Kantar and Second City’s Brandstage Sets the Marketing Stage

Brandstage to offer fresh consumer insights and growth exploration to partners

Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP, and an insight, information and consultancy group, announced that it has formed a joint venture, Brandstage, with Second City Works, the corporate services division of The Second City, a school of improvisation and comedy theater company.

The unique collaboration, marketed as Brandstage, will work with marketing organisations to drive new product innovation, originate captivating marketing and communications ideas, explore customer experience opportunities and remove the guesswork and over-reliance on dated, silo-based groupthink from critical marketing initiatives.

“Our partnership with Second City Works cements one of our most innovative, impactful offers within Kantar. Many clients have already benefited from the power of Brandstage to explore brand growth initiatives and we look forward to expanding our offer to help our clients and WPP partners get the most out of our collaboration,” said Tim Wragg, CEO of Kantar, Insights, North America.

Second City Works uses award-winning improvisational methods and audience-centered collaboration with consumer audiences. Its creative tools have proven highly successful for clients since the offering’s beginnings in 2014, and the initial alliance in 2015 between Second City Works and Kantar Millward Brown’s qualitative practice, Firefly, to launch Consumer Theatre, now renamed Brandstage.

“Brandstage gave us a wealth of fresh consumer insights that we hadn’t heard before, and that we are still using to help inform marketing decisions six months later,” said Kolby Blackham, Senior Research Manager, Surface Brand, Microsoft.

“We believe laughter, or no laughter at all, is a powerful insight. For the last 60 years, Second City has used its improvisation-based creative techniques to gauge the response of an audience and to measure the totality of an idea. The same methods we use to take the cultural temperature of a captive audience at Second City can be used to determine the effectiveness of a particular campaign, brand message or content territory,” said Steve Johnston, President of The Second City.