Join us on 11 February for a showcase of winning case studies from the MRS Awards 2020.

Phyllis MacFarlane, Chair of the MRS Awards judges, will open the Awards Showcase and provide some insight into the reasons for each winner’s success.

Sponsored by:

11.00 – 11.05
Opening comments from the Chair, Phyllis Macfarlane

 11.05 – 12.40
Case Studies:
Award for Applications of Research
Award for Business-to-Business Research
Award for Creative Development
Award for Cultural Insights
Award for Healthcare Research
Award for Inclusive Research

 12.40 – 13.30

13.30 – 14.55
Case Studies:
Award for Independent Consultants
Award for Innovation in Data Analytics
Award for International Research
Award for New Consumer Insights
Award for Public Policy / Social Research and Liz Nelson Grand Prix for Social Impact

 14.55 – 15.00
Closing comments from the Chair, Phyllis Macfarlane

Award for Applications of Research

Basis & BT

Turn on, tune in, drop put (then turn on again): BT TV and the power of flexibility

Hear the story of the rebirth of BT TV.  A story about the power of flexibility; How we convinced the BT TV team to embrace initial setbacks and flex their approach to product development, transforming the role of customer insight at BT; And how we helped to re-invent BT TV by putting flexibility at its core, transforming an unloved and undifferentiated product into a true category disruptor. 

Dan Coombes, Strategy Director, Basis

Dan Hayes, Senior Insight Manager – Entertainment, BT

Award for Business-to-Business Research

Motif & City and Guilds Group

Driving action to build brand loyalty

Motif collaborated with City and Guilds Group to evolve a siloed, inconsistent approach of customer satisfaction tracking into a unified, strategic programme, which allowed scope to explore brand-specific issues. Motif added commercial punch by applying a loyalty model, developed through rigorous R&D. The new programme and loyalty model have ignited a passion for understanding the customer amongst stakeholders. The business is now taking a truly customer-centric view of its offer – focusing on the developments to customer experience most likely to improve business outcomes.

Kevin Ford, Head of Data Solutions, Motif
Kristine Baltazar, Senior Insights Manager, Motif
Shuba Krishnan, CX Strategy and Insights Manager, City & Guilds
Nicky Pattimore, Chief People & Customer Officer City & Guilds

Award for Creative Development

The Behavioural Architects & TfNSW

How to keep people moving and physically distanced

Little did The Behavioural Architects know in August 2019 that the solution to a people distancing and movement challenge at train stations in Sydney NSW would end up having global COVID-19 relevance and application in 2020. The story began with a brief from TfNSW (Transport for New South Wales) asking for help to improve passenger flow, but as the pandemic took hold, it became clear that the same contextual insights and interventions applied in Sydney could be re-purposed to help myriad global businesses struggling with COVID-19. In response, TBA developed an open source COVID-19 Behavioural Science Toolkit to aid safe and seamless physical distancing and people movement around the world, which can be downloaded for free here.

Presenter – Crawford Hollingworth, Founder, The Behavioural Architects

Award for Cultural Insights

Sign Salad & Chivas Brothers

Refreshing flavour: How cultural insight created category redefining flavour wheels for Chivas Brothers’ brands globally

Chivas Brothers, Pernod Ricard, recognised that whisky flavour descriptors had become repetitive and intimidating to novices. Chivas brands could create dramatic differentiation through an expanded flavour vocabulary, opening up the whisky category. Sign Salad and Chivas Brothers leveraged semiotic analysis and interviews to create a future-facing ‘library’ of flavour cues. We identified emergent visual and verbal representations of descriptors across categories in the US, China and Spain, developing a flavour wheel against which SKUs were mapped. Findings informed Chivas Bros. brands’ drinks strategy, flavour notes, and internal training, creating culturally relevant representations of flavour tailored to global audiences.
Katrina Russell, Project Director at Sign Salad

Dale Milliken, Senior Consumer Insight & Planning Manager, Chivas Brothers

Award for Healthcare Research & The Women’s Health Tech Hive

Unapologetic stories: Using AI-accelerated qualitative analysis to scope out the true size of the Women’s Health Data Gap

Women are under-represented in data, medical trials and drug development – a massive data gap, costing the lives of millions of women every year. This project, commissioned by the Health Tech Hive, is designed to reveal the scale and form of this gap. By finding the real unmoderated voices of women online, and plugging them into’s machine-learning platform, we were able to identify the multiple conditions affected by this gap, and show the tangible ways in which women are suffering and let down. This project unapologetically highlights the scale of the problem. “Seeing the ways women are suffering, in their own words, was invaluable to us.” – Health Tech Hive

Rose Crabb, Strategist,
Hannah Marcus, Strategist,

Award for Inclusive Research

Humankind Research & Independent Age

In Focus: Experiences of Older Age in England

Lived experience of older age amongst marginalised sub-groups

Independent Age commissioned research to explore the reality of life for specific groups of older people whose voices are typically less heard in debates about ageing. Humankind shaped their methodology with the guidance of a panel of older people, and adapted their approach to the individual needs of participants to allow them to participate fully and confidently in the research process; resulting in a series of reports that draw attention to the issues faced by this cohort, and ensuring that their voices are heard across the sector

Tom Silverman, Humankind Research

Award for Independent Consultants

Shed Research

The German problem: how we used no new research to generate growth

You do not need new research to generate growth: how we used insight synthesis to help Primark address its biggest strategic challenge

Shed Research helped Primark address the biggest strategic challenge it faced. Sales across the Eurozone were up 5.3% but sales in Germany were down 3.2%. The business had many different hypotheses as to why this had happened. They helped Primark assimilate all the insight it had to build a single version of the truth. The summary was used to make swift decisions. It led to Primark improving its in-store experience and investing in ATL advertising for the first time in its history. And ultimately, it led to a reversal of the decline in sales.

Dan Young, Director, Shed Research Consulting

Award for Innovation in Data Analytics

Yonder & Macmillan

Predicting Macmillan’s impact on cancer patients’ quality of life

Macmillan commissioned Yonder to understand what needs and support they should invest in to effectively improve cancer patient’s Quality of Life. This was crucial to shape Macmillan’s five year strategy and ambition to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer. Responses from the large-scale cancer patient needs and Quality of Life survey were used to create a simulator that predicts which of Macmillan’s interventions produce the greatest gains in patient’s Quality of Life. The programme represented a unique and innovative solution by: Advanced machine learning to take into account non-linear relationships, Interaction models were something new and not present in normal drivers, A novel method for detecting causal relationships, Designing a simulator fit for non-technical senior level audiences, Flexible models to allow for clients to input own data and still work. The simulator has been pivotal in shaping decisions at Macmillan, and the innovative analytics behind the simulator provides a future-proofed effective tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst bespoke to Macmillan, the problem is shared with many clients who want to push for more realistic drivers modelling, and provides us with a way to approach drivers to better predict outcomes.

David Shaw, Director,  Yonder

Karsten Shaw, Director of Analytics, Yonder

Ethan Nguyen, Data Scientist, Yonder

Award for International Research


CovidWatch:  Using digital ethnography to observe the unimaginable

An international social commentary on what unites and divides us during the pandemic

This case study will show how we monitored the course of the pandemic from March through to December, with a longitudinal, syndicated study. This session will be more of a documentary than a presentation, showing footage of what happened to consumers throughout the year.  The research used digital ethnography to monitor 30 households over a 9-month period, in UK, US, France, Italy, Russia, and China, looking at how the lived experience changed consumer sentiment. The showcase will end on how our key clients used the research during the pandemic, and our thoughts on what the big issues are for 2021.

Oliver Sweet, Head of Ethnography, Ipsos MORI

Award for New Consumer Insights

The Behavioural Architects & Google

Decoding Decisions: Making sense of the ‘messy middle’

Applying behavioural science insights to decode the complexity of consumer decision making today. The Behavioural Architects will bring to life a new model of decision making, including the ‘messy middle’ – a loop consisting of complementary states of exploration and evaluation. We will also show how brand preference can be transferred within a category through the application of behavioural science. The shopping simulations demonstrate how people’s second preferred brand can be made more appealing than their first preferred brand by ‘charging’ it with stronger executions of behavioural science principles such as category heuristics, authority bias and social proof.

Alistair Rennie, Research Lead, Google

Sian Davies, Founder, The Behavioural Architects

Award for Public Policy / Social Research and Liz Nelson Grand Prix for Social Impact

Humankind Research & STOP THE TRAFFIK

Developing insightful and impactful comms to disrupt human trafficking

Research for digital disruption of human trafficking

Humankind Research collaborated with STOP THE TRAFFIK on their first ever primary research, uncovering insights about the myriad forms of exploitation involved in migration from Lithuania to the UK, using these to develop a comms campaign, and later evaluating it using an adaptive approach. This research tackled a complex topic with an extremely hard-to-reach audience and on a tiny budget, but the results showed tangible and significant impact on those at risk or already experiencing exploitation. 

Alex Bennett-Clemmow, Humankind Research


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