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IMRB to focus on branding, stakeholder consultancy

29-March-2004
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IMRB to focus on branding, stakeholder consultancy

Market research firm IMRB has decided to focus on the consulting delivery business in fiscal ’04-05. The thrust areas include branding consultancy under a new division ‘Henley’ and stakeholder relationship management under its established specialist unit CSMM, which will increasingly focus on telecom services and BPO operations.

India is so far the only country where IMRB International extended the UK-centric Henley Centre’s consultancy expertise last year. Henley offers consultancy inputs based on the understanding of future trends and consumer preferences across industries.

In all, a team of four consultants—drawn from marketing and advertising consulting background—has been inducted for Henley. The division is said to have secured eight clients in its first year of operations.

Henley offers consultancy inputs based on the understanding of future trends and consumer preferences across industries

Said IMRB International president Thomas Puliyel: ‘‘The company is looking at a high-growth presence so we’re expanding geographically into West Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Far East. In terms of offerings, in India, Henley Centre will give us an edge in branding consultancy business across industries from FMCG to financial services.’’

Mr Puliyel said syndicated products—which now account for eight per cent of overall revenues—would be another area of growth opportunity. IMRB’s syndicate products include National Food Survey; Internet penetration of PCs; office products; and software products for Nasscom.

Commenting on stakeholder relationship management, IMRB executive director Bhupendra Mathur said: ‘‘Telecom, IT, retailing, hospitality and BPO operations will be our new focus areas.’’

Mr Mathur added: ‘‘We will be focusing on all those businesses where employee attrition rate is high and where employees interact directly with customers. In retailing we’ve empirical evidence to suggest that employee focus is very critical for a retailing firm’s success.’’

IMRB’s CSMM seeks to establish its role across service and manufacturing industries. In manufacturing, its focus is more on strengthening relationships between a firm with its channel partners and vendors.

The stakeholder consulting team has almost doubled to 22 since the year 2000 and now has presence in India with an office each in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi.

The consulting arm of IMRB is supported by a large team of analysts and fieldforce. Around 700 people are employed directly by IMRB in India.

Mr Puliyel, who was in the Capital to attend the 15th Annual Market Research Seminar organised by the Market Research Society of India, said the market research (MR) market was expected to maintain a double-digit growth rate.

The MR market is marked by the presence of five big companies (like ACNielsen Org-Marg, IMRB, and NFO) and a dozen small companies with strengths in regional and niche markets.

Mr Puliyel estimated the MR market size at Rs 350-400 crore in 2003, which employs around 3,000 people directly and another 10,000 as freelancers.

‘‘The MR industry witnessed the highest growth of around 25-30 per cent during 1990-94 when the base was small,’’ Mr Puliyel pointed out. ‘‘We expect the industry to maintain a growth rate of 10-12 per cent now,” he added.

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