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Creating positive impact – how Glow is using its technology for good

Hi I’m Tim, the CEO of Glow. 

Along with the rest of our team I took some time off over the Christmas break to relax, re-charge and reflect on the year that was and the year ahead. That got me thinking about the Glow business, our progress and our journey so far. I’m proud of how we’ve helped hundreds of businesses make better decisions that benefit their people, customers and communities and thrilled about the impact we are making through our ‘data for good’ initiatives. In this post I share a little about our journey and how we are trying to make a difference. Please indulge me. Thanks for reading.

Starting up

In 2013 I packed up my corporate insights job to take a different path. I’d experienced first-hand countless examples of slow, inaccurate data being poorly interpreted – and worse – completely unavailable to decision makers trying to make difficult decisions under pressure. Courage is a lovely concept to aspire to, but it’s difficult to live by when data is poor/absent and the stakes are high. I wanted to do something about this. I now had the experience to make an impact.

I founded Glow, a research technology platform that would make it easier for the leaders of tomorrow to make courageous decisions based on quality human insights through feedback, research and testing. The Glow platform now supports end-to-end, fast market research, and is a prolific data production platform. It integrates with panels containing over 110m global consumers to allow our customers to produce quality data and insights to satisfy a broad range of use cases. We’re now lucky to have offices supporting customer operations in Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, the US and the Philippines.

Making data do good

From the start we’ve been philosophically aligned with the ‘data for good’ movement and have tried to use data to have more of an impact through a variety of charity and data transparency partnerships. For example, the Glow MVP was real-time customer feedback where we donated a meal to SecondBite every time someone completed a survey. By 2018 we’d built the MVP of Glow’s end-to-end automation and decided to put this technology to work ‘for good’, focusing our internal sustainability investment on the production of data aligned with our vision for a better, more informed and transparent future.

In 2019 we launched the Catalyst research program, an innovative open-source exploration into ~30 major ESG/sustainability issues facing humanity. It allows citizens in multiple countries to share their perceptions about the priorities for action across a range of industries. We started publishing benchmark data and invited our partners, networks and customers to join in. The response was humbling; the data was starting to make an impact.

More and more companies engaged us with questions like “how is my company perceived vs my industry and competitors?”, “which ESG / sustainability programs will make an impact with which stakeholder groups?”, “How aware are people of the programs we’re investing in?”, “Where is my brand risk, and with whom?”. The multi-stakeholder landscape was evolving at pace: investor groups were demanding better ESG programs and reporting, employees were starting to choose businesses with clear promises for a sustainable and ethical future, and customers / consumers were increasingly switching away from traditional brands to find emerging brands that shared their values and listened better. The scene was set. Our data set was starting to ‘hum’.

Brand specific impact

Over the next two years, across dozens of exploratory studies, Glow and its partners performed over 1m industry, brand and issue interviews to develop and calibrate the Social Responsibility Score (SRS), a single human perception metric providing companies with a reliable way to compare and benchmark their ability to invest, execute and communicate their sustainability credentials. SRS, referred to by some as the ‘NPS for sustainability’, was designed to create a reliable comparison benchmark at company, brand, category, industry and market level across a range of human profile points (age, gender etc). This would allow business leaders to understand and monitor sustainability perceptions, communications impact and performance over time. A set of diagnostic research tools were purpose-built to allow them to dive deeper into the drivers of their scores, and to test strategies and programs that would allow perceptions to close the gap to their investments.

In 2020 NielsenIQ, one of our global partners, provided us with 3 years of sales and unit data for over 200 of the largest consumer brands in the USA. Over $1.4Tn of sales data was in scope of the data set which we used to test the following hypotheses – “the fastest-growing brands over a 3-year period are those that are also perceived to be the most socially responsible”? After comprehensive analysis we established a significant relationship between perceived SRS and 3-year revenue growth. On average, those brands with a 2 point increase in SRS vs their peers observed a 1% point annual increase in sales growth (for more about this study please contact me). This adds to the body of evidence that doing good is commercially sensible.

Today and tomorrow

We’re now proud to have completed over 2m brand interviews across three continents and measure perceptions of over 600 brands every month. The market is responding to our investment in this data, with progressive brands like Mondelez using it to navigate and we’re developing important partnerships to accelerate the program and its impact into new categories and markets.

If you’re a brand that’s investing in ESG/Sustainability but can’t measure the impact of that investment, we can help. If you’re a brand early in the journey and need to know which issues people care most about, the answer is within reach, fast. If you’re a journalist or sustainability advocate wanting to help celebrate the brands leading the way, we have data to share. If you’re an advisor, consultant or agency helping your clients strategise or navigate this increasingly complex and rapidly changing area, contact us for benchmarks that can help illuminate the path ahead.

We hope 2023 is starting well for your business. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need consumer data to fuel your growth. We’d love to help.   

Thanks,
Tim.  

Tim Clover

Tim Clover

Tim is the Founder & CEO of Glow