Welcome, Lyn McGregor: Head of Qualitative Research.
Congratulations and welcome to Walnut Unlimited, tell us a bit about yourself…
I have been running my own consultancy over the last couple of years, and previously held senior leadership roles in Flamingo beginning as a Board Director in 2003 and culminating in a Group Board Director role, after a successful stint as CEO of Flamingo North America.
Upon my return to the UK, I joined the global qualitative leadership team at TNS as Chief Client Service Director, piloting the Kantar ‘one agency’ collaborative approach for Unilever. Most recently I served as Chair of the AQR, where I helped to ensure we adapted our training and events to reflect the changes taking place in marketing, and the ways these changes were affecting qualitative research.
I have always been fascinated by human behaviour, and prior to my commercial career I lectured on Consumer Behaviour at Masters’ Degree level. Since then I have used my knowledge of human behaviour coupled with my brand strategy experience to advise many global clients including Unilever, Sony, Pepsico, Diageo and McDonald’s.
What excites you most about working at Walnut Unlimited?
I am very excited about our Behavioural Economics approach and fascinated by the opportunity to work with the latest commercial tools in Neuroscience. Qualitative research is a traditional methodology that is being brought to life in the modern day by new and exciting techniques like behavioural economics and neuroscience. Since joining Walnut I’ve already seen some amazing work and cutting-edge research that layers insight to deliver greater human understanding. I look forward to seeing more and more and steering the development of more of these studies.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Focus groups seem to have a bit of an image problem nowadays, despite being extremely useful at times. In some scenarios, other research approaches simply won’t work as effectively as this traditional methodology. Sometimes you need to be able to interact directly with consumers and show them physical products or explore and develop new ideas. I’m with the wise Mark Ritson on this!
What excites you most about the industry at the moment?
I love the sense of change in the research industry today. Technology and behavioural science are improving our ability to understand human behaviour in new ways. This is what clients are expecting more and more and it’s our job as an agency to rise to the challenge and meet their needs. Thankfully, as client demands increase, so do the tools at our disposal. Walnut are pioneering new and exciting methods whilst still harnessing and developing the “old classic” staples of the insight world. It’s a very exciting time to be in research.
How do you spend your spare time?
Often found on a yoga mat tying myself in nots! I tried Aerial Yoga on holiday in Crete this summer, with wonderful views of the setting sun over the sea from my hammock-style swing, but suffered terribly from feelings of motion sickness, so it’s back to a mat in Soho now.
Over the last couple of years, I became a Dark Angel! This involved developing my storytelling abilities by spending some time in fabulous settings. Writing beside a sunny pool in Aracena and then sharing your ideas with a small group of other writers over a long Spanish dinner is a great way to develop your creativity!
Trained in professional coaching skills, I love to work with people to help them fulfil their leadership potential.