Meet Kristin Hickey, CEO and Founder at Market Research Company: Kubi Kalloo

Kristin Hickey

Kubi Kalloo is a boutique insights and knowledge planning agency based in Shoreditch, London, serving global and domestic clients. As proud and out market researchers, we offer uniquely powerful qualitative and quantitative research skills, combined with strong strategic planning capabilities to make insights more actionable for our clients. The agency illuminates futures that are unique, powerful and commercially credible, working with some of the biggest companies in global FMCG and services marketing.

I’m particularly passionate about the translation of insights into inspirational and actionable outputs for clients, and working with them to support and influence organisational change as an outcome of market research.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Initially, I saw three big opportunities in the market research industry:

1. It’s time to see better integration between qualitative and quantitative data. Often, organisations look to source new data without assessing the insights that they already have to hand. We’d rather read through 1000 background reports to distill some insightful pre-existing insights rather than develop new quantitative reports for a client.

2. The industry often talks about “insights to action” – but this requires strategy and brand planning skill sets – something that agencies don’t always have to hand. With my background of strategy and management consulting and my colleague, Oscar Runeland’s experience in brand planning, marketing implementation and design, the team has a complementary skill set that allows us to work with our customers to go beyond insights alone.

3. Often there’s a focus on quantum and technical expertise that overlooks the importance of personality. Without ignoring the importance of this expertise, we’re a team of engaging planners not just market researchers.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The biggest changes we’ve seen are in the way we think and feel as humans. There’s no longer room for a one-size-fits-all approach. The human brain simply doesn’t operate in the same way as it did a decade ago! As an agency, we’re more introspective and are working to be clearer in redefining who we are, the clients we want to work with and work we want to do.

Businesses understandably want more bang for their buck. Rather than projects running between three to six months, it’s more like three to six days now. This is where our expertise in focussing on renovation rather than revolution has come to the fore. We’ve had to reflect the agility and flexibility that business in a pandemic demands.

What can we hope to see from Kubi Kalloo in the future?

We’re focussing more on working in partnership with our clients and their agencies to develop more of a complete offering. In light of this, we’re looking at using more of our team’s periphery skills, whether that be getting more out of data that already exists, integrating social media analytics with the tools and data we use or combining our research with our complementary brand-building skills. No business can get away with a single offering anymore.

We’ve also been turning our focus more towards Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement (FREDIE). I’ve recently been in conversation with the Market Research Society (MRS) steering committee on this topic to address, not just our own employment values, but how we can align with clients and introduce more inclusive methodologies to our research processes as they move FREDIE higher up their agenda. Whilst we’re in a period of change, this is a long-term reflection that every business is having to make and market research is no exception.