“Being close to the people has always been important at Norstat” – Interview with Knut Aasrud, CEO of Norstat Group

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You joined the company about one year ago and I hope you had a good time at Norstat so far. What are your personal reflections on the last year?

I definitely enjoyed the last year! One of my first impressions of Norstat was the fantastic group-wide kick-off weekend in Kvitfjell last January. Even though it was difficult to get to speak with all of the 180 staff members individually, I got a really positive feeling about the team spirit, the drive and the fun I was about to experience at Norstat.

Another highlight was our Rock’n Research tour – a series of client events across Europe. In my mind, especially the combination of inspiring presentations and a relaxed, informal atmosphere made these evenings a success and the feedback from clients was really positive. I’m already looking forward to our client events in 2016.

But obviously, my year was mainly about the strategic development of the company. When I started last year, the position of Norstat was already very good and our challenge is more about keeping up our growth while maintaining the quality of our work, the high customer satisfaction and of course the profitability. I’m happy to say that as a group we have succeeded with these ambitious targets, even though the macro-economic conditions have been challenging in some of our countries. So all in all, it has been another good year for Norstat!

Can you give us a short outlook on what is planned for 2016?

We want to continue the success story of Norstat, of course. I’m convinced that our success is closely linked to the quality of our online panels. Whether we talk about online surveys, qualitative studies or behavioral data, our panels are always at the heart of our services. This is why we continue to invest significantly into our panel recruitment and maintenance. We have started several initiatives to improve the membership experience and I’m sure we will see a major leap in the quality of our panels during the upcoming months.

This will be a highly relevant improvement, because we want to keep expanding in 2016. Our Italian operations for example are about to settle in our new office in Milan and underline our commitment to the Italian market. It allows us to be even closer to our clients, something we always attached high importance to at Norstat. We continue to develop our organization, and have hired a number of new people during the course of the year, people who share the dedication to customer service and high quality services. Even in our long-established markets we see new opportunities to grow, so all in all, our ambition is to continue and reinforce the development path we are on.

Last but not least, I’m sure that this year will be lot of fun again! To some degree this is part of Norstat’s DNA, as we always cared about human relationships, whether they are with respondents, clients or colleagues. And fun is the most pleasant and also the best way to maintain good relationships.

Thank you very much!