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05 Oct 2016

MESH's Kristin Burr tops ESOMAR #YES Competition

This year’s ESOMAR Congress in New Orleans (18-21 September) was an important milestone for MESH Experience: Fiona Blades launched the market-research consultancy at the 2006 ESOMAR Congress. Ten years later in the story of the global company, two of MESH’s own presented their work in New Orleans. NY Team Lead and Experience Director Catherine Rickwood co-presented with Caroline Smiley of Delta Airlines on the importance of making research deliverables “snackable” to gain traction with senior execs on the go. Kristin Burr, Senior Experience Executive, took part in the Young ESOMAR Society’s #YES Pitch Competition. By popular vote, Kristin was one of two young researchers to take the main stage with her full presentation to talk about incorporating “swiping” ideas from popular online media into research in order to engage with a younger demographic.

We sat down with Kristin to hear her take on attending (and winning an award at) her first #MRX conference on the two-year anniversary of her joining MESH Experience.

What was the unorthodox presentation format? Give us a millennial-friendly quick summary.

KB: The #YES Pitch competition consisted of 3 parts: 1. Submit a 1-minute video with a #WOW idea; 2. Eight top video entrants were invited to Congress for a 1-minute live idea pitch, where Congress delegates rated their favorite pitches; and 3. The 2 top-rated pitchers then presented in Pecha Kucha, a notoriously difficult presentation style where 20 slides play for 20 seconds each.  Timing is everything, so it was a bit of a challenge for my laidback, loosey-goosey style.  It was a huge honor to be chosen as one of the 2 finalists, though, as all the other pitchers did such a great job.  And my co-winner, Emma Kirk (Join the Dots), did incredibly well.

Was this your first time as a conference presenter? What did you learn?

Yeah, this was my first time even attending a conference.  I also absolutely hate public speaking, so this was quite the leap.  But hey, try new things, face your fears, am I right?!  (Millennials, amirite?!)  I learned a lot. One of the themes that kept coming up over and over again was the need to innovate and experiment within market research.  It was also great to see that people seemed generally pretty interested in what the “young” researchers had to say and at looking at things from a new perspective to move the field forward.

What was your favorite ESOMAR or NOLA memory from this trip?

The ESOMAR awards dinner took place at Mardi Gras World, which was a big warehouse filled with Mardi Gras floats and creatures.  There were so many cool sculptures, and it was a really interesting space.

What was another interesting talk that you heard?

I enjoyed “The Joy of Research” by Leticia Chárraga of Unilever Mexico and Adelina Vaca of De la Riva. Their study, the Ethno-Food Truck, included so many creative ideas in one project, both in terms of participant engagement and insight communication.  As it drove across the country, the food truck traded free food for organic interviews, which were documented and uploaded to YouTube for the Unilever team to follow the journey in real time. The key takeaway was that research should be fun, which is really important for both participants and researchers alike.