With the upcoming Olympics in the beautiful city of Rio, many will be travelling there to explore its beaches, mountains, famous landmarks (as well as the sporting events!). However there is a different, somewhat darker, side to the city, one which the locals do not really have an interest in to explore.
Here’s our latest ad campaign
The paper ‘The influence of Bill Schlackman on qualitative research’, in the International Journal of Market Research, Volume 57, Issue 5, 2015, by Simon Patterson and Francesca Malpass is about Bill Schlackman’s fundamental influence on qualitative research in the UK. This follows the paper ‘In Search of Excellence: The influence of Peter Cooper on Qualitative Research’, in the IJMR, Volume 54, Issue 5, 2012 (Peter Cooper was the founder of CRAM International)
QRi are proud to be FutureBrand Latin America’s independent global research partner for the Latin America Country Brand Report 2015/16. This exciting report on 21 Latin American countries ranks:
For the second year running, we at QRi have conducted the research for the FutureBrand Index. The FutureBrand Index 2015 was launched on Friday 24th July at the New York Stock Exchange (click here to watch the FBI 2015 being launched).
The FutureBrand Index set out to prove the hypothesis that financial value and past performance are not enough to guarantee future brand strength.
Using our QualiQuant® methodology, we provided in-depth analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data, and helped FutureBrand demonstrate that those organisations with an emotional connection with their consumers have a measurable competitive advantage to make them more ‘future proof’.
Find out more about the FBI 2015 here
Former Deputy Supreme Commander of Europe, General Sir Richard Shirreff, recently spoke at the MRS Impact Conference discussing how strategic thinkers should respond to unpredictable events. Whilst his speech was focused on war and gender based violence, his message that “you can’t design strategy unless you understand the minds of the people, the environment and the landscape” relates especially well to us as market researchers.
What is Business Sustainability?
Sustainability in business is the management of a company’s financial, social, and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities (‘profits, people, and planet’, also referred to as the triple bottom line).
Business sustainability represents resilience over time, as businesses that effectively manage their ‘triple bottom line’ can survive shocks because they are connected to healthy economic, social, and environmental systems. In this way, a synergistic relationship is nurtured, as these businesses ultimately create economic value and contribute to these healthy ecosystems and communities of which they are a part.
What is Sustainable Development?
According to the World Council for Economic Development, sustainable development is ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. For example, for industrial development to be sustainable, it must address important issues at the macro level such as economic efficiency, social equity, and environmental accountability.
Best Practices for Sustainability
- Learning from customers, employees and surrounding communities, by engaging with stakeholders. Not just pushing out messages but understanding opposition and joint decision-making.
- Providing the structures and processes that help embed environmental efficiency into a firm’s culture and to mitigate risks by putting into place environmental management systems.
- Collecting and collating information for measurement and control, allowing the business to be entirely transparent.
- Systematically analysing the environmental and social impacts of the products they produce and use through life-cycle analysis. (Source: http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=business-sustainability)
What are the Benefits of Business Sustainability?
Investments in socially ethical practices may initially cost a business money, but beware of pressures from investors for short-term profits. The long term benefits out-weigh these costs, as sustainable businesses typically lead to enhanced recruitment, branding, and PR, leading to increased profitability.
Sustainable businesses attract and retain employees more easily and have less risks to their finances and reputation. These businesses are very adaptive to their environment and thus more innovative.
For example, O2 have launched their ‘Think Big’ Programme, which is a three year sustainability plan that promises to deliver up to four million tonnes of carbon savings and encourage and equip young people’s entrepreneurial skills by awarding young people grants to help them carry out their ideas within their local communities.
Proof of the growing importance of sustainability in business is 2degrees, the world’s leading collaboration platform and service for sustainable business, which has over 45,000 members from 178 countries.
The QRi Team x
As healthier lifestyles are becoming trendy, especially for Millennials, consumer trends against consumption of sugary foods, alcohol, and fatty foods are emerging. According to Channel 4, one in four British people aged 16-30 say they do not drink alcohol, compared with one in seven older people (60 and over). To facilitate this, new alcohol-free bars and yoga raves have been popping up in London and around the country. For example, Redemption, an alcohol-free bar whose slogan is ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’, are expanding, now with three branches offering not just mocktails, but also ultra-healthy gastronomy, attracting people from many different dietary backgrounds.
There has also been a rise in special ultra-healthy diets, such as veganism, vegetarianism, and the paleo-diet, as well as an uptake in activities such as yoga, meditation, jogging, cycling, and niche activities like Zumba and Bikram yoga. These changes towards a cleaner lifestyle are reflected in the marketing strategies of products. Clear, simple labels, with few words and ingredients are more popular as they are seen as more transparent and trustworthy. Products linked to healthy activities, such as running or yoga, or simply being outside and active are also popular.
Millennials make up one third of the global population. Their tech-savvy and need to connect with people and products means that they have to be engaged through technology as they are less brand loyal than previous generations . Millennials are more entrepreneurial and ambitious than previous generations, with many of them expecting to own their own company, and wanting to have a positive impact on the world (see our previous blog Generation Z: #TheNewGeneration). It is important to engage with these instincts by being high-energy, connected, self-conscious and world-conscious, healthy and smart.
The QRi Team x
2 Robinson, N. (2014) Top five food and beverage trends for 2015. [online: http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Supplements/Food-Ingredients-Health-Nutrition/Top-food-trends-for-2015]
One of our esteemed clients is a benefactor of a Secondary School in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. So, for the past year, we have been researching the Education System in Nepal in order to find out what areas of the school need the most attention and the ways in which donations can be best used. Simon Patterson, our CEO, went out to Kathmandu Valley in March to visit various schools in the district, meet with teachers and headmasters, and the District Education Officer.
We wanted to find out what type of funding would be useful in schools in the Kathmandu Valley, and how these funds could best be used by the schools. But we also wanted to delve deeper, to understand the underlying issues that surround the education system in Nepal, and to look at where the school system is at now, and moving to in the future.
The education system in Nepal turns out to be an extremely complex issue; social divisions, inequality, and political motivations are all being combated in order to provide equal and quality ‘Education for All’.
Education in Nepal has been a political issue and facilitator of social divisions since the early 1800s, and especially from 1846, where, under Rana rule, education was extended only to the social elite. Due to an agreement with India and Britain, Nepal predominantly traded through these two nations, therefore, English was an incredibly important language to speak. However, only the social elite were able to learn English, thus enabling them to form connections internationally, leaving the rest of the country behind.
After Rana rule collapsed in 1950 education was liberalised, and was finally offered to all. However, due to the Caste structure in Nepal, there were still deep social divides, with higher castes still having access to the prestigious English tuition, and the lower castes, ethnic and religious minorities were again left behind, with poorly funded schools, a severe lack of qualified teachers and a lack of child-friendly environments leading to low enrolment rates and high drop-out rates among these communities. This divide was due to one main factor; private schools charging fees, employing more qualified teachers, and teaching in English. Compared with government schools, private schools had much higher School Leaving Certificate (SLC) pass rates, but more importantly, the students were learning English, something considered to be essential for a successful life.
In 1996, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) propagated a civil war against the government. This greatly affected schools as the Maoist forces became violent against private schools and government schools, while some schools became politically aligned and were used as recruiting grounds for the rebel forces.
In 1990 an international conference for Education For All (EFA) developed an agenda to provide a universal basic education to all children. Nepal adopted the global EFA initiatives and also implemented the Basic & Primary Education Project as a national response to the EFA. From their implementation to their end in 2006, these initiatives went a great way in increasing access to education despite the political difficulties caused by the civil war and engrained social perceptions.
The school system in Nepal has become decentralised, giving more control to the schools and communities rather than the government, allowing schools to cater better to local needs. Schools that are a part of this decentralised system are called Community Schools. These are managed by School Management Committees (SMCs) which are made up of members of the local community, working closely with the Head-teacher and local government officials to improve educational quality and raise funds for the upkeep and development of the school and teachers.
In Nepal there are conflicting ideals of diversity and identity trying to be enforced by an idea of uniformity that actually increases the inequalities experienced by the ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities. By decentralising the educational system, diversity is allowed to flourish as Community Schools are able to develop their own curriculum based on the needs of the local community, and some have even developed their own code of conduct. An important development of Community Schools is their ability to teach in ‘mother-tongue’, as there are over 90 living languages in Nepal, but for the past 60 years, education was predominantly in Nepali and/or English.
Today, English remains the most highly regarded educational tool, as it is often a prerequisite for a career at an international donor agency – the gateway for social mobility. However, there is still a split between schools that offer tuition in English and those that do not. Private schools are no longer the only schools to offer English, Public Schools and Community Schools do, but these often require their students to pay extra for the English tuition, creating a gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.
Social mobility is a shared aspiration of parents for their children, and is something that is regarded as only possible through an English-medium education and/or education in Nepali, preferably at a private school. ‘Mother-tongue’ education, although hoped to decrease the divisions between localities and minorities, actually increases divisions due to the belief that social mobility and development is only possible though English or Nepali education. Private Schools tap into parents aspirations for their children’s development and future, creating a new ‘caste-structure’ of the affluent and poorer communities.
Community schools have gone a long way in increasing community involvement with the education system, allowing a more integrated ‘local’ education that is more relevant to the community, and also allowing communities to exert control over under-performing teachers. But this also has associated problems as teachers are feeling disengaged and feel a lack of control over their profession, leading to resistance towards decentralisation and Community Schools.
Overall, Nepal has made great progress in reforming its education system, especially if one reminds themselves of the position they were in 65 years ago. They are getting much closer to their original goal of providing a universal education to children in Nepal, especially to previously ignored groups, such as girls and Dalits.
The decentralisation of the education system and the creation of Community Schools is an important factor in providing quality education to all. In the areas where the Community School system works, it works extremely well.
Community Schools need to engage with both the community and teachers, so that the school becomes a centre of shared learning. But also should be of benefit to the community, teachers, and students, which can be achieved via strong leadership.
Teacher morale is extremely important, as they can be the biggest hindrance to, or driving force of,the success of a community school. Schools that engage and involve the teachers with the design of policies, curriculum, codes of conduct, and listen to their requests re: fair salaries, safe working environments, eliminating discrimination, access to training and development, etc. will perform better than schools that do not. Indeed, teacher motivation and involvement in the life of the school appears to be vital in order for them to feel part of the Community.
Nepal is continuing in its fight to provide quality education to all children and to eliminate inequalities. Social barriers need to be knocked down, something that Community Schools have the potential to do as they can combat the discrimination towards ‘mother-tongue’ languages by making them more common in an educational setting. They are also driving towards including more female and minority group teachers, as well as implementing strict standards for teacher qualifications.
NGOs, charities and international aid are still vital in providing schools, communities and individuals with the resources required for an education, and they will play an integral role in the future. But Nepal is beginning to show that it can operate independently of international or charitable aid in the education sector by engaging its communities in the efforts to raise money and develop the education system.
The QRi Team x
The Value of Measuring Countries as Brands Using QRi QualiQuant®
QRi are FutureBrand’s independent global research partner for the Country Brand Index. We have been collaborating with Futurebrand using our QualiQuant® methodologies to build the Country Brand index of 75 countries, which was launched today!
We defined the research approach against FutureBrand’s initial hypothesis, providing in-depth analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data underpinning the report, as well as managing recruitment, and questionnaire development.