MRS’ Social Media Summit is designed to help insight professionals to circumnavigate the challenges and opportunities of today's social media.


We’ll explore the pitfalls, the challenges and the dangers. Hear how agencies and clients have harnessed the power of social to better connect with consumers, understand their motivations and profit from their interactions.

Strategies will be debated, methodologies shared and lessons learned.

Listen in as today’s social media, with all its pitfalls, challenges and dangers, is examined and debated, in a bid to help insight professionals to circumnavigate the challenges and opportunities. It’s a day of rich learning, thought-provoking insights and practical advice.

  • Learn strategies for protecting and promoting brands through social media
  • Hear case-studies that cast a rich, new light on how social media has brokered a new deal between consumers and brands
  • Discover tactics for improving customer experience though social media
  • Examine predictions on what the next wave of social media will mean for research
  • Evaluate valuable cultural insights drawn from social media listening

Radisson Blu Edwardian
9-13 Bloomsbury Street,London,WC1B 3QD

No Biography Available


Opening remarks

Chair: Richard Young, Journalist and Editor

10.10am - Social media rising to the modern brand challenge
Social media is having a huge impact on people’s lives around the world. Arguably the impact on brands is even greater. This session looks at this in three ways: firstly, its role as both an amplifier and incubator of culture, and how it helps brands to be present in mainstream culture and to shape the culture of tomorrow. Secondly, how social media is impacting people’s decision journeys, and how it can be used by brands alongside other touchpoints to help consumers make more informed decisions. Thirdly, what happens when brands post content on social media, and the challenge of cutting through and being recognised as the creator of the content.

Ian Wright, Joint Managing Director, Tapestry

Jemma Ralton, Associate Director, Tapestry


10.40am - What Russian trolls can teach brands about going viral

In recent years, social media campaigns (both legitimate and more sinister) have wielded huge influence over political outcomes. The strategies behind these campaigns are often very sophisticated - using a combination of tactical co-ordination, network analysis, and powerful messages that are emotive and sometimes contradictory. Using a combination of data science linguistic modelling, network analysis and semiotic exploration of the impact of controversy and outrage, we will dissect some of these strategies to demonstrate two things: how analysis techniques can be used to understand the underlying tactical co-ordination of these campaigns, and what these campaigns can teach brands about the nature of influence on the internet.

Lucas Galan, Head of Digital Forensics, Flamingo

Kulvir Benning, Project Director, Flamingo


11.10am - Refreshment Break


11.30am - Debate: when does social media research cross ‘the line’? 

Ipsos MORI research suggests that fewer than half of social media users are aware of how their data is used. And yet, there is an ill-defined ‘line’ in people’s minds about what’s ok and what's not ok when using social media data. Cambridge Analytica appear to have overstepped but where is this line and what is our responsibility to the individuals? Our panel will discuss the ethics of social media research. They'll attempt to define this line and to determine how we can create more trust with social media users.

Chair: Steven Ginnis, Research Director, Ipsos MORI
Charlotte Vang, Product Manager (Analytics), Brandwatch
Josh Hedley-Dent, Strategy Director, CitizenMe


12.10pm - Case study: the soundtrack to life: the role of social media and music for Gen Z
Generation Z have created a world of dynamic connectivity with brands and businesses, establishing a cultural power shift between content creators, consumers and influencers. This shift is even more pronounced when exploring the impact of social media on the music industry and its ‘brands’, the artists themselves. Join the Dots were able to digitally connect with this hard to reach audience to highlight fresh insights into how best to reach them, what influences their world and how something as personal as music taste can leave you exposed and vulnerable in an expertly filtered landscape.  

Sarah De Caux, Head of Spirit, Join the Dots

Stephanie Tilley, Customer & Insight Manager, PRS for Music


12.40pm - Social insight for making sensitive connections: how Macmillan is helping people who’ve just been told they have cancer 

Macmillan knows a lot about what people need when living with cancer. But they felt they had a bit of a blind spot about that impossible moment. Traditional research methods just can’t (and shouldn’t) get close enough. Working with Listen + Learn, Macmillan used a Social Insights approach to finding, appreciating and understanding what it’s like to receive a diagnosis. What happens? How do they feel? Where do they go? What do they need? How can Macmillan help? In this presentation, how this was made to work will be discussed. From getting a new method approved post-GDRP and gaining internal support. To how this approach to social data was able to unlock previously hidden aspects of life. And the results, how Macmillan made immediate changes to service design, communications, and resourcing while feeding into its longer-term strategy. 

Jeremy Hollow, Founder, Listen + Learn Research

Peter Gerry, Senior Customer Insight Analyst, Macmillan Cancer Support


13.10pm - Lunch


14.25pm - Repositioning social media: news and the shift to dark social

Did 2018 signal a renewed consumer vigilance about privacy and data protection, and what are the implications for social media and research? This case study draws on recent multi-country qualitative research – involving self-ethnography, behavioural shift, reflective discussion and filming – conducted by Kantar Media for Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. It examines the migration of news from social media to messaging apps, where it is shared and discussed with greater freedom. It explores the motivations and barriers to using news in social platforms and other distributed environments, as well as considering implications for the research industry. 

Jason Vir, Director, Kantar Media


14.55 - The Break-Up: social life in an age of media fragmentation
People are leaving Facebook for Instagram and messaging apps. This talk will explore how behaviours are changing, where people are spending time and attention now, and how our social lives are challenged through being fragmented across apps and channels. Are we spending more time face-to-face, or just finding it harder to connect? They’ll then explore the models of communication that people want - is this ‘mindful’ usage (requiring a new friction), or will convenience drive centralisation? How much ‘work’ are we willing to do for wellbeing and friendship? Understanding these changes helps us see which services, experiences and messages might speak most effectively to people today.

Jess Owens, Research Director, Pulsar




15.45 - Viral ethics

This presentation will look at how social media is re-shaping our cultural, social and political attitudes.  Is social media breeding new types of ethical standards for society? Based on a large-scale study of social media user attitudes around the world. This presentation will examine the diversity of ethical, political and social opinions in different countries and look at what issues people were being exposed to and influenced by in their social networks.  The results reveal some of the disconnect between personal and social opinions, and how social media is changing the agenda of public opinion. 

Jon Puleston, Vice President of Innovation, Lightspeed Research


16.15 - Debate: stick or twist?: what is social’s place in the insight agency of the future?

At a time when clients are increasingly looking to bring skills and resource in-house, what are agencies adding to client’s social strategies? Who is better placed to help social build the brand? And why? Is social something to double down upon, or leave to a specialist company, or the client themselves? Data analytics is now core to creative as well as media specialists. Where does this leave research agencies? This debate will cast light on how an agency should balance its social proposition between creative resource, insight or data analytics.

Chair: Fran Cassidy, Founder, Cassidy Media Partnership

Panel: TBA


17.00 - CLOSE

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