Influential expands Insights team with senior appointment

A leading UK expert in consumer research has been appointed Head of Research at the integrated communications agency Influential.


Duncan Swan, a specialist in fast moving consumer goods and customer insight research, was most recently a director of full service market research company, Vision One.

Influential, which is based in Manchester and Liverpool, is expanding its Insight team to meet demand for market research services. Sitting alongside the agency’s existing marketing services, the Insights specialisms include concept tests, strategic market surveys, consultations, brand health studies and customer satisfaction surveys, as increasing numbers of clients look for evidence-based insight to penetrate their markets more effectively.


With a career spanning 25 years, Duncan has built up strong expertise in a wide variety of research techniques and has previously worked in senior roles with SGA Research International, TNS Sofres, and Adelphi International Research where he specialised in global research projects conducted on behalf of multi-national pharmaceutical companies. At Mott McDonald, Duncan led the quantitative market research team, working on behalf of local authorities and government departments.

Man reading insights report with charts


Sara Wilde-McKeown, managing director at Influential, said: “An insight-led approach is helping us to grow as more companies look for smarter communications to help them stand out and deploy their resources more effectively. Duncan’s appointment will allow us to build on recent successes and offer our clients a greater understanding of their own business and its direction of travel.


“He has made significant impact for some of the biggest players in the research sector, counting a range of global brands among his clients. His expertise will bring Influential’s burgeoning research and intelligent insight capabilities to an even higher level. His particular expertise in exploring knowledge that delves into the psychology of consumers will allow us to run in-house programme surveys and base our insights service on the latest thinking and trends in market research and create brilliant, impactful strategies.”


With a Masters Degree in Psychology from Edinburgh University, Duncan also has expertise in tracking surveys, product testing, retail research, customer segmentation, pricing research, simulated test markets, usage and attitude surveys and brand equity monitoring.


Duncan Swan said: “Influential has established itself as one of the most dynamic agencies in the North, developing PR, strategic marketing, advertising campaigns, digital marketing and creative brand development to bolster their clients’ brands and I’m exceptionally pleased to join the team.


“In the work that I have previously been commissioned to deliver for Influential, I have been highly impressed with both the company’s ambition and trajectory. They are committed in helping their clients take a leadership position and I am excited to be able to offer the strategic insights which will enable them to adapt to and compete in an ever-changing environment.”

Influential inbound marketing service


Also joining Influential is Persia Shahkarami as Inbound Marketing Manager. Persia has worked in a range of B2B and B2C marketing roles and is a specialist in content marketing and automation, producing lead generation campaigns that encompass all digital channels.


She previously worked for HR services firm AdviserPlus and fundraising technology company Givergy where she managed and marketed a startup site generating one million site users in under a year.


Sara Wilde McKeown said: “Persia brings a valuable new skill set to the agency. We already deliver impactful campaigns for clients with compelling content, but we can now link this directly to a client’s business development process providing nurtured and valuable inbound leads.”


The 30-strong agency, headquartered in Liverpool with offices in Manchester and London, delivers PR and communications support for a range of B2B and B2C clients including Morgan Sindall, Everton FC, U+I (Mayfield), Grant Thornton, Shoosmiths, Bruntwood, Blackpool Tower, Camelot, and retail and leisure development Liverpool ONE.

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