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One-day Workshop

The Shoulders of Giants - The Six Pillars of Market Research

Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD
Wednesday 05 February 2020, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

A workshop in behavioural science

Coffee and Registration at 9.00am for a 9.30am start

The aim of the ‘Shoulders of Giants’ workshop is to give researchers from both client and agency side a solid grounding in some of the most important and influential ideas from across the behavioural sciences. Participants will develop a stronger sense of why and how different methods fit in different situations, of where and how they can develop their own skill set, both intellectually and practically.


Since the 19th century different academic disciplines have explored human behaviour to understand what drives it and how it might be influenced. Market researchers have borrowed from a rich heritage of ideas within cognitive neuroscience, psychology, social psychology, anthropology, sociology and behavioural economics. This has sometimes been a conscious process, but more often ideas have filtered through without conscious recognition.

The workshop:

The ‘Shoulders of Giants’ will review some of the ‘Big Ideas’ from these six different disciplines, consider their implications for market research, how they have given rise to different solutions and innovations in market research  … and to identify where there is still further for us to go.

Across six sections within the workshop we will combine a mixture of ideas presentation and workshop exercises to review each of these disciplines:

·         We will take the major themes and look at some of each discipline's most important ideas.

·         We will examine how these ideas have helped to inform how researchers think and what they do.

·         What these ideas can do for us now, where they can take us, now and in the future.

Psychology: The influence of psychology on market research has been profound. The principles of interviewing derive from psychotherapy and humanistic psychology.  Pivotal psychological ideas have been hugely influential because the human mind is a subterranean world where impulse and logic, passion and calculation intermingle to determine attachments and behaviours. We will explore the practical implications of key ideas from psychology under the themes of ‘mind and consciousness’, ‘needs’, ‘perception’, ‘deception’ and ‘recovery’… Learn about recovering unconscious memory and identifying hidden needs.

Social psychology: Brand practitioners have also self-consciously and accidentally borrowed from social psychology, Because human beings are social animals, what people ‘learn’ is acutely dependent upon others, how people think and behave constantly references others. Here we will take the themes of ‘the social animal’, ‘learning’, ‘identity’, ‘the multiple self’ and ‘influence’ and explore the ramifications for market research of our constant reference to ‘others’… Learn to exploit the impulse to play and identify which multiple self to address.

Anthropology: Some practitioners have imported ideas from Anthropology. Ethnography and semiotics both have their roots in this discipline. The anthropological perspective has been relevant because the culture that people inhabit provides them with the tools through which they understand the old and the new in the world around them. Under the themes of ‘the cultural animal’, ‘function’, ‘coding’, ‘ritual’ and ‘narrative’ we will ask what anthropology has brought to research and where research should be going with it… Learn about cultural voyaging and doing semiotics yourself.

Sociology: Empirical sociology has provided the base model for survey research, whilst micro sociology and other disciplines have pioneered discourse analysis. Ideas from Sociology have been relevant because context, group and institution constrain and direct behaviour, they push and pull at the individual and collective mind. Here we will look at big ideas under the major themes of ‘determined behaviour’, ‘meaning’, ‘herding’, labelling’ and ‘filtering’ here there are methodological and analytic implications arising from ideas these are… Learn about changing the knowledge paradigm and exploiting labels or roles.

Cognitive neuroscience: In recent years research innovation has been seeking to observe and measure responses at a physiological level. Here cognitive neuroscience has been a source of ideas which are relevant because the biology of the human brain is the fundamental platform upon which mind, culture and behaviour are built. Within framework themes of ‘the biological mind’, ‘memory’, ‘emotion’, ‘empathy’ and ‘reward’ we will look at the practical implications of what this harder science has told us about how ‘the mind’ works… Learn about measuring emotions and breaking habits.

Behavioural economics: With powerful ideas like ‘heuristics’, behavioural economics has helped to bring behavioural science into the boardroom. Here ideas have been taken up because choice and decision are subject to error and distortion; people often do not ‘do the right thing’ and change is not a done deal! We will explore the biggest ideas from behavioural economics under the key themes of ‘automatic thinking’, ‘heuristics’, ‘nudge’, ‘bias’ and ‘habit’… Learn to see brands as heuristic devices and how to measure a nudge.


The workshop will be run for us by Branding Science, who have run a number of successful BHBIA courses and conference sessions and have recently won two BHBIA awards for their delivery of training sessions. We are very grateful to them for sharing their time and expertise for the benefit of BHBIA members.

  • More than 30 years of high level experience in Qualitative Market Research within the healthcare arena; designing and doing research, building and leading teams, thinking and writing about research and making successful companies.
  • During the 1980’s, he and Mike Owen lead the introduction of projective and enabling techniques into the healthcare arena. In 2002, he co-authored ‘Developing brands with Qualitative Market research’, published by SAGE as part of their QMR series.
  • He is currently developing a new book ‘This is branding science’, which aims to explore the contribution of different disciplines (ranging from anthropology to neuroscience) to the understanding of brand development and out of this, creating a paradigm for joined up approaches to help make pharma brands and help move them forward.

Andy has 12 years of strategic pharmaceutical marketing research experience, where his passion is centred around solving complex healthcare brand challenges.

He has worked extensively in communications development – he’s seen through the campaign launch of many successful brands, having an intrinsic understanding of how to bring out brand stories through these.

Jo ventured into the wonderful world of market research as a bright eyed graduate 20 years ago. On her travels, she has navigated her way through various missions covering syndicated and adhoc challenges, qualitative and quantitative adventures in both the consumer and healthcare arenas. 

Solving problems, finding solutions and creating engaging ways to communicate these are passions she’s developed along her eventful journey.

Delegate Fees

'Early bird' delegate fees for bookings made on or before 11th December 2019:

  • Members: £404 + VAT
  • Non-Members: £494 + VAT

(These prices include a 10% early booking discount).

Cancellation Policy for early bird bookings: full fee payable / no refunds given; however a substitute delegate can be accepted. (Our standard cancellation policy does not apply).

Delegate Fees for bookings made after 11th December 2019:

  • Members: £449 + VAT
  • Non-Members: £549 + VAT

Cancellation Policy: standard cancellation policy applies, as stated on booking form

Online Booking - Click on the register for event button below. Please note you must be logged in if you are a member or join as a registered user to book online.