Future Thinking

Matt Nelson

Research Director

FMCG//International quantitative research

Future Thinking

Matt has worked in research for 13 years and currently heads up some of Future Thinking’s largest accounts with global multinational clients. An alumnus of University of St. Andrews and University of Bath, from which he holds a marketing Masters degree, he began his research career in social research.

Since joining Future Thinking 11 years ago, Matt has led some of the company’s largest pan global studies. As Research Director, Matt specialises in international FMCG quantitative research, with a particular interest in research innovation.


Our mission is to deliver consumer and business insights that tells stories, inspires action and travels within an organisation, long after the debrief.

Future Thinking takes a consultative approach to market research with commercial focus driving everything we do. That’s why we focus our attention on the three key areas that drive competitive advantage: Launch, Communicate, Experience.
We’re a global company of researchers, marketeers, statisticians, strategists, innovators, creatives and industry experts, integrating qual, quant and analytics through the latest technologies, to deliver research that engages audiences and drives action.



British Gas

Cancer Research UK

Carbon Trust



Channel 4

Comic Relief

Crédit Agricole




First Great Western






Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

Molson Coors

NRJ Mobile

Network Rail

New Look



PSA Peugeot Citroën








Société Générale


Transport for London

Virgin Atlantic



The Grocery Eye 2015

Identifying consumer perceptions towards food and drink

The Grocery Eye 2015 has examined the shopping habits of 2,000 supermarket shoppers to identify perceptions towards purchasing food and drink, as well as non-food products. Our study has assessed topics such as category innovation perceptions, attitudes towards product attributes and ingredients, drivers and barriers to purchase.


The Shopper Barometer – Trends in attitudes and spending habits for 2015

The Shopper Barometer 2015 examines current shopper trends, providing a snapshot of attitudes and spending habits to understand how behaviours are changing, as well as identifying future consumer trends.

Our longitudinal study is now in its third year and this year’s Barometer focuses on eating out of home, the role of Omnichannel, and the future of shopping.


Brand Partnerships – How to prove their worth

Brand partnerships are everywhere, consumers are savvy to them and marketers extol their benefits.

We all know that a good brand partnership can increase your customer base, drive depth of engagement, improve customer perceptions and increase loyalty…for both brands in a partnership. But how do you prove that it has done this, and show the ROI?



Content Optimiser – How to measure channel content value

Measuring content value is important to drive continued viewer engagement – the greater the engagement the more viewers will continue to come back to the channel for more.

Whilst the abundance of data available from BARB gives viewing numbers and an idea of who is viewing, it doesn’t answer why they view, the level of viewer engagement and what the content brings to the channel. To understand the value of different content a different approach is required.


Changing Lanes - Automotive Trends 2015

Understanding consumer attitudes is essential for the success of any business-to-consumer industry, and the automotive sector is no exception. Few industries devote as much energy, time and investment towards improving brand recognition, enhancing customer loyalty and matching consumers’ tastes as the automotive sector.

Future Thinking has produced Automotive Trends 2015, an inaugural study of the UK motoring industry, taking into account the sentiments and attitudes of 1,200 consumers that either own (56%) or are intending to purchase (44%) a car.


The impact of digital media and the role it plays in children’s lives

In recent years increasing levels of sophistication in technology have transformed the media landscape, as we develop new ways to consume media.

We sat down with a range of kids experts, our very own Playground Monitors who provide an external authority on projects across all areas of our work, to understand the positive and negative effects digital media has had on kids’ lives.

Driving Brand Success – Research solutions for 2015

The roles of technology and innovation continue to play a pivotal role in the way we develop new approaches and research solutions, to help better understand consumers and drive brand success.

We’ve identified 10 areas of research which we believe will be integral to brand success over 2015; from brand tracking to NPD, testing ideas to generating new ones and measuring satisfaction to understanding behaviours


Sports Sponsorship – A cost effective investment for your brand

Sports fans are bombarded with brand messages and campaigns across all forms of media; from team, stadia and TV sponsorship to mobile, social media and online collateral. As a result, measuring, evaluating and predicting advertising and sponsorship campaign effectiveness to optimise your sponsorship portfolio has become increasingly complex.

With so many investment opportunities to choose from, how do brands ensure their sponsorship portfolio enables them to reach the highest number of people within their target markets for the most cost effective investment?

Earlier this year, Future Thinking conducted an online study to find out where and how sports sponsorship deals are achieving cut through with fans.



How to get your child reading for pleasure

Recent surveys show a decline in reading as an activity and children are seemingly less engaged than ever before. For families this presents a real challenge – how do you bring up a child who loves to read for pleasure? There is no simple solution to this challenge; ultimately, if we want to raise a child who loves to read, we need to get involved.

We’ve teamed up with Alison David, Consumer Insight Director at children’s book and magazine publisher, Egmont; home to some of the world’s best-loved characters to provide some top tips on how to get your child reading for pleasure.


Understanding the Financial Services Consumer

The Financial Services sector is one of the more complex sectors in which to deliver research.
At Future Thinking our Financial Services practice helps key stakeholders understand the market; from brand strategy, new product innovation and customer understanding, to marcomms evaluation and ensuring compliance with FCA regulations.



The interactive way to evaluate multiplatform campaigns

Companies use a variety of metrics to measure key drivers of customer retention and loyalty; from Satisfaction to NPS and Customer Effort.
Insight professionals are continuously searching for a performance metric that can tell them which customers will stay and which ones will go. Whatever metric they choose you can be certain of one thing: there is no definitive answer.
Everyone’s business objectives are different, so research programmes need to meet their individual requirements. Success depends on how you use these outputs to drive customer satisfaction and retention.


The interactive way to evaluate multiplatform campaigns

Measuring, evaluating and predicting advertising campaign effectiveness is increasingly complex as media usage fragments.
In a multiplatform world consumers are now bombarded with brand messages across all forms of media, from TV spots and sponsorship to mobile, social media and online. Brands need to identify and understand how different media are consumed, how they contribute towards awareness and brand values, and additionally how they work together for an advertising campaign. That’s why we’ve re-launched Campaign Optimiser in a new interactive format.



Evaluating brand equity

BrandBox is a new and innovative approach to brand tracking. It’s designed to understand brand equity and is a transparent, flexible and robust tool that allows clients to customise the solution to best fit their needs. Crucially it identifies the key drivers of brand equity providing clear strategic direction on where investment is needed to improve brand performance. Read our overview of BrandBox, a uniquely customisable brand tracking solution.


How to build a successful brand

Maximising a brand’s potential in the children’s market is increasingly difficult and licensing products now provides a key opportunity to extending its success. There are however an increasing number of barriers which influence and determine a brand’s success in the children’s’ market. In addition to mums acting as gatekeepers, children are becoming sophisticated consumers from a younger age. There is also mounting competition in an already crowded market place, dominated by a few lead licenses.


Delivering a successful Voice of the Passenger Programme – Top 10 Tips

Enhanced passenger satisfaction equals increased loyalty, a greater propensity to use and a higher tolerance when things go wrong. This can be achieved by understanding the needs, attitudes and experiences of your passengers through a programme of research which can measure, manage, as well as escalate and action passenger feedback.
We appreciate that delivering a successful Voice of the Passenger programme is a challenge. That’s why we’ve outlined our Top Ten Tips for developing, implementing and running them.


The Changing Face of Research – Research Solutions for 2014

The world of market research is evolving rapidly with an explosion of new ideas generated by advancements in technology and innovation. The pace of change is creating both opportunities and challenges in terms of how best to understand consumers.
Future Thinking has identified seven areas of research which we believe will grow in importance in 2014; from innovative ways to present data, to research solutions helping you to better understand and identify consumer behaviour.



The Grocery Eye: Identifying consumer perceptions across key FMCG categories

New research assessing awareness and interaction with product purchasing perceptions amongst consumers’ within the FMCG arena has been conducted by Future Thinking.
We examined the habits of 2,000 male and female grocery shoppers to identify perceptions towards purchasing food and drink products. The Grocery Eye has assessed the role of new product launches, brand perceptions, drivers and barriers to purchase, as well as attitudes towards product attributes and ingredients.


Food to Go

Alongside the many spending cuts highlighted in our main study, our food/drink to go choices have also come under scrutiny and action taken to reduce the daily spend. What used to be a daily luxury may now be a weekly treat, and a ‘proper’ cup of coffee now seen as a treat rather than a staple. Check out this infographic…



Smarter shopping - The development of dynamic decision making

At Future Thinking we have undertaken a shopper barometer study to better understand the changing decision making habits of the average shopper. The recession has produced a breed of more savvy and spend-conscious shoppers, but are they here to stay? Our gift to you is an infographic containing some of the findings.



Sensory Based Product Optimisation

Consumer preferences can make or break a brand, and understanding how your product performs relative to branded and private label competitors is therefore vital. At Future Thinking, we use sensory profiling as part of our approach to product optimisation and competitor benchmarking. Quantified descriptive analysis (QDA) of your product is a valuable tool to identify how it differs from its competitors and how it can be improved to maximise consumer liking.


Product Claims

Making claims, factual or intangible, about your product can be a beneficial strategic route forward, for grabbing attention, providing that key USP, influencing purchase, or re-enforcing loyalty, through on-pack communication or advertising.



Setting the scene for 2013

As Christmas 2012 starts to become a distant memory we’re turning our attention to 2013, thinking about those all important holiday dates and perhaps wondering what the new year might bring. Future Thinking have been spending time talking to a lot of consumers about the technologies they’re using, the content they consume and what they want out of the companies they deal with. So we thought we’d share with you a few of our thoughts from the Media, Marcomms and Technology team on some of the key themes we expect to be hearing about in our research in 2013.


How to Understand and Influence Consumer Behaviour in 2013

The start of any new year brings about new opportunities, new ways of thinking, new ways to understand and influence consumer behaviour. Our Quantum Lab team are continually developing better ways to understand consumers using the latest thinking and technology. This document highlights ten innovative areas of research which can help you answer key questions and stay ahead in 2013.



Measuring the Effectiveness of Multi Platform Advertising

Spreading the word about your company over multiple media outlets is essential to compete in today’s connected world. But how can you be sure you’re spending your advertising budget in the right place?


Best Practices for Voice of the Customer (VoC) Programmes

Prior to 1980 customer satisfaction surveys were limited to a very few of the larger organisations. It was only in the 1980’s where the launch of large scale tracking studies at a corporate level, primarily through mail surveys, first started to provide relational customer satisfaction data to help organisations understand their customers. This paper will review these trends and highlight the key practices which need to be adopted to successfully implement and integrate a Voice of the Customer (VoC) programme to improve customer loyalty and ensure business success.



Behavioural Economics

Behavioural economics is the talk of the research town and whilst the desire exists to apply the principles, many a puzzled client has asked just how we incorporate it within insight projects.



Advanced Analytics for Voice of the Customer (VoC) Programmes

Many companies are today increasingly challenged to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty and to improve the customer experience. While organisations have programmes to measure and manage customer experiences, major challenges are the multiple information sources and the huge amount of structured and unstructured data available. The procedures of advanced analytics that companies can utilize to integrate into VoC programmes to better understand customers are described in this paper.


Sponsorship: How to Make it Work

As sponsorship becomes more and more prevalent and consumers become more and more savvy to its purposes - getting it right is increasingly important. Get it wrong and you can expect a torrent of abuse on Twitter and other social media. So can the wrong sponsorship actually do more harm than good?


10 tips for the successful development and execution of Voice of the Customer Programmes

Voice of the Customer Programmes have the ultimate goal of ensuring the delivery of a great customer experience; to maximise customer loyalty and consequently to improve business performance. Building a comprehensive Voice of the Customer Programme has many interconnected elements. Within this document we have outlined the 10 best practices for developing, implementing and running Voice of the Customer Programmes which will define the future success of your programme.


How a Summer of Sport will Create a New Dynamic in Broadcasting

By the time London 2012 starts on the 27th July, it is expected to take digital viewing opportunities to a new level and will almost certainly be the largest in the history of live video streaming and potentially the most watched event of all time. Multi-platform viewing has been a hot topic for a number of years. The emergence of smart phones, tablets and other devices has enabled consumers to view content on the move, and away from the arm chair. Broadcasters are therefore enabling content distribution through a wide variety of media by developing content for mobile and tablet apps as well as apps for video streaming.


Larry Ryan of Behaviour & Attitudes in Ireland presents at the MRS Healthcare Conference in London

This international health care study was conducted in 28 countries to asses perceived health, interaction with doctors and contributors to health. The study that was conducted by IRIS has been awarded with three prizes in the Marketing Society of Ireland peer-judged awards, including the Grand Prix for Best brand & Strategy Research, for the 2011.


Using BE-THERE tracking method




Mirror surveys


Identifying the connected consumer for the retail industry

How do you understand your brand’s performance in terms of consumer awareness, association and equity? Brand tracking plays an essential part in measuring the strength and engagement with your brand and is fundamental to the creation of a strategy to influence consumers and track performance over time.

Understanding the core audience of retail influencers who are engaged with your brand is a vital part of this process. We’ve identified a group of consumers who are vital to disseminating brand messaging and are highly engaged; connecting through multiple touchpoints, making them key brand advocates.