WPP’s FutureTrack to ask the tough questions

WPP AUNZ chief strategy officer Rose Herceg will run FutureTrack. Photo: Daniel MunozWPP AUNZ chief strategy officer Rose Herceg wants to get under consumers’ skins with the launch of  a new data and predictions business to help the newly merged group win new clients.

The new business, FutureTrack, will be headed by Ms Herceg who has written the questions for a survey that will feature 1000 Australians each month undertaken by WPP’s AMR Group.

The survey asks respondents a range of questions including basic ones on Australia and where the country is headed, as well as tough, moral questions such as: “If knew your child was not your child a year after birth and the hospital accidently swapped your child, would you want your original child back?” and “Do you think Australia is more racist than it was five years ago?”

The collected data is then cut against 82 big brands, including telecommunications companies, airlines, retailers and banks.

“We can highlight specific differences between brand A and brand B. If I use airline example, we can, and have proven, that airline A customers have a very traditional approach to life, are enjoying the status quo, think the country is moving in the right direction, have a very static view of the future and don’t want a lot to change,” Ms Herceg said.

“If we compared that against airline B customers, they see dramatic changes for the future.”

Ms Herceg, founder of social forecaster PopHouse, which she sold to STW in 2006, said she was trying to create research to give WPP businesses an edge over competitors.

“Giving them something that the client, or the potential client, has not heard before, that’s my job in a nutshell,” she told Fairfax Media.

FutureTrack has now completed its third month of research and will begin taking its findings to clients to help WPP pitch for business.

Ms Herceg said having better profiles of consumers would allow WPP to suggest changes in strategies for brands consolidating and adding new customers.

Last Monday, STW Communications shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of merging with the local operations of Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group.

The merger of the two operations has created a business with revenues of almost $850 million.

The deal had been a long time coming. The two companies have partnered in businesses since 1998 when they formed Singleton, Ogilvy and Mather; and WPP, before the deal, was STW’s largest shareholder with 23.6 per cent held by a subsidiary, Cavendish Square.

The change of name from STW to WPP AUNZ is subject to shareholder approval at the company’s annual general meeting in May.

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