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ARF Taps New Research Chief, Suggests Shift from 'Engagement' to Brand Focus

March 10, 2008

The move suggests a fundamental shift in the ARF's focus from the tenure of its previous chief research officer, Joe Plummer, who was engaged primarily in, well, engagement. Plummer, who led an industry debate - and several high profile committees and research initiatives on the hard-to-pin-down subject - was dubbed the "poster child of engagement," by trade journal Advertising Age before he stepped down from the ARF in September.

Unlike Plummer, who came from the agency ranks, Rubinson comes from the research supplier side of the business, and has a track record stepped in product and brand focused research, including the creation of NPD's "Brandbuilder" brand equity model. He also led NPD's migration to the use of online research methodologies, a major focus of the ARF's research quality initiatives.

In a video interview with ARF Director of Knowledge Solutions Steve Rappaport, Rubinson suggests a key area of his focus will be on tough issues confronting market researchers, especially the shift toward a consumer controlled media marketplace.

"The challenges that research faces are derived from the challenges that marketing faces," he says. "Start with the fact that the whole paradigm shifted... Consumers are 100% in control, but we don't know exactly what that means."

Rubinson acknowledges that he doesn't have all the answers coming in as the ARF's new chief researcher, but says he is a "good listener" and that his job will be tot coalesce the thinking of thought leaders inside the ARF, among its members and within the industry at large.

When he's not crunching statistical deviations, Rubinson spends his time as the front-man of blues band "The Outliers" and uses the stage name: Harp Dog Jefferson. You can see the Outliers perform during the ARF's upcoming Ogilvy Awards dinner in New York.

SOURCE: MediaPost

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