Nielsen has announced the creation of NielsenLAB, a Singapore-based innovation hub that the market-research company claims will develop cutting-edge technologies and methodologies "in Asia, for Asia" in the areas of neuroscience, shopper marketing, and measurement science.
The first NielsenLAB outside the US has already started working with clients, according to the company. Example activities include applying neuroscience to help a broadcaster understand engagement and setting up an in-store environment to study shopper behaviour for a global consumer-goods company.
“Together, the purchasing power of Asian consumers has never been more compelling, but needs vary across markets," said Cheong-Tai Leung, Nielsen’s President of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. "By innovating ‘in Asia for Asia’, we are looking to provide companies with even more differentiated strategies to uncover and deliver to consumers’ unique needs—from first-time consumers to those in the middle- and upper- classes and the increasingly more affluent consumers.”
"As you know, Singapore is moving towards being a regionally innovative hub," Kaushal Upadhyay, Asia-Pacific Middle East and Africa Leader for Nielsen's NeuroFocus unit, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "A lot of our clients and a lot of companies in the market have moved their innovation practices into Singapore."
While Nielsen has similar labs in Europe and the US, Upadhyay is confident that setting up shop in Asia puts Nielsen ahead of the curve among its competitors.
Housed within the Nielsen offices the lab currently employs eight people, which will expand to about 20 in next two years, Upadhyay said. In addition, the lab will build collaboration with academia. "We are in the process of setting up collaborations with premium institutes within singapore as well as across the region," he said.
For marketers, the lab will mean not only easier access to experts, but also more research capability. "Through Singapore, we will be able to do a lot of studies in the region," Upadhyay said. "We will be able to mobilize our lab in Singapore to do the field work."
The lab will both develop local talent and engage with worldwide experts to raise the bar on consumer insights in the region, according to Nielsen. The lab comprises three "centers of excellence":
NeuroLAB leverages neuroscience applications from NeuroFocus to measure consumer attention and engagement through brainwaves and other indicators.
ShopperLAB leverages virtual, mobile and eye-tracking technologies to yield critical insights into in-store “hot” buying zones and the way shoppers actually behave.
MSciLAB will innovate in the areas of market measurement and consumer information, leveraging Nielsen’s measurement science expertise to boost coverage of retail outlets in developing markets, particularly in Indonesia, India, China and Africa.
Of these, Upadhyay cited the latter as a critical piece of Nielsen's overall business. "Measurement science is for us the engine that enables or helps us to take research into news areas, to create new methodlogies and techniques as businesses require," he said.
The article first appeared on Campaign Asia