To: The Insights Industry
We’re on a slippery slope, and it’s moving fast. Consumer trust in the data and service quality we provide is at an alarmingly low level. That much is obvious. What isn’t clear is how to reverse the trend.
The first challenge is that our industry has no universal definition of quality. What’s more, there exists no clear path to establishing the parameters required to craft that definition. Factor in inconsistent demand from brands for high levels of service, and we’re in a perfect storm. One that threatens to undermine our entire profession.
Yet, we’re missing the forest for the trees. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is recognized worldwide as the authority on quality management. The market research and insights standard (ISO 20252:2019) establishes what it means to run our businesses efficiently, ethically and securely. By starting here, we can gain the traction we need.
Achieving certification is proven to be easier and, in most cases, exponentially less expensive than you’d think. It increases profitability by infusing the highest efficiency into our operations, from project reproducibility, training and document management to subcontractor oversight, security and more. For those already certified, ISO proved its worth in the past two years as others struggled to pivot during the pandemic.
The certification itself does not define quality. ISO’s framework gets us on the same page, without sacrificing any competitive advantage. Only by aligning our interpretations of “best practices” can we build a universally accepted definition of what quality is. From there, the divergence between those certified and those not will widen. Our clients’ expectations will increase, and by default, brands will be forced to follow suit.
The fact is that if we continue on our current trajectory, we are effectively saying that quality doesn’t matter. It is our responsibility — to our own companies and our industry as a whole — to change that story.
And you can start today. Contact Juliana Wood, CIRQ managing director, at email@example.com or 202-370-6318.