Insights

Recognizing The Winning Lessons of Art Nielsen Jr.
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Recognizing The Winning Lessons of Art Nielsen Jr.

Dave Calhoun

Dave Calhoun, CEO, The Nielsen Company

Innovation, insight, trends. Those words sound familiar for a reason.

They’re words that are driven by the habits of consumers. They’re also words that speak to the exciting momentum of our business environs.

A family, whose last name happens to be Nielsen, figured this out long ago. The late Art Nielsen Sr. envisioned the power of consumer habits and embraced new technologies and methodologies with such gusto that his impact is still being felt.

No less so is the impact of his son, Art Nielsen Jr.

As we celebrate Art’s 91st birthday today, I’m reminded of the responsibility we carry to push boundaries every chance we get.

“Our innovation teams wake up every day looking around the corner at what’s next.”

Early in his career, Art Jr. spent much of his time digging deep into the data. He was on the frontline of Nielsen’s collection business auditing storefronts no bigger than the average garage. He intuitively knew that more could be done with information if it was collected in more meaningful ways. He also had a deep understanding of the value that could be assigned to unbiased research.

Art was certainly concerned with “what” the company could gather, but he was even more concerned with ensuring Nielsen identified the “so what” component. Data without that critical look around the corner at what was coming next wouldn’t be enough.

He had cracked the code on success for our clients.

This foundation served as powerful bedrock to tackle the tough issues of building audience panels, designing devices that drove insight on consumer habits and figuring how marketers could reach customers.

This is an underpinning philosophy that we proudly own today. And we owe it to Art, as much as we owe it to clients, to supercharge it by promoting a healthy clash of ideas.

The company that Art and his dad built were enablers for the many bold plays we have made in more recent years.

Whether it’s our global expansion in exciting growth markets like India and China or the culture of innovation so rooted in our Latin American businesses…I know we’re perpetuating a cycle of winning big for our clients.

Our market leading capabilities in the social networking space and the cutting edge investments we’ve made in areas such as neuroscience are also major reflections of our ability to position ourselves in front of the pack.

We’re also taking a leaf from the history books in keeping our alignment with the broader marketplace. We listen harder than ever to how consumers engage with products, store and online retail fronts and media platforms.

To that end, our approach has never been simpler. We measure what you watch and what you buy. If we adopt that agnostic approach, we mirror the everyday habits of consumers and create an environment that becomes far more predictive than it has ever been.

When the Nielsen family took a risk on measuring television viewing habits in the middle of last century, they knew one thing: clients would need to tap into a new medium.

Today, the momentum for new mediums and new platforms is evolving at a much faster pace. Getting in front of measuring those is now where the modern-day Nielsen company spends a lot of time.

In fact, we take it a few steps further to determine how consumers spend their time across multiple mediums and how they transition from one to another. No one else has these capabilities.

Our innovation teams wake up every day looking around the corner at what’s next.

And our success on the innovation and insight front is also thanks to Art and the many great people who followed him. We should never forget it.

Happy Birthday Art. Our thoughts and best wishes are with you on this special day.