When Stuart Lowe asked Why? five times
by Herman Manson (@marklives) Stuart Lowe, the former MD of media house Ramsay Media, sits in his newly furbished home office and proudly shows off the first report of his new research venture, WhyFive.
The SA Body Image Report 2013 focuses on body image perceptions of a wide cross section of reasonably affluent, economically active South Africans, and offers insights into the market for fashion, health and beauty products.
People’s reasons for exercising was quite interesting – 51% of respondents exercised to keep toned and fit (so it’s a ‘maintenance job’ rather than a ‘repair job’), and 50% said it relieved stress and improved their mood. Improving fitness was ticked by 46% of respondents, while only 42% said it was to keep their weight in check and only 28% said they exercised to lose weight (the report speculates that perhaps ‘people are increasingly realising that losing weight is a pleasant by-product of a healthy lifestyle’ and not just exercise). Close to ten percent picked ‘to socialise.’
Lowe left Ramsay Media in late 2012. There were a number of reasons for him leaving, including that he wanted to build something that he could have a stake in, his sense of a disconnection between the shareholders at Ramsay (who is gearing up to sell their stake in the business, something they had denied they were planning to do during his tenure, according to Lowe) and members of the management team, disquiet about the fate of analogue dependent media business in the digital age as well as his daughter Jenna’s fight against Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (read her blog raising awareness on the illness).
The research business that Lowe co-founded, alongside Gordon Hooper and Alan Todd, is called WhyFive, because Lowe says if you ask ‘Why?’ five times, any question will be fully answered.
WhyFive is a reseller of RamsayMedia Research Solutions’ (RMRS) TopEnd research product. WhyFive doesn’t offer research services – it produces and sells market reports aimed at specific vertical markets. Lowe hopes to take cost effective insights to market – the Body Image report sells for R27 000 per report and Lowe expects to sell between 20 and 25 copies of the current report.
Lowe describes the WhyFive methodology as digital (research is conducted online), inexpensive, in-depth (it takes 20 – 40 minutes to complete a typical survey) and with a fast turnaround time. Concept to data to insight takes anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months ensuring the reports are as relevant as possible.
WhyFive is currently working on several research reports including ‘The Retail Shopper Report’ – focused on retail across all categories. Lowe expects a total sample size of between 25-30 000 on this report (Body Image had around 1600). The reports don’t only contain data but also analysis – or as Lowe puts it – ‘data with soul.’ A report on ‘Cool’ with a link to youth brands is also on the cards.
Ultimately, Lowe would like to build WhyFive out on the model used by Mintel in the States – reports in various verticals available for sale online. The business is being built on low overheads and will follow a collaborative model with around ten people spending some of their time on work for the company. Once he has proof of concept Lowe will take the business into other African markets.
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