I’m back in the office after attending Quirk’s Chicago – my first in-person event since 2019! It was absolutely wonderful to see so many people learning and celebrating all that is marketing research and insights. 

During the event, I sat in on some amazing sessions including Burt’s Bees journey into the Chinese market and Susan Fader’s discussion on counterintuitive thinking. After 18+ months covering the impact of COVID-19 on research and insights, it was a breath of fresh air to hear discussions that weren’t focused on the pandemic! 

There were several sessions on diversity and inclusion that really stood out to me. While it’s impossible to sum each up in one short blog post, here are three quotes that I’ll be returning to for weeks to come. 

Pepper Miller’s session, “Black (still) matters in marketing and market research,” put a spotlight on the importance of not only embracing but celebrating differences. Throughout the session, Miller told attendees, “Different is not deficient.” Black Americans have different histories, lenses, beliefs and behaviors – and consumers are calling on brands to understand and celebrate those differences. 

Miller shared several examples of advertisement campaigns that embrace the Black experience in America, including one from Procter & Gamble’s Talk About Bias campaign, “The Look,” and Walmart’s “No Sweat: Holidays” commercial. 

In Suzy’s session, “Insights 2021: The gender inclusivity question,” the speakers looked at how – and if – researchers should be asking the gender question on surveys. They shared results from their study findings, showing that consumers across the gender identity spectrum now recognize a need for inclusion of more than just “male” or “female.” As one respondent put it, “If you have 67 genders and auto-disqualify 65 of them, that isn’t inclusive.” 

A majority of consumers surveyed prefer the gender question include an opt...