Insights Consultant Cathelijn te Koppele was recently interviewed by Daily Data Bytes. This is a transfer of the article that Daily Data Bytes wrote as a result of the interview and yesterday published on their website.

'Going the extra mile to make data come alive'
One of the categories of the Data & Insights Awards is that for Young Talents. The winner will be announced on June 29. We will introduce the three nominees for the award to you this weeks. Last time it was the turn of Krijn Vugts, research consultant at Markteffect. This time Cathelijn te Koppele (photo), insights consultant at Validators. 'We need to stop short-term brand strategies.'

'Thank you, I think it's super honorable to compete! And also quite out of my comfort zone. As a consultant I'm used to contributing to a brand story and effectiveness of communication and now suddenly it's about myself. But that is also instructive. It allows me to zoom out and think about what I find important in my work and for the profession. And it was also good to take some more time for the presentation to the jury and include some fun anecdotes.'

Interesting: Validators does a lot of communications research - then you're talking precisely about how to tell a story so that it comes across, right?
'Yes, so actually you should apply the best practices from advertising to your own work. I do think about how to pitch a good story. And there are definitely hooks, but it's not obvious. So this gives me a chance to look a step further.'

What's the best thing you've done so far?
"That's not so much one specific project. What I enjoy most is working together and guiding and training people. Seeing how colleagues come into their own and how we can achieve something together. It inspires me to see other people grow and stand on their own two feet.

'I really enjoy taking people under my wing'

...said the young talent.
'Yes, I'm still experiencing that myself. And transferring at the same time. That's also how our agency is set up, we have a buddy system. I myself was also paired with someone at first. At some point that's less necessary. And it is something I am at the front of the queue for: I really enjoy taking people under my wing. You can learn the most from each other.'

What has been an important learning moment for you in the past five years that you have worked at Validators?
'Precisely because I received good guidance myself in the first two years, I learned to be very critical in finding out the client's question. When you're just starting out, you tend to stick to the facts. But you have to think a step further: listen carefully to the client, get the context right and see what else is going on. Zooming out to the bigger picture and going the extra mile to make data come alive is something that can always be improved.

If you were allowed to initiate your own research, what would you do?
'I think sustainability is really cool and so is retail, especially fmcg because it's in the supermarket and tangible. I would love to bring that together in sustainable product development or positioning. Beyond Meat, for example, I think is an inspiring brand. Meat substitutes are a separate field and I think it would be great to explore how to cleverly market such products to the general public, rather than just the oatmeal elite.'

'People too often want to be creative'

You teach on Byron Sharp's Distinctive Brand Assets and Category Entry Points. What do you like about his story?
'He gives a different view than very sec kpi's setting. His view really focuses on the long term, looking from the consumer rather than the company itself. And the nice thing is that it is so applicable to all layers of an organization or a brand. It all comes together and I do think that's what we're increasingly working toward in the field: collaboration between all parties, so media and marketing agencies, research and so on.'

What should we stop doing immediately in this field?
'With short-term brand strategies. A new marketer often wants to put his own stamp on a campaign or marketing plan. Very logical, but a shame because you are building something for the long term. Too often, people want to be creative and then an entire strategy is changed again. While you can also be creative within a certain structure that you put down. Then you become much more recognizable as a brand.