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Mar 23 2011

Technorati - SXSW Interactive: Interview with Hilding Anderson from SapientNitro


By Leyla Arsan

SapientNitro is headquartered in Boston, with offices globally, servicing Fortune 1000 clients. At SXSW Interactive, I had the opportunity to sit with Hilding Anderson, regional strategy lead in Washington D.C. for SapientNitro’s Research and Analytics group. Hilding and I discussed the culture behind SapientNitro, how they manage research, strategy and technology for their clients and some of their latest and greatest projects produced by SapientNitro.

In this current age of going digital, many traditional agencies are acquiring digital agencies in order to remain competitive; however, in 2009, Sapient did the exact opposite by acquiring the traditional agency Nitro. As 90% of all media revenue is still earned from traditional channels (print, radio, outdoor, live events, and television), SapientNitro wanted to get behind the C-level thinking and have the ability to deliver a fully integrated product for their clients. SapientNitro sought to connect traditionally and digitally with clients, linking all channels: web, mobile, QR code, television, print and any other new media channels that may surface in the future.

The 2009 acquisition of Nitro made SapientNitro the largest independently held (yet publicly traded) agency in the world. With over 6000 employees globally, SapientNitro maintains a focus on free -thinking within the agency. According to HIilding, SapientNitro has a sense of entrepreneurship within their corporate culture that may not fit the culture of larger, corporately held organizations that consist of multiple layers and sister agencies.

The structure of the agency led to the conversation of how they manage their clients, the strategy behind their work, and results. Hilding founded and co-leads (with Scott Tang) the “Consumer and Industry Research” team, which is a part of the research and analytics group. Hilding’s research team looks at thought leadership and trend identification for clients globally. They help the delivery teams within SapientNitro understand consumers through primary and secondary research.

Primary and secondary research consists of the following: Ethnography, or ethno-graphic studies, which includes; listening to consumers by physically visiting the consumer in their homes and/or workspace. The thinking behind Ethnography is, when you study someone in their personal environment they will act or behave more naturally than they would in a survey. Secondary research would be social monitoring through a variety tools, such as, Sysomos or Radian6.

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