Researcher. However, we can’t stop this kind of branding over the time period.

    Now, I remember one of the old incident happened to my colleague. He was a charting designer at that time and when one of his relative asked about what job you do? He replied, “I am a charting designer and works in Powerpoint”. Then the relative asked “are you Electrician?” Afterwards, he never used the term Powerpoint in his conversation with others.

    Also, one of my other friend use “Data Mastero”.

  6. Interesting question but in my view it’s a small example of market researchers failing to understand branding (again!). Changing a name does not change a brand. A rebranding campaign for MR would need to deliver new solutions, new communications, possibly a new business model. We’d have fun doing it, and then we could call it what we liked! But just having a new set of words to describe what we do will in my view just make things worse. Having said that because I’m not totally po-faced and just to join in the game, what about ‘business intelligence’?

  7. Lucy – good points. In your mind, what would a true rebranding campaign for market research look like?

  8. I think we also need to pay attention to how the term would be perceived by consumers & those we would hope to have participate in our market research studies. I find a lot of skepticism and misunderstanding in the general public when they are approached for “market research”. Perhaps a rebrand which also took into account consumer perception could help with declining rates of participation.

  9. I’d start with the benefit to the audience of MR. Which means defining the audience first – is it the general public, is it the business world, or panellists, or government or marketing or what? If we want to change the perceptions of MR we need to understand our audience. Depending on the answer to that we’d build a good set of positive contributions MR has made to the audience; it saves money, it speeds up decisions, it entertains illuminates and informs, it creates jobs and businesses, there are a host more. Then we’d work out what was the most motivating (by doing research?). Then we’d have to trap every market researcher in the world in a room and tell them what it’s all about, and how they should deliver it. That would go down well. Maybe at Esomar? Then we’d create a communications campaign – name, visual identity, advertising, media relations, direct marketing – to support it. Should only take a few years and cost a few gazillions! Alternatively, we could do it business by business. Which is what I’ve been doing for 10 years. Feels like longer somehow….

  10. Mfinzel says:

    I’m not one for the off the wall titles or cutsey titles. I feel like the more fluff we add to our name, the more fluff people will think is involved in what we do. Also, I like it if people aren’t sure what my being a “market researcher” entails. When they ask, it gives me opportunity to introduce them to the field, describe its many benefits, and even plug my own company a bit.

    My company is full service, so qualitatively and quantitatively we deal with data, customer voices, insights, and so much more. Why limit ourselves with narrow titles?

  11. The other day I was followed on Twitter by a “New Media Alchemist And Data Forager”!

    This discussion comes up every few years, it seems to me, and probably says more about researchers’ collective lack of self-confidence than any real market need. The main issue I tend to have with the name is that the ‘laity’ confuse market researchers with marketers.

    One interesting branding trend – which has been going on for quite a while now – is smaller MR agencies giving themselves names which put them more in line with marketing or advertising shops: Truth, Sparkler, Join The Dots and so on. I suspect the bunch I work for fall into this category too. This is a Good Thing, I think – snappy names which give a fun, emotional picture of what we do, I’ll admit to a pang of envy when Virtual Surveys rebranded as Join The Dots.

  12. Tom, thanks for your perspective. You needn’t have too much name envy, though. You work for a company called BrainJuicer, for crying out loud! :)

  13. I think it’s important to take into account how real people talk. In Newcastle there is a metro system, which is called ‘the Metro’. Or at least, it’s called that by everybody except the people who run it, who insist on calling it ‘Metro’. So while a human being would say, ‘I’m taking the Metro to work’, the posters say ‘Take Metro to work!’

    Nobody talks like that. It is daft, and puts distance between THE Metro and the people it serves.

    Similarly, SPSS was rebranded for a while as ‘SPSS an IBM company’, to the point that their people literally rang you up and said ‘I’m calling from SPSSanIBMcompany’, which is just stoopid. Nobody talks like that.

    When you ring up a call centre and get through to a bored, indifferent, undertrained ‘customer service specialist’, do you feel reassured by their title? Or does it just sound silly?

    People might not have much idea what a market researcher is, but they have at least some idea. It’s a word that real people say.

    On the other hand, consumer oracle? Insight scientist? Consumer knowledge officer? The public won’t ever call you by these names. But if you’re not careful they’ll come up with crueller names to call you.

  14. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Please keep in mind I meant this piece as a thought exercise to begin a discussion, and several of the names, including Consumer Oracle and Data Jockey, were purposefully in jest.

    I do believe words have power, so we should be describing ourselves in the best and most accurate way possible. While I am not necessarily ready to jettison “market researcher” as of today, I do think we could probably do better.


  1. […] 10 Attempts to Rebrand Market Research – Dana Stanley suggests in Research Access ten possible 10 new names for “market research”. Make sure to read the insightful comments, as well. […]

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