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R-Net Blog

R Net Blog

R-Net spotlight: Graeme Cade, winner Research Live Newcomer of the Year award 2016


Graeme Cade began his working career at engineering consultancy, Arup, working on the design of landmarks from the London 2012 Aquatic Centre to One New Change St Pauls. In 2013 Graeme joined B2B market research consultancy Circle Research. Rising through the ranks, Graeme is now a Client Director and sits on the Senior Management Team. He was nominated for the award by his clients and colleagues and only found out when the finalists were announced.

How does it feel to win the Newcomer of the Year Award? It’s wonderful to win- working in this industry, you move so quickly between projects that it's rare to get a chance to step-back and appreciate everything that happens, but industry awards provide a chance to do just that. It is a big endorsement for the past few years but also adds extra motivation to really drive change going forward. I also don’t think it’s any coincidence that I won the Award the same year that Circle won Best Agency. When I joined Circle it was because I was very clear on what I wanted – to work with people who would challenge me (not scared to have a debate!), and in an environment where colleagues support and empower one another. Whilst we’ve grown rapidly over the past few years, we’ve stayed true to this philosophy in our recruitment and it makes a huge difference. It makes coming to work engaging and enjoyable and I think it would be incredibly hard to win Newcomer of the Year without that!

What three words should researchers live by? “Clients and colleagues” – it’s a bit of a cliché (and one that our Chairman often quotes) but these really are by far the most important attributes of any agency. If you have clients who like, trust and respect you, and colleagues who are intelligent, hard-working and fun to be around then you’ll thrive; don’t have either of these and you’ll face an uphill struggle (so the “and” is actually very important rather than a cop out!).

What’s your advice for young researchers? Speak up and be heard. Don’t automatically defer to more senior colleagues and clients but instead think about what your research really means and challenge the status quo. Come up with your own ideas and push them. If they’re good ideas, you’ll be admired; not so good ideas, you’ll learn from them – but either way this will build confidence and respect.

And what about for graduates interested in joining the research sector? Find one or two agencies where you think you could thrive and throw everything at landing an opportunity with them. Make sure you do your research though - if there’s one sector where as an employer you’d expect a job application to be informed and tailored to the business you’re applying to, it’s surely market research! I also think it’s a very good idea to seek out a set-period internship or short-term contract to start with – this allows you, as a talented potential employee, to ‘try before you buy’. Oh, and if you think you’d like to work at Circle let me know as we’re always keen to find great new talent!

What’s your most hated buzzword? Right now it would be ‘innovative’. It seems to be the flavour of the month for brand identity. “We need to be innovative”. “How can we be more innovative?” These phrases are banded around freely and often without grasping what ‘innovative’ really means or whether customers even want ‘innovation’. There’s definitely a time and a place for championing innovation; just make sure you know what exactly you're asking for and that there’s a sound reason behind it!

What’s the next big thing? Perhaps rather than the next big 'thing' (which invariably catches everyone by surprise anyway!), I'd highlight a big challenge. It's no secret that recent years have seen an explosion of data generation. With this has come the opportunity for new collection methods, analysis, predictive modelling and much more. These opportunities are blurring the lines around 'market research' to the extent that a single brief could feasibly now see a market research agency pitching against the likes of big data analytics firms, customer experience consultancies and even global technology players. Defining your 'identity' within this evolving landscape will be critical. Where to invest? Where to avoid? How to articulate your offering? These are questions that clients ask every day and I think it's becoming increasingly vital that we don't forget to look in the mirror and practice what we preach.

Finish this sentence; if I weren’t sitting here right now I’d be… arriving at the Banff Ave Brewing Company for a meal and pint at the end of a day’s walking in the Canadian Rockies (or more likely half way through my day at a Management Consultancy!).

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