MARE teaches tailor-made trend research

MARE Research is a close-knit team known for their distinctive 360° approach in qualitative research and marketing communications. And for their unwavering enthusiasm to share the work they do with others. The company opened up its doors to a few lucky AMFI students for an exclusive master class in Trends & Briefing.

A former church on the Raphaëlplein forms an unusual backdrop for MARE Research. The classic exterior unites with a modern inside where the tailor-made research company resides. It reflects their vision: ‘We see ourselves as an enterprise that connects people, brands and markets. Connectivity Director Pernille Kok-Jensen explains: ‘We collect and compile, construct and (re)connect to come to relevant research results.’

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Pernille Kok-Jensen and Els Dragt in front of their oracle of inspiration. Photo by Eveline Koppejan.

And they sure do collect. The glass walls of the room are covered with bits and pieces of research material, coming together in trends such as New Engagement, Inline and Normcore. These insights are customized and pared down to deliver specific meaning for the inquiring company involved. ‘We cannot expect a telecom marketer to get on with a trend like Sensory Fetishism without any guidance.’

Speaking of made-to-measure methods, MARE Research also introduce us to their Sparks. From architects to psychologists to graphic designers, this recruited network of trendwatchers, who MARE calls Sparks, have a strong vision on what the future will hold. Sparks function as an extension of the in-house expertise, as Trends & Sparks Officer Els Dragt explains: ‘They help us to come closer to a specific target audience. When we had to write as if we were youngsters, we would sit at the office in hoodies and sneakers. Sometimes it is better to outsource parts of projects…’

Holy light shines upon the MARE Research workspace. Photo courtesy of MARE.

Holy light shines upon the MARE Research workspace. Photo courtesy of MARE.

The dynamic duo Pernilla and Els conclude their master class with their vision on briefing and debriefing. Bold phrases such as ‘Prepare or Die!’ and ‘Be Fantastic Elastic!’ fill their presentation screen, emphasizing the importance of preparation and flexibility when passing the torch of a project to partners or third parties. Since the second-year Branding students are busy developing briefs for online marketing campaigns, the tips MARE had to offer are immediately striking nerves.

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Spreads from MARE’s work on Trends for KPN/Hi: ‘Connecting the dots Hi-dols’ trajectory 2012-2013.

MARE’s first commercially published book on trends ‘Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.’ just went to press. It will hit on- and offline bookstore shelves in September. Their final words stick in our minds like a sweaty leg to a terrace chair in the summer sun: ‘Buying the annual trend report is not trend research. Observing human needs and behaviour 24/7 is.’

Text Eveline Koppejan, 2nd-year International Fashion & Branding student. 

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