SIVO, Inc. is a market research and strategy firm that partners with world-class brands to answer key questions and identify opportunities that unlock business growth. SIVO’s team of insights professionals are masters at designing custom research, executing with excellence, identifying strategic insights and then helping client teams translate those insights into action.
Connected by the common core belief that “in the middle” is where life happens, co-founders Marilyn Gordon Weiss and Cindy Blackstock seek to deeply understand that elusive emotional territory – the gray areas of life and business. This focus inspired the name SIVO which means “Gray” in Croatian. SIVO’s talented team represents a variety of experiences and specialties combined with a fearless pursuit to translate insights into action.
SIVO has 5 insight solutions that it calls “full-color insights solutions” enabling them to live the purpose of helping businesses understand people.
• Qualitative Exploration - In-depth immersion, observation, and inquiry to explore the ‘why’ behind consumer attitudes and behaviors
• Quantitative Validation - Quantitative assessment of consumer attitudes, needs, and behaviors to enable data-driven decisions
• Growth Frameworks - Facilitated process to identify and map insights into frameworks that inspire growth strategies
• Organizational Intelligence - Insights into the employee and leader experience to improve engagement and the workplace experience
• On-Demand Talent - Fractional insights experts matched with client business needs to lead and advance insights initiatives
Of the services you offer, is there one in particular that is still emerging, and you feel holds the most unfulfilled promise? If so, why and how do you see it evolving / helping your clients in the future?
Whether it is filling a temporary open insights role or managing a research project that our client teams don’t have the bandwidth to take on, we are seeing more and more demand for SIVO’s On Demand Talent Solution. SIVO has a pool of ~100 fractional insights professionals that we match with our client’s business needs to provide thought leadership and insights when permanent hiring is just not an option. We have found this to be a growing need in the insights industry as companies feel the pressures of economic and cultural volatility and must react by doing even more with fewer employees.
For several years now research companies have realized they can’t simply deliver insights but need to consult closely with clients to help them implement and communicate insights across their corporations to have a real impact. How are you going about this?
SIVO offers clients the option to participate in a facilitated Activation Workshop, once the data analysis and reporting has been completed. Here, our clients and their key stakeholders are guided through an immersion in the learning and a series of exercises to consider the implications to the business and develop an activation plan. The Activation Workshops allow client teams to have a common understanding of the research findings and a clear line of sight on the actions they will take as a result.
How do you see the role of the research methods that you employ changing as data streams continue to proliferate and analytics becomes more sophisticated?
Over time, data collection in the insights industry has transformed through online surveys, advances in virtual reality, neuroscience, and even webcams to name a few. Additionally, artificial intelligence applications have transformed data analytics, turning massive data sets into synthesized insights summaries and personalized performance tracking dashboards. Technology has substantially changed how we connect with consumers, process, and analyze data and essentially, how we manage our business. However, these technologies still require human expertise. We will always need the sensitivities and critical thinking of the human brain to leverage these powerful, innovative tech tools to identify the insights, apply the learning back to the business, drive decision-making and ultimately, help teams achieve sustainable growth.
If you had to identify a single obstacle to gaining better insights – what would it be?
One thing that makes all the difference in our work is receiving solid background information and surrounding context from our clients before we design a learning plan for them. This means starting with an initial client engagement meeting is critical. In this important exchange, we listen carefully to understand the business situation, needs, and questions and then design a completely customized solution to fit the needs. This is possible because our research toolkit is broad and flexible, so we never have to “force-fit” the client question into a specific tool or platform.
What is your biggest pain point currently? How are you working to fix it?
SIVO performs best when we are in a true partnership with our clients. The best work emerges when we can develop genuine relationships with clients - exchanging ideas, contributing thought leadership and planning for the future together. For this reason, we find it difficult to work with RFPs issued through procurement departments versus working directly with the end client. These interactions are more transactional in nature and many nuances that impact research design are not carefully considered. While we cannot control how RFPs run through organizations, we are being choiceful about participating in the process if we cannot engage with the end client.
What is the number-one area of improvement your business is working on (e.g., speed to insights, DIY tools, improving data quality, etc.)?
As SIVO grows, we have been evolving our internal infrastructure to invest in partnerships and ensure quality in our work. We have formed a dedicated Client Service team focused on building relationships with our clients and a strong Client Experience team to ensure executional excellence in our research engagements. Across these two teams, we have implemented several quality control initiatives that allow us to track the health of our projects and client relationships in real-time. As the complexity of work continues to grow, both in terms of speed and technology, maintaining a connection to our clients and delivering exceptional results is paramount.
What are the most common problems that brands bring to your door?
We have seen a heightened focus on companies trying to better understand:
• The consumer target via market segmentation and consumer persona development
• The CX journey
• White-space opportunities to inspire new product innovation ideas
• Customer value to identify growth and cost-cutting initiatives
• The employee experience and workplace engagement