Marketing & advertising

New Global Code for market, opinion and social research future-proofed to extend to data analytics and strengthen public trust

  • 8 December 2016
Commercial Agency

Today, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Association for Market, Opinion and Social Research (ESOMAR) have released an important update to the ICC/ESOMAR International Code on Market, Opinion and Social Research and Data Analytics.

Drafted by an international team of research and privacy experts, the recent changes clarify researchers’ responsibilities when using new methods for collecting data. The updated Code will not only ensure that traditional researchers and new entrants to the field remain sensitive to consumer concerns, but also protect the privacy and security of all personal data collected.

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “ICC is delighted to present the latest revision of the Code. The changes underline our long-standing commitment to promote the highest standards of ethical behaviour. In this digital and data-driven age, it is vital to protect individuals who participate in research projects.”

Much has changed in the way that research is conducted and the types of data that may be collected, accessed and/or used. Researchers are exploring alternative ways to integrate data from social media, mobile technology, the Internet of Things and other sources, therefore reducing their reliance on interviews by telephone or face-to-face survey research. This broad shift necessitated the update and allows researchers and data analysts to continue to meet their responsibilities to the individuals whose data they process, as well as to the clients and organisations that they serve.

ESOMAR Director General Finn Raben said: “Over the decades, we have witnessed a digital revolution. However, one thing that has not changed is our reliance on the cooperation of the public and their confidence that research is carried out honestly and objectively without infringing their privacy or creating disadvantages for those whose data is used in research.”

Expanding the scope of the Code to include the data analytics community reflects the proliferation of data in which researchers assemble and analyse large databases to uncover patterns and deliver compelling new insights to clients. Data analytics can be used for other purposes. However, when applied for research, the Code guides and governs these activities to protect the interests of individuals.

Last revised in 2007, the Code is a recognised global standard for the US$68 billion market research sector. The Code provides a unique set of guidelines for professionals who provide data-driven research solutions for business and social challenges.

The revision of the Code will continue to serve as the self-regulatory framework that has been successfully in place for many decades upheld by the entire ESOMAR membership and adopted or endorsed by over 60 national and international associations around the world to safeguard the rights of respondents, clients and researchers.

ESOMAR has promoted the use of a market research code since 1948 and joined with ICC in 1977 to create a universal code for the global market research industry, built on the existing international code based on the international ICC Code of Standards of Advertising Practice.

To access the the ICC/ESOMAR International Code on Market, Opinion and Social Research and Data Analytics, click here .