Is it time to ditch the imposter syndrome label?

Day One Podcast: Insights Room 101

Episode 03: Caroline Frankum

On The Day One podcast – Insights Room 101, hosted by Hannah Mann, our guests describe three of their worst insight industry pet peeves and aims to lock one of them away forever in Room 101, much like the popular British TV show.

In the third episode, Kantar’s global CEO of Profiles – Caroline Frankum, walks through three trends in insights culture that she despises. She describes each of the three and offers guidance toward how we could actually solve these problems. The main pet peeves Caroline describes are the tendency to use old words to define a new world, the problem of impostor syndrome, and panel commoditization. For each of the three pet peeves, Frankum describes her own experience and offers reasons why the world of market research would be better without these evils.

Originally intending to be a hairdresser, Frankum instead pursued business management while at university. Fresh out of school, she got a job as a runner at Classic FM. A few floors up, there was a market research division, and Caroline spent some time up there learning about the database. After this, she spent the better part of a decade climbing the corporate ladder and blazing new trails. She has earned a reputation for her commitment to helping clients achieve gender parity and increasing access to an equal workplace.

 The first pet peeve that Caroline wishes to banish forever is the tendency to use old words to define a new world. By doing this, our corporations could adopt the language that people actually use for themselves. One benefit here is that people will more likely share their own data, or at the very least provide higher quality data if they feel represented. This could help companies grow their market base by building trust and displaying their values transparently.

 The second pet peeve to be thrown in the dungeon is the dreaded impostor syndrome. Impostor seems to be getting a lot of “air time” at the moment, Caroline says. She quotes a study that shows we have effectively added a generation toward achieving gender parity as a result of COVID. On top of this, impostor syndrome has women reaching the C-suite questioning their own validity, like “did I only get this because I’m a woman?” Caroline brushes this off and encourages women to throw off the devil of impostor syndrome and trust in their own ability to get the job done.

She shares a few times that she may have encountered impostor syndrome, including a time that she was able to interview a young Oasis music band and felt she was unfit for the gig. Caroline urges the listener to not define yourself by others’ opinions, as that’s no way to live. We can help fight off impostor syndrome by sharing our stories. Trust in your own ability is the best weapon. People may think you performed poorly, but the only thing that matters is that you believe in your own performance. “Allow yourself the time to reflect on where you can improve, but allow yourself time to move on,” Caroline recommends.

 The last thing Caroline would like to banish forever is how the market research industry prioritises panelists. We have to remember that panelists are human, and that they provide valuable information. Everyone is holding the bar so high, and they all expect a great experience from the products they buy.  One solution is to squeeze the rewards that are offered to panelists, while simultaneously reducing the risk.

 Choosing impostor syndrome to banish forever, Caroline believes more people would be empowered to assume the full weight of the roles they win, which could actually change the world. The death of impostor syndrome could even lead to the gender revolution the corporate world needs. Gender parity requires the joint effort of men and women to be successful.

About – Caroline Frankum:

Caroline Frankum is the Global Chief Executive Officer of Profiles at Kantar. Her biggest passion is helping businesses to grow into more inclusive and equitable versions of themselves. She holds herself accountable for women and the disenfranchised in the corporate world. She is a champion of women in leadership, and she boasts many awards and great recognition for her achievements in workplace equality.

Relevant Links:

Caroline’s LinkedIn.