Through culture
to big ideas

We are a global insight and brand consultancy

Flamingo was founded in 1997 by Kirsty Fuller and Maggie Collier, who still run the company. We came into being to deliver incisive, creative brand thinking, illuminated by profound people insight and cultural understanding. We now have offices in London, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and São Paulo - so we’re working around the world, all the time.

What characterises Flamingo is a spirit of opportunity. We believe in unlocking potential, we’re open to ideas wherever they come from, and we aim to inspire our clients with a sense of the possible, and how to achieve it.

Most successful brands are those that resonate not only with the people who engage with them, but with the wider culture. So by understanding people and brands through a cultural lens, we look to deliver the truly big ideas which create opportunities for growth for our clients.

Since our inception we have built our global business organically, consistently maintaining the quality of our work and of the people who make our culture unique. As a result, we have a built a set of long-term relationships with some of the most admired businesses in the world, and have picked up an impressive array of awards along the way. We've won MRS Best Agency four times, and were named both Best Agency with a turnover above £20 million and Best Place to Work at the MRS Awards 2014. We have also won the Learning and Development Award at the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For, for three years in a row. 

Get in touch if you think we could help you.

What our clients and agency partners say

Flamingo is a great partner. We have never met anyone who so intuitively understands our business and brand. We like the smart use of new tools and techniques, and the way of thinking. adidas is All In for Flamingo.

Philip Hambach, Senior Manager - Global Consumer Insight, adidas

Most fast growing research companies quickly fall into the trap of meeting demand by relaxing the quality of their talent. Flamingo has steadfastly avoided this. No matter which team we work with, the output just gets better and better. The melding of deep thinking and creative audio-visual communication sets Flamingo apart from the competition.

Peter Harrison, VP Consumer Strategy, PepsiCo International

We asked Flamingo to come and talk to BBH teams around the world about what characterises great Levi’s advertising, drawing on their many years of experience of our work. Their presentation was so profound in its understanding and so vivid in its expression that I found it truly mesmerising. These people understood our own creativity better than we understood it ourselves.

Nigel Bogle, Group Chairman, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Flamingo provided richly valuable input to the Guinness Global Brand Team and our two creative agencies every step of the way.  Their profound cultural and consumer insights, and clear strategic thinking, provided the platform for us and our key agency partners to create a unique and compelling brand idea which has gained enormous traction across the business and is yielding fantastic output

Ronan Beirne, Guinness Global Marketing Manager (2008-2011)

Flamingo are head and shoulders above anyone else I’ve worked with on multinational projects. Their findings always have the ring of truth. Always find unexpected common ground. Never hide differences that should stay that way. I’ve never left one of their debriefs not knowing more than when I went in nor without a stimulating direction to proceed.

Richard Swaab, Executive Vice Chairman, BBDO Europe

What distinguishes Flamingo is the deep interpretation of the findings and clear direction on what this means to our business. They don’t just do research, they bring intelligence to thinking about the implications of what we hear. We see this intelligence & passion at all levels of their company.

David Brown, Head Consumer Insights, Group Marketing, Standard Chartered Bank (Asia)

We discovered Flamingo about 5 years ago when we were in search of a truly innovative approach to understanding why consumers are so attached to certain articles of clothing. We found them to be so creative and delightful to work with that we sought them out for other initiatives as well. Most recently, Flamingo helped us totally turn around an ‘old’ brand to a revitalized ‘new’ brand. I don’t view them as researchers at all - they are craftsmen/craftswomen at generating insights, but more importantly translating those into strategic thinking and recommendations to achieve our end goal. 

Vickie Byrd, Senior Manager, Consumer Insights, Hanesbrands, Inc. 

Several factors separate Flamingo from the many other insight agencies that I’ve worked with over the years. They genuinely get to grips with the business objectives of any project and provide innovative, customised ideas. The research itself is always undertaken with great care and intelligence. And most importantly – but often a weak point for many agencies – is the quality of the analysis and insights. Documenting research is one thing. However delivering genuinely powerful potential insights is something else altogether. And Flamingo have delivered this for Westfield every time we’ve worked with them.

Lisa McMyn, Marketing Consultant, Westfield

David Ogilvy famously wrote that more and more people seemed to be using research as a drunkard uses a lamp post - for support, rather than for illumination. So if you're looking for support, I wouldn't bother with Flamingo. They're opinionated. They'll tell you what they think. And their intelligence and candor might mess up what you had in mind. But if you're a business looking for illumination, Flamingo is a great partner. The people at Flamingo are just plain different - they're bright, but they also have a natural curiosity about the world around them. Their thinking is smart yet they are still very grounded in giving a business useful insights - insights that can really help a business build their brands. I couldn't recommend them more.

Pete Smith, Executive Director of Planning, BBDO Tokyo

Our published papers

Please select a paper for further detail and download option:

  • The Myth of the Brand in Asia

    Written by: James Parsons, Group Board Director, Flamingo

  • Four trends about the New Youth Consumer

    Written by: Annie Auerbach, Imme Ermgassen

    Annie Auerbach & Imme Ermgassen presented four trends about the New Youth Consumer at the recent DAS Spotlight Forum at Sketch, London.

  • Ethnography: The Empathic Model

    Written by: Brian McMahon

    One of the pioneers of the Universal Design movement, Dr. Patricia Moore, is professionally associated with Flamingo International.

  • Universal Design: A Marketing Challenge

    Written by: Brian McMahon

    How is it possible that even today research is conducted, products are designed, and creative messages are delivered without considering ALL potential consumers? Why do we in the marketing community regularly eliminate potential consumers for what we perceive they can’t do, without investigating?

  • Web 2.0: From Collaboration to Criticism

    Written by: Annie Auerbach

    Why brands are rejecting co-creation and taking back control.

  • Lipstick on a Pig - Get the Tastiest Pork from Japanese Qualitative Research

    Written by: James Parsons

    This paper will argue that Qualitative research and Japan don’t mix. That what goes by the name of qualitative research in Japan is, in many cases, something very different; a beast that has - in evolving to fit Japanese cultural assumptions, business reflexes and participant behaviours - been stripped of its ability to reveal consumer insight and provide real value. The paper will explore the reasons for this dichotomy and propose a new way forward for Japanese research that takes the best of both worlds.

  • Global Method, Local Approach: How the Japanese Group Can Gain Focus

    Written by: Drago Djourov

    Overseas researchers and marketers have felt much frustration with the quality and depth of the focus group in Japan. We will argue that the failure to conduct groups optimally is a result of ignoring cultural differences in the approach to the context of the focus group and the respondent; and also the dominance of a quantitative mindset within marketing research in its approach to the facility and moderator. This paper proffers ways to rectifying these misguided approaches.

  • Getting Connected: Redefining the traditional debrief

    Written by: Annie Auerbach, Richard Hall

    A new media landscape has irrevocably altered how people interact with each other, how communities are formed, how opinions are shared. This landscape is technology-led and technology-enabled, and has occasioned key shifts in the way consumers think about the world around them and about brands. We’re going to talk about how brands are dealing with these issues and the challenges that face market research.

  • Sonic Semiotics

    Written by: Chris Arning

    The Role of Music in Marketing Communications.

  • Emerging Signals; A Catalytic Gaze into the Semiotic Crystal Ball

    This is part of a series of short articles in which Flamingo International’s semiotic team examines the impact of signs and mythologies on contemporary brands. These dispatches from the frontline are aimed to stimulate thought rather than to offer final definition, for in the end semiotics is not a scientific formula extracting ‘truth’, but an analytical methodology in pursuit of meaning.

  • Commitment to Irony? A Semiotic Analysis of Diesel Advertising

    Written by: Chris Arning

    This essay examines the discourses and codes at work in Diesel brand advertising. Diesel is a fascinating subject for semiotic analysis because their work is invariably both visually arresting, deliberately controversial and foregrounds the symbolic and textual features of the advertising.

  • PowerPoint is not written in Stone

    Written by: James Parsons

    This paper observes that Microsoft PowerPoint has achieved great ubiquity as a means of business and organisational communication. It argues that there are meanings and structures embedded in the medium, and similarly, meanings and structures associated with the conventions of its usage. The paper considers these, and urges consideration of how practitioners of market research, especially in the qualitative sector, can use the medium to greater effect and develop their own reflexes to aid inspiring communication.

  • Hide n Seek

    Written by: Lyn McGregor

    This paper explores a major issue facing brands and organisations – the need to stimulate fresh thinking and prepare for tomorrow’s market. The paper demonstrates how a creative research design involving semiotics makes it possible to understand developments in different cultures and yet succeed in delivering insight that is of great relevance to the client at a global strategy level.

  • Signs and Wonders

    The success of semiotics as a research methodology has led to the absorption of some of its key methods into mainstream research (e.g. communication decoding, identifying emergent culture). If it is to have a future, semiotics must consider the role it will play as a methodological force in qualitative research. This paper offers a hypothesis as an answer to this timely question.

  • Trouble in Paradise

    Written by: Kirsty Fuller, Anniki Sommerville

    This paper takes a close look at the way men and women are portrayed within our current advertising culture and suggests that if brands are to continue to engage and inspire they need to rethink how they play the gender game. In a bid to be contemporary many brands have focused their efforts on the female characters in their executions, developing them in such a way as to undermine male self-esteem and to imply rancour and competition between the sexes. It is this paper’s contention that across sexes and lifestages this approach is declining in resonance.

  • A million consumers, a million brands

    Written by: Will Eglington

    Drawing from PlayStation's qualitative research programme, this paper will argue that the latest generation of digital brands represent a step change in the relationship between brand and consumer. It discusses how these brands, unlike others, are given meaning not in the public, social sphere but in the privacy of millions of homes and imaginations. In effect, these are not brands made by marketeers, but brands people make for themselves…

  • Even Cowboys Get the Blues

    Written by: David Burrows

    This paper sets out to argue that the influence American culture exerts on (young adult) European consumers is showing signs of decline, as a result of a decline in the relevance of the values of the 'America Brand', as currently expressed. It attempts to provide explanation for this phenomenon, with examples from a number of areas. And it points to some of the implications for marketing, leading to hypotheses about how brand owners can best define and communicate their brand's values to Europeans against this backdrop.

  • Hip-Hop: Subculture or Super Brand?

    Written by: Chris Arning, Ednyfed Tappy

    We believe that a true understanding of the appeal of hip-hop can have valuable implications for marketers seeking to connect with young people. Hip-hop incorporates a number of key values which resonate powerfully with the youth target. This paper seeks to describe and explore these values and how they work, before articulating the interaction between hip-hop and the world of brands – an interaction which has rich potential if it can be properly harnessed.

  • Brand Extension or Brand Pretension

    Written by: Kirsty Fuller, James Parsons

    This paper explores the limitations and value of qualitative research in a brand extension programme. Presented at the AQR/QRC conference in Paris it calls for the qualitative research industry to move away from the role of ‘consumer mouthpiece’ and to engage fully in the strategic thinking underpinning the extension initiative. The paper presents a model for exploring brand extension opportunities, in which strategic thinking and consumer understanding are combined. The application of the model is illustrated throughout with examples drawn from Levi’s, Sony, PlayStation and Lynx.

  • Choose Change

    Written by: Maggie Collier, Kirsty Fuller

    Describing an approach to qualitative research which helps companies shape the future brand and advertising landscape. It explores the definition of leading edge and argues that for any one brand there is a multiplicity of leading edge targets depending on whether design, advertising, product development or product usage is the subject of the study. It dispels the myth that 'the leading edge' exists as an entity relevant across categories (a view particularly prevalent in the youth market) and looks at how each brand must define its own leading edge.

  • Cool Mindshare

    Written by: Kirsty Fuller

    This paper looks at the role of forward-looking trend research and analysis in helping to protect the cool equity and youth credibility of the Levi's ® brand. From the start point of qualitative research, it examines the importance of instinct and intuition in looking beyond immediate category competitors of the Levi's brand, to understand the potential pressure on the brand's share of 'cool mind' from a variety of youth brands. It concludes by illustrating how Levi Strauss & Co. are using this learning to retain their position in the youth marketplace.

  • Scouting

    Written by: Jo Adams, Anniki Sommerville

    This paper sets out to show how research and specifically youth research can offer genuinely exciting and inspirational insight and information via a simple but alternative approach to recruitment, discussion and analysis.

  • Truth or Dare

    Written by: James Parsons

    In this paper we describe a philosophical conflict which is underway and present at all levels of our culture today. The conflict is between a traditional framework for understanding truth and reality, and a second, increasingly important paradigm which valorises relative, subjective experience. This paper was presented at the Esomar conference in Budapest.

  • Up Close and Personal

    Written by: Jo Adams, David Burrows

    This paper discusses approaches to youth research designed to gain the maximum understanding. It looks at methodologies and techniques which go beyond the classical qualitative remit, challenging traditional notions of researcher objectivity, arguing that more subjective approaches to the world of the youth consumer enable a more contextualised vision of their world, and their relationship with brands.

  • What's behind an answer?

    Written by: James Parsons

    This paper has at its heart a research project that took place in Jamaica and the USA in January 1999, conducted for Red Stripe Beer. It's essentially a case study, though it aims to go far beyond the particular issues in this study, and look at the analytical challenges that have to be considered when examining consumer responses in radically different markets, governed by fundamentally differing background factors.