Visionary: ESOMAR Congress at 70

ESOMAR celebrates 70 years by reflecting on the past and looking to the future of insights.

By Rhiannon Bryant, ESOMAR Congress Programme Manager

70 years ago at Manchester University in England, two little known engineers by the names of Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn developed the aptly named Williams-Kilburn tube. The tube was the first high-speed, entirely electronic memory system. This would be the first instance of random access computer memory, and arguably with it the modern age of computers was born.

Around the same time, against the backdrop of a divided world piecing itself together in aftermath of global conflict, 29 market and opinion researchers from eight countries met in Amsterdam to establish an apolitical, multi-country professional community dedicated to a better understanding of the world around them.  This was, in effect, the first ESOMAR Congress.

Fast forward to 2017, and those early academic experiments in computing have launched a profound shift in the way we view the world and conduct business.  The digital era has also provided the insights industry with significant opportunities and challenges. So it feels fitting that as the world celebrates 70 years of modern computing, ESOMAR is celebrating 70 years as a key figure in the development of the industry with the 70th “town hall” of the insights community, ESOMAR Congress.  

This year at Congress, in Amsterdam, ESOMAR welcomes speakers and delegates from over 70 countries as they come together to share knowledge, discoveries and innovations that will drive the future of the industry for another 70 years. Appropriately the theme for this year’s event is “Visionary” and we’ll be reaching into the worlds of artificial intelligence, automation, big data and virtual reality, to show you just how far we have come in the last 70 years.

At this year’s Congress we’re also delighted to be sharing the stage with brands that have a long history and heritage of consumer research. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, KLM AirFrance, Heineken, the BBC, Danone; all brands that have long and illustrious histories of consumer insights, will be there to share the work in cutting edge research that maintains their place as some of the world’s best known brands.

You can hear how Coca-Cola Japan adopted a tiny UK automation start-up to solve their biggest advertising headache, and how the techniques were adopted by the global team. How AOL are using video to amplify research in the boardroom by using video storytelling to increase stakeholder engagement. You’ll be able to find out how Microsoft are making sense of big data, and how Rotary International are using global research to permanently improve the lives of the less fortunate.    

Most importantly Congress, since 1947, has been home of the discussion of the global research community on where we are and where we are heading. It’s a time to celebrate the value and legacy of research and insights, and share knowledge as a community. So, Join us on 10 – 13 September in Amsterdam to celebrate market research and marketing at one of the biggest events of the year.

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