Titilope Toluhi of Webhaptic Intelligence tells us how the leading full-service market research agency in Africa offers data, research, & advisory services.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Titilope Toluhi: With all that the world has been through in the past year, I will say my biological family and work-family are doing great. We have blessings to count.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Webhaptic Intelligence.
Titilope Toluhi: I started my career as a Communications Officer in a not-for-profit organization. I then moved on to a PR firm where I did a lot of market research for clients in various sectors. I love listening to people a lot; problems especially were my forte. Problems, any type of problem, business, personal and all, solving these puzzles as I like to see them became my work. I had always wanted to meet and work with problem solvers, and then I joined the Webhaptic Intelligence family, a company with a knack for solving problems and answering business questions and an individual with the same flair. This was a strategic meeting. Webhaptic intelligence, as an independent Market research firm, found a gap in the African Market research Market and filled it and is still filling these voids. I mean, we have businesses wanting to expand; new businesses trying to penetrate the African Market; existing businesses wanting to know how their product is doing, and the need for the delivery of high-quality data for a large-scale social research project and a host of other markets, business, and social gaps.
How does Webhaptic Intelligence innovate?
Titilope Toluhi: We do a constant scanning of the African market to keep us updated on the ongoings of each sector. Through these, we provide cutting-edge solutions to our clients. We switched from in-person to digital ethnography and focus groups. This cuts down our 80% in-person contact to the barest minimum. We keep designing and locating new ways to gather and analyzing data to an end of serving our client with quality insight. We are closing the gap in insight availability.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Titilope Toluhi: The virus came into the world suddenly, so we were not prepared for the effect it threatened to have on us. We are a people firm, and 80% of our revenues from focus group research and field force are tied to in-person research. The services we provide require us to meet people on a regular. We had to do something about it; we had to switch fully to our online mode. We meet people on a regular basis, so we had to switch our online mode fully. With technology, we kept closing deals and running projects. Because of the structure of the field we play in, 75% of our clients are international, but due to the pandemic, we are seeing Local clients trying to better understand the African market, and we are currently getting more projects from local clients. We move around a lot because of the nature of the service we provide, but due to the pandemic, we have to do less traveling and make sure to keep ourselves safe as well as others around us.
We had to move online and fully embrace virtual platforms, so we switched, for example, from in-person to digital ethnography and focus groups. Every time we hit a hurdle, we keep pushing forward! We keep peeving it, and we are in a great place at the moment.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Titilope Toluhi: Apart from having to adopt remote working and switching completely online, we did not have to make difficult decisions. We had to work to keep and grow teams to support our new business initiatives. For example, we had to scale up our call center initiative. The pandemic showed us possibilities in difficulties; flexibility and agility became our watchword, everything moved on well from there.
The pandemic pointed us to the value of humanity and human interaction, and with this, I believe we will all value each other more. Another huge take home for me is that opportunities abound in change. Hence, adapting should not be herculean; in all, we have learnt to keep an open mind. As physical as our services can get, we learned a big one; we can still get projects done and completed without stepping a foot outside.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Titilope Toluhi: We have gone virtual; hence we scale up our online Quantitative and Qualitative platforms to bridge the physical constraint we have at the moment. We use tools like N.vivo and Atlas.ti, which gives us access to high-quality participants, setting up moderator’s schedule, helping with participants coordination, and analyzing the content of discuss
Agility, communication, perseverance, excellence, and teamwork are management skills we are using to navigate this crisis.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Titilope Toluhi: I would say International market research firms with strong footings in key cities in Africa. To stay on top of the situation, we invest locally in manpower (indigenous professionals), training and keeping them up to date on the market research trends, giving room for strategic insight that can be executed by our clients, we act as partners to our clients, we grow with them, we stay innovative and deliver excellence to our clients. We also invest in a network of focus groups and call centers that will aid the excellent delivery of workable insight.
We are among the top 10 market research companies in Africa; we have credibility in this space.
Your final thoughts?
Titilope Toluhi: I have learned to value humanity, to value the minutest, to be quick on my thinking feet, to develop a positive mindset, and to embrace and find opportunities in change. Finding new-age solutions to age-long problems is quite an interesting time to be in the Market research field; we get to see live how businesses are coping and switching at this time.