Dare to Get Close in Korea

Dare to Get Close in Korea

By Scott Lee · 9 December 2016 · 4 minute read


Just finished a fantastic event in Seoul, with our Korean team. About 50 clients from famous brands such as Samsung, LG, Coway and  Amore Pacific came to hear about how insight communities are gaining momentum across Asia Pacific.

KyungEun Chang, Managing Director of ABN Impact, one of the most respected market research professionals in Korea, introduced the session by announcing how ABN Impact are now bringing our ‘specialty dish’ of insight communities to the Korean market.

Maz Amirahmadi, CEO ABN Impact, shared a personal story of when he started in market research as an interviewer he was trained to never reveal who the research was for – under any circumstances. Every interview would be anonymous and respondents would never be contacted again – the equivalent of a one night stand. ABN Impact was launched on his vision that there must be another way, brands shouldn’t hide away from customers, they should get close, develop relationships and stay in touch for deeper insights.

Peter Harris EVP & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Vision Critical revealed that insight communities have become so popular in the last few years they are now considered a mainstream approach!

For the last few years the Greenbook GRIT report has reported that along with mobile surveys, insight communities are the most widely adopted new research approach – making them more mainstream than ever before. Globally, 1 dollar in every 20 dollars of research spend is now spent on insight communities, and continuing to grow.

He emphasised the reason is that today is about building relationships with your customers. Customers are savvier than ever. They demand honesty, transparency, and expect companies to respect them as people, not to be anonymous. You need to understand how customers engage with your brand and make that knowledge count in every customer interaction.

We learned how insight communities are different to traditional research in the following ways:

Insight Communities

Traditional Research

Rapid, iterative interaction with members

Time consuming project setup and reporting

Branded, engaging experience – enhances relationships

“Spam surveys” or “panel for hire” approach detracts from brand experience

High response rates (30% to 60%)

Low response rates (<10%)

Longitudinal learning (change over time)

“Point in time” snapshots

Deep, progressive profiling enhances understanding of members

Conversations with strangers, less insightful, less actionable

Authentic conversations with “hard to reach” groups (Millennials)

Struggle to engage with Millennials

Cost effective method to achieve hundreds of thousands of touchpoints from single platform

Expensive project setup costs, limited reach (pay per complete)


Scott Lee, Managing Director, Hong Kong talked about how insight communities represent a new paradigm, a form of relationship memory about your customers, where agile learning grows and expands over time. Like any real relationship, the rewards, or learning is greater than a one night stand!

Scott shared lots of case studies of insight communities giving brands more effective customer learning. Whilst an insight community doesn’t completely replace traditional market research it brings often more agile, time sensitive, contextual, longitudinal, and integrated insights. More insights mean more business initiatives can benefit from voice of customer, and we can show the ROI of better decisions across these initiatives.


We now have the momentum. For companies and research professionals that want to engage with customers in more authentic ways, it’s an exciting time, but no longer scary and new. So, dare to get close to your customers next year, become the hero who transforms your business.

Last but not least, a big thanks to Jane and Yeseul for helping on all the event organization which was brilliantly done :)


Scott Lee