When Warwick Hoare died on June 22, the industry lost a highly respected researcher and one of its major influencers of recent decades. Warwick was at the forefront of the move from research as a cottage industry to the large-scale, professional industry it is today.
Warwick and Tony Wheeler, together with Susan Mooyaart, set up Hoare Wheeler & Associates in Sydney in 1974. As Sue recalls “We didn’t have a lot of furniture or equipment to start with…our first desks were doors on trestles. All three of us helped out with whatever needed to be done and I remember Tony and Warwick turning their hands to running off questionnaires on the old Gestetner!”
Hoare Wheeler & Associates grew quickly and merged with Inview (Victoria) in 1981 to become Yann Campbell Hoare Wheeler (YCHW), one of the largest suppliers of ad hoc specialist market research.
By the time the company became part of the MRB Group in 1990, it was one of the most successful and professional in Australia. It later became a highly regarded member of the Millward Brown global network.
YCHW’s philosophy, “that every marketing research project be strategically necessary, that it be action-oriented and above all that our clients profit from it” was indeed Warwick’s personal view. He had a strong commitment to identifying the real research problem, spending time analysing the solution and thinking strategically for his clients. He believed in training and mentoring and was always considerate and patient to all who worked with him.
His mentoring was perhaps his most important legacy for the many people who came though the company. As one of the many researchers who went on to success in their later research careers recalls: “Warwick was a true gentleman in every respect and a great mentor to all of us that had the pleasure of working with him.”
Warwick and Tony fostered a family environment in the company, which was maintained as it grew. Warwick had a strong influence as mentor, adviser and friend. His impact came from his astute understanding of people, his empathy, and his ability as an engaging story-teller with a wide grin and great sense of fun.
Not content with staying in general research, Warwick and his partners believed strongly in innovation. He was involved in setting up Newspoll as a joint venture with News Limited in 1984, where he worked with Sol Lebovic, who recalls that “No-one else was of greater help and support in establishing Newspoll.” He worked on establishing SensoMetrics, the first dedicated sensory testing company, in 1989 and in 1991, he became head of CSM Australia, part of an international network offering customer satisfaction measurement, which was then rapidly gaining attention throughout the research world. Max Yann comments: “I am often asked why YCHW was so successful. Its success clearly rested with Warwick who was our senior strategist. He pushed us to take up every opportunity to innovate.”
In later years, Warwick became CEO of ATR Australia, supplying ratings data to OzTAM,
Warwick’s influence was also felt more widely. In 1987, he helped establish the Association of Market Research Organisations (AMRO; now ADIA) and became its first President. He was also instrumental in determining the Industry’s Industrial Relations Award that same year – an Agreement that continues to benefit employers and their employees today.
In his article remembering Stephen Jenke, who died in 2019, Warwick wrote “Old age is a time for reflection when we all eventually ponder the question of whether we made a difference”. I think everyone who worked with Warwick will agree that he made a difference, with his research expertise, insight, mentoring, and friendship.
Authors: Jane Gregory and Sue Bell
The Research Society sends our condolences to Warwick’s family, friends and colleagues.