A quick recap, and look ahead from Giles Palmer.
When I took the reins from Tom Buehlmann on the 3rd of April of this year, the integration of Cint, Lucid, Gapfish and P2Sample was well under way – but there was still work to do. A lot of work. In order to bring focus and increased clarity to completing this, we came up with a three stage plan:
Today I’ll share more about how we have got to where we are, and what’s in store in the immediate and longer-term future here at Cint – with a bit of help from Winnie the Pooh*.
*All quotations are the words of Winnie the Pooh
This is primarily a technology-driven phase moving the company from four platforms to one. All customers and supply partners will migrate to the unified platform with a new user experience, better scaled up architecture, and a host of other improvements that will bring benefits to everyone using Cint.
The Cint R&D team has been working hard with real focus and we’re really happy with the progress. Alesia shared some thoughts on her blog post.
“It isn’t much good having anything exciting, if you can’t share it with somebody.”
We’re already using parts of our new platform internally for projects we run for our customers, and throughout 2024 we’ll be releasing more and rolling it out. Michelle Darcy Clarke our Customer Experience EVP and Mike Misel our Chief Supply Officer talk about this process in their blog post.
So, yes although we’ve been a bit quiet until now, things are moving along quickly, and the sense of excitement (and nervousness!) is growing every week inside Cint.
Standardize and optimize
These phases will benefit customers and partners for sure, but they’re mainly internal – how we do things in an efficient way to make sure we can be successful and set ourselves up for future innovation. And on that, I’d like to say a few words on the process of bringing companies like Cint and Lucid together.
When one brings two companies together who have been competitors for their entire existence and have different ways of doing things, it means change for everyone.
Those changes may be big – a new boss, new customers, new products, or they can be small – new names for things, different slack channels (and emojis!) or different corporate habits to adopt and old ones to drop.
That level of immediate change is hard and creates stress for everyone. This is my second bring-two-similar-sized-competitors-together rodeo and it doesn’t get easier.
From a high-level the choice is clear – bring everything together and create one company with one tech stack supporting all customers with a clear company structure and reporting lines and standard and efficient ways of doing things, or continue to support the different products and keep things running mostly as they were – with maybe different names.
The first route takes clear and detailed planning, tons of work and a lot of resilience but when it’s done the company is ready for its next stage of innovation and growth.
It is by its nature internally focused. And things may not seem to be happening from the outside. The alternative – keeping everything running – creates corporate complexity and over time the company becomes less and less innovative and a lot less fun to work in or partner with.
“I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I have been.”
My philosophy is to go with option number one. I can’t operate any other way.
I want to think long term and create an innovation-based company that staff love to work in and customers actively seek out and appreciate – it feels right to me.
But to do that there are times when the focus of the company moves internally temporarily to fix things. We’re more than half way through that process, and that’s why we’re beginning to re-engage in a meaningful way as we have, we think, interesting information to share.
New purpose, goal and mission
One of the things I kicked off when I joined was a project to uncover Cint’s renewed purpose.
So we have our new collective purpose, which incidentally didn’t come from me – it came from Susi Lindner with some help from Bridget Bidlack. Thankfully the company liked it. Our chairman had a big smile on his face and started nodding when I told him – that’s a good sign isn’t it?
Around that time our new Chief People Officer, Bee Meuwissen, joined and we agreed to work on a refresh of our values.
We did these two pieces of work to help Cinters look forward and connect with being part of something different.
Yes, the company is the sum of everything and everyone that has been part of it to this point, but we want to look forward – and start the process of being and becoming the new Cint.
So again a small team worked on them over a period of a few months, taking feedback and inspiration from colleagues and we landed on:
To me they reflect how Cint is already with some sprinkling of aspiration thrown in too.
Values can be very powerful if they are connected to behavior, rewards, recognition and the company buys into them. Like gravitational forces that pull us in the right direction. Or they can be completely useless – posters on the wall with no bearing on how we really behave – which over time can become a bit of a joke.
We still have work to do on making sure they are the former. If they ever become the latter, I will burn them myself and volunteer for a humiliating personal forfeit!
Imagining the future
“Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
Okay – let’s assume parts one to three of our plan work perfectly and we’re in early 2025, what then for Cint?
Now that’s why I took the job – I LOVE innovation and building things. We have started these conversations, and of course this sharing long-term strategic thinking on a blog post is a rather unusual and probably not smart idea so I’m going to keep it thematic if you don’t mind…
Yes ok – so everyone is saying the same thing. But humor me for a moment…Cint is a data genesis company (not sure if he invented it but I got that from Jeremy King) and in a world where real data – from real people – is going to be really important, Cint has a critical role to play.More than one million surveys pass through our platform every single day. We are not just feeding the world’s curiosity, we may also be feeding AI’s curiosity and we want to do that in the right way.Then, there’s the impact AI is going to have on the market research industry. Depending on who you ask, that ranges from ‘a lot’ to ‘it will change everything’. Got to love AI. Or maybe not. Ask Noah Harari – he’s the most sensible person in the world.
- More data
I’m not sure there’s a good definition of big data or what a big data company is, but I think Cint would qualify whatever the definition.We have over 300m consenting people connected to our platform answering questions and we’re obsessed with data ethics – we take compliance and doing the right thing with personal information very seriously indeed. We see a huge opportunity in expanding our data business and we’re already working on it.
- More use cases
A platform that facilitates a million surveys a day is a powerful engine. We use this engine to help Amazon and other companies that sell advertising show their customers the impact of those ads. Our scale means we can ask the actual people who saw ads what they thought – all over the world. This is though just one car that can go fast with our engine in it. There are others and we are deliberately bringing a start-up ethos to uncovering and exploring some of them.
To our customers and partners
“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
I have a simple message for our customers and supply partners – thank you. Thank you for your patience and your support and feedback.
We really appreciate it and we very much hope that as we step into the new Cint together, you’ll be really happy with what we’ve done.
And to my fellow Cinters – and anyone else for that matter – remember…
“Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the forest that was left out by mistake.”