How I Manage: Richard Burrage — Managing Partner of Cimigo | Vietcetera
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How I Manage: Richard Burrage — Managing Partner of Cimigo

How I Manage: Richard Burrage — Managing Partner of Cimigo

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In a rapidly evolving market, firms frequently need to evaluate their marketing needs, track changes in consumer behaviour and understand their needs — all of which are key to formulating a company's market strategy. To do so they turn to Cimigo

An independent research and consulting firm operating across the Asia Pacific region, Cimigo is committed to bringing the “Voice of the Customer" into the client's boardroom. Cimigo takes pride in its ability to delve deep into the very architecture of the client's operations to build consumer-centric research-backed actionable plans. An approach that has earned the firm many repeat clients.

Richard Burrage, Cimigo's founder and Managing Director, has built the firms' reputation as one of the region's leading market research consultancy firms. Boasting twenty five years of experience working in various consulting capacities across a wide range of industries, Richard has assisted numerous brands in achieving leadership positions in their respective markets.

Vietcetera sits down with Cimigo helmsman to discuss his career trajectory and management style and to gain professional insights. 

How did you get into this line of business?

It started with a reflective journal entry made on the bank of Lake Toba in Indonesia. A fresh university graduate at the time, I was pondering what career to pursue. The front runner was a career in journalism in Asia; joining a boutique Asian market research agency — a close second.

But truth be told, the journal entry was swiftly forgotten and unearthed long after I had joined the workforce — almost a decade later. I was in Hong Kong eking out a living juggling multiple jobs ranging from bartender to movie extra to house mover, when a friend referred me to someone who needed statistical support in forecasting and modeling. 

That temporary role turned into my first work assignment in market research, which was to head to India for three months and do a study on the demand for renting out white goods, such as refrigerators and washing machines. My second assignment, this time in Japan, was to determine how a Scottish whiskey brand could muscle into the local whiskey market. 

 By that point I was hooked and would spend large swathes of my time in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, China and Singapore working on research projects across an incredibly diverse range of markets — from building a consumer banking business in Indonesia and Taiwan to penetrating the luxury retail market in China. 

What excites you about the market research industry? 

I am driven by an avid curiosity to explore new realms, rituals and motivations. Being able to open a window and gaze out on another's life with its habits, fears and passions — I find the experience extremely humbling and interesting.

I also relish the opportunity to acquire and practice the requisite skills in the realm of creativity and storytelling to be able to better leverage insights, generate ideas and create new opportunities for commercial and marketing teams.

What are the personal strengths that helped you succeed in your job? 

 I have studied positive psychology so I will try and answer the question from both the empirical and theoretical points of view. The personal strengths that aided my professional success are honesty, kindness and leadership, closely followed by the love of learning and creativity. If you are curious, there is a test you can take to learn about your own character strengths. 

 What is Cimigo's mission?

At Cimigo we provide market research services. We help clients make better choices. We explore their consumers’ world so that they can be far more successful. We also help our clients grow by reducing risk and by leveraging opportunities. 

What are three words that describe your management style? 

  1. Fair: take on board different perspectives and challenge inherent biases.
  2. Lead: from the front in a decisive manner.
  3. Supportive: my team knows that I will step in and help them whenever required.

Not that you’ve asked, but my worst trait and biggest downfall is my short temper. 

How do you establish a healthy company culture?

Trust the team that you have nurtured and trust that your team is empowered to make the right decisions. 

At Cimigo, we operate a very flat non-hierarchical organization. We work in small teams which lends everyone a voice. We recognize people based on merit, not title or tenure. When things go wrong, we do not point fingers but focus on ensuring that mistakes are not repeated. 

Personally, I trust that my team is guided by the overarching question of whether the proposed course of action adds value to the team or the customer. Ideally, it will add value to both, but one will suffice.

Given the current economic headwinds, in what ways will your industry adapt to changing conditions in 2020?

Whether they are dealing with a headwind or a tailwind, customers still need advice on the best course of action, because there are opportunities to leverage and risks to reduce in any situation. What has changed is the way we listen to consumers. In market research, current conditions have accelerated the digitization of the field — from the rise of mobile communities to streamline communication to online focus groups and surveys. Fortunately, we have the tools to tap into these online avenues. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone starting in a management position?

 Find a mentor, someone with at least 15 years of experience in your field, and bounce ideas off of each other. I so wish I knew what I know now 20 years ago. My life then and, consequently, now would be radically different. 

My second piece of advice is to live in FEAR — an acronym that stands for focus, energy, achievement and reflection. I must admit the one that has never come naturally to me is reflection. I have to schedule a time-out every week to reflect on what is working for me and what is not. Then I decide what to do less of and what to focus more on. I can’t stress the importance of this exercise enough; it’s been a game changer for me.

Bài viết này có ngôn ngữ: Tiếng Việt 

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