by Michael J. Shapiro | December 06, 2017
Exhibition producer and "brand experience" company Freeman has launched the Freeman Design Insights Panel, a research and measurement arm based on Freeman's acquisition of Inside Dwell, a consumer-insights panel with nine years of research data. The insights and data will be valuable tools for Freeman as it helps clients to create brand strategies.
The panel itself consists of more than 7,500 members, each selected for their strong design sensibilities and "first-mover" characteristics. Members tend to be the first to try new products and services and embrace new technologies. Freeman can use the data to better understand the impact of design on macro trends, customer attitudes and behaviors; Freeman clients will benefit from consumer insights and be able to better identify industry-specific trends and how to adjust to them.
One of the panel's first areas of focus is on the "new affluents" consumer segment - 13 million people who represent $300 billion in spending. "The 'New Face of Affluence' study was a critical part of our relationship with Dwell, because it provided a lens for us into the most affluent, design-savvy consumers," said Dwell client Christine Marvin, director of corporate strategy and design for the Marvin Cos., whose brands include several lines of windows and doors. "Marvin also leveraged research from the panel, highlighting the findings in keynote presentations at numerous events. Now that Freeman owns the research, we look forward to seeing how it applies the data to help us better understand the affluent, design-forward consumer, and to develop brand experiences that resonate with this segment." 
Freeman is touting the division as the first collection of crowdsourced consumer data that's dedicated, at least in part, to the brand-experience and live-events industries. 
"Data-driven design preferences and insights from these consumers are limited and can be difficult to obtain," said Freeman president Bob Priest-Heck. "With the Freeman Design Insights Panel, we are able to pull collective wisdom from industry leaders, influencers and consumers to identify and explore hot topics and design trends that resonate with them, as well as to better understand what drives their decisions. From there, we put this data to work, using it to craft better strategic and creative recommendations for our customers."
The launch comes amidst the intensifying industry trend towards data-driven decision-making and event-development strategies, as corporate stakeholders in particular strive to gain a better understanding of their customers.