The most prestigious award, for the overall best paper (gold), went to Kyle Finlay and Alice Louw of the TNS Global Equity Company in Cape Town for their paper entitled "Negative publicity: how do customers process it and how should brands manage it". This paper, via both a literature review and primary research, looked at how negative publicity is interpreted and spread, putting these findings into the context of the human mind. The same pair also won the silver award for the first runner-up with their paper entitled "Branding in the nth dimension: measuring brand equity in a digital world" which looked at the strengths and weaknesses of traditional metrics before making a case for multi-dimensional inputs as the best approach as a paradigm shift occurs in what people consider a brand to be. The second-runner up (bronze) award went to Kirsty Alberts, Joanne Campbell and Alice Louw, also of the TNS Global equity Company, for their paper entitled "Crowdsourcing: the end of marketing research?", a paper which looked at the crowdsourcing phenomenon (via both primary and secondary research) and, hence, the need for research agencies to embrace the concept in order to remain viable.
The paper for the best first-time presenter was won by Elisha Basson of TNS Research Surveys in Johannesburg. Her paper, "To punt or be blunt", looked at consumer response to branding in different categories via a segmentation that examined individuals' inclinations towards brand internalisation and what this means for the roles of "brand" across different categories.
Finally, the "Voice of the Audience" award for the presenter who most excited her or his audience on the day went to Sarah Macdonald's paper "Influentials or accidentals? Investigating interpersonal influence in the telecommunication market". This paper found that the influentials hypothesis is an over-simplified view of how trends spread as interpersonal influence does not simply cascade through a social group. Sarah is based at TNS Research Surveys' Cape Town office.
Copies of the papers, which went through a rigorous judging process that involved over 40 judges who examined both the written and presented version of papers, can be obtained from Neil Higgs (az.oc.labolg-snt@sggiH.lieN) and Lesley van der Walt (email@example.com).
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