IMRB International

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IMRB International
Type Subsidiary
Founded 1970
Founder(s) Hindustan Thompson Associates
Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Services Research, Business Consulting and Survey
Employees 1200
Parent Kantar Group
Website Official Website

IMRB International (formerly “Indian Market Research Bureau”) is a multi-country market research, survey and business consultancy firm that offers a range of syndicated data and customized research services. Headquartered in Mumbai, India with operations in over 15 countries IMRB is a part of the Kantar Group, WPP’s research, insights and consultancy network.[1]

Established in 1970, IMRB was modeled on the lines of the British Market Research Bureau. IMRB is now a leading provider of market research and insights across South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa with specialist divisions in quantitative, qualitative, media, retail, industrial, customer satisfaction, business to business and social and rural research. IMRB’s syndicated research offerings include the MarketPulse, the National Food Survey, Web Audience Measurement (WAM), ITops, and I-Cube reports.

With over 1200 employees, IMRB is one of the largest providers of market research in India in an industry estimated to be worth a minimum of $ 187 million.[2] As the oldest extant market research company in India, IMRB has been responsible for establishing the first and only household panel, the first television audience measurement system and the first radio panel in the country and has played a key role in the development of market research in India. It has been rated the ‘Best Market Research Company’ by MRSI[disambiguation needed], an industry body for several years.[3]

IMRB International's specialised areas are consumer markets, industrial marketing, business to business marketing, social marketing and rural marketing.[4]

History[edit]

IMRB was established in 1970 to provide market research services to the clients of Hindustan Thompson Associates. Early clients included fast-moving consumer goods companies such as Unilever, ITC, Pond’s, and Horlicks. The initial decade saw rapid expansion into new areas of business, with the first qualitative study being conducted by the end of the decade, and IMRB pioneering psephology in India through an ongoing series of opinion poll surveys for India Today, that successfully predicted Congress’ victory in the 1980 general election.

Subsequent decades saw the development of new verticals, with the creation of specialized units and the offering of several syndicated research products. IMRB also played an important role in the standardization of market research practice in India, and was responsible for the creation in 1983 of the Socio-Economic Classification system, a method now used across India to define target audiences. In 1987, as a founder member of the MRSI[disambiguation needed], it helped evolve industry wide codes of conduct, and standards for survey data collection that are still in use today.  [5]

With the global acquisition of J. Walter Thompson by Sir Martin Sorrell in 1987, IMRB became a constituent of WPP and continued its pace of growth, growing over 25% per annum through the 1990s under the leadership of Ramesh Thadani. The 1990s saw the creation of specialized units focusing on development research, employee satisfaction, loyalty programs, technology and media and the acquisition of several new multinational clients. IMRB’s insights also played a role in the development of several new products for major Indian brands such as Marico, Bingo Chips, Godrej and Dabur and by this time supported 40 out of top 50 brands in India.

 IMRB's logo and tagline as displayed outside its Mumbai head office
IMRB's logo and tagline as displayed outside its head office in Mumbai.

In 2002, as part of a process of rebranding, it changed its name from the Indian Market Research Bureau to IMRB International, adopted a new logo, and began a process of rapidly expanding its international services. This was accompanied by a shift from its offices at Esplanade Mansion to its current premises in Dadar, Mumbai. As part of geographical expansion, IMRB helped set up LMRB in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1981 and AMRB in 1999 with headquarters in Dubai and offices throughout Middle East and North Africa.

In 1996, along with the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) IMRB initiated the periodic ITOPS survey which monitors the IT hardware market among households and businesses. Since 1998, in collaboration with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), an industry body IMRB also started providing a series of annual syndicated research reports named I-Cube which surveys the online and mobile landscape in India.  More recently, in 2010 IMRB launched the Web Audience Measurement (WAM) system, India’s first standardized internet audience measurement system based on a panel.[6]

Company Structure[edit]

IMRB is headquartered in Mumbai, India. Its parent company is Hindustan Thompson Associates, which in turn is owned by Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group plc. Within WPP, IMRB is aligned with the Kantar Group, an umbrella network of global market research companies that together account for over $2 billion in revenues and form the world’s second biggest market research conglomerate.

A IMRB's ownership structure.
A diagrammatic chart representing IMRB's ownership structure.

In India, IMRB International operates out of its five full service offices in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore and is supported by 15 other regional centers for collection of survey information. Overseas, IMRB functions through its associates -AMRB-MENA in the Middle East and North Africa, with offices in Algiers, Dubai, Jeddah, Casablanca and Cairo; LMRB, with offices in Colombo and Sirius, headquartered in Dhaka.[7]

IMRB is currently headed by Thomas Puliyel, a market researcher with over thirty years of experience. As the oldest market research company in India, it has served as the training ground of many industry leaders including Dorab Sopariwala, Ranjit Chib and Meena Kaushik, who went on to found their own companies.

Business Divisions and Services[edit]

Given the specialized nature of its work, IMRB is organized into several independent business divisions that focus on specific areas of market research. It currently has 8 business units in addition to its oldest division-the quantitative research division.[8]

Sign Outside IMRB offices in Mumbai listing out its divisions.
Sign outside IMRB's Mumbai head office.
Name of Division Year of Establishment Areas of Expertise Scope of Work
Quantitative Research Wing 1970 Quantitative custom and syndicated research, National Foods Survey
  • Responsible for a wide range of data analytics
  • Comprises the bulk of IMRB's custom research
Probe Qualitative Research 1979 Ethnographic, qualitative custom research
Media and Panel Group 1992 MarketPulse, TGI, custom media research
  • Tracks over 70,000 households purchase behavior
  • Conducts custom specialized media research
Business and Industrial Research Division 1994 ICube, ITops, WAM, B2B consulting
  • Runs WAM, India's Web Audience Measurement service
  • Brings out industry/ sector specific reports
Brand Science 1996 New tools that help understand brands, and communication in an Indian context
  • Provides brand and communications consulting and advisory services
Customer Satisfaction Management and Measurement 1994 Customer and Employee satisfaction surveys, Loyalty Programs
  • Focuses on stakeholder researcher-employees, vendors, shoppers
  • Tracks employee satisfaction and stakeholder loyalty levels
MindTech Systems 2001 Market research software, data fusion, CASS (computer aided survey systems)
  • Provides customized software and platforms for data collection and analysis
  • Provides software support for television audience measurement, and retail purchase data collection
Social and Rural Research Institute 1991 Developmental Research, Public Health Research, All India Health Survey
  • Primarily services aid agencies, NGOs, and the government
  • Responsible for the largest UNICEF Survey on polio, data collection for National Family Health Survey
Abacus Market Analytics 2001 Data processing, advanced analytics, market research software
  • Handles operations in data processing, charting, statistical analysis, database management and updation, software development and testing

In addition to its eight specialized units, IMRB also has Abacus field offices that are responsible for the recruitment, administration and quality control of survey responses.

While a significant amount of its work involves customized research such as usage studies, branding studies, public opinion research, concept testing, product testing, need assessment studies, packaging and label research, and market segmentation studies IMRB also offers a variety of syndicated research products and reports that are widely used as industry bench-marks of consumer behaviour, such as

  • MarketPulse, a continuous monthly tracking of household purchases across various FMCG categories. The panel covers over 70,000 homes with 56,000 homes in urban and 14,000 in rural India and is widely used as a benchmark for purchase, and pricing behavior. It’s counterpart the Elite Household Panel tracks information in affluent, urban households
  • WAM and RAM, which is a standardized audience measurement systems that sample web and radio audiences, and provide real time detailed segmented data on web usage behaviors
  • ITops and ICube, syndicated annual research reports on the landscape of new technology in India
  • TGI India, collaboration with TGI, which provides the largest single source marketing and media information covering data on consumer attitudes, motivations, media habits and purchase behavior.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.imrbint.com
  2. ^ "The Hindu Business Line : MR looks for a makeover". Thehindubusinessline.in. 2003-07-24. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  3. ^ "IMRB International Wins The Market Research Agency Of The Year Award For The Third Consecutive Time". Marketresearchworld.net. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  4. ^ http://www.imrbint.com
  5. ^ http://www.mrsi.in
  6. ^ "The Hindu Business Line : IMRB launches Web audience measurement". Thehindubusinessline.in. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  7. ^ http://www.imrbint.com
  8. ^ "Divisions". Imrbint.com. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 

External links[edit]