Based in New York City, Lee Abbas is the Managing Director at Kadence International, a marketing insight agency with offices in the USA, UK, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and China. Keep reading below for Lee's inspiring insights about market research, US market trends to watch and her favorite NYC restaurants.
You've had an interesting career path, can you walk us through it?
I started my career in marketing launching new digital technologies into the U.S. market for Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. This set the tone for the rest of my career as I fell in love with new technology and new digital platforms and how consumer insights shaped the efforts of good marketing.
I made the transition to Ad Agency side through an OgilvyOne YouTube competition called “Search for the World’s Greatest Salesperson.” I was one of three finalist that were chosen to speak at the Cannes Lions Festival. I have spent nearly a decade helping consumer financial brands like American Express, Bank of America, and Citibank develop there acquisition campaigns and strategies.
Now, I have taken my passion for consumer insights one step further as I take on the role of Managing Director to launch Kadence International’s New York office. Kadence is an award winning global boutique marketing research firm that has 10 hubs around the world, mostly positioned in key markets in Asia.
Could you tell us about what your current role as a Managing Director entails?
Launching Kadence | New York is a one of a kind role that I am very excited to be a part of. The founder of our parent company, Cross Marketing Group, started his company as a start-up, so this is part of our corporate DNA. I have the opportunity to create from scratch a new strategic hub for Kadence International in the city I love - at the cross roads of the world’s culture, data, and innovation. Kadence is a very well-known and well-respected brand throughout our global hubs, and now I get to build that same level of prestige here in New York.
What's your favorite part of working in market research?
I learned early on in my career the importance understanding your consumers. I moved up very rapidly on the corporate ladder not just because I understood tech and digital, but because I was able to relate the features and specs to real consumer benefits. Now in market research, I get to focus on the aspect of my past positions that I loved the most, and had the most passion for - consumer insights.
What trends are happening in the US that market researchers should be watching?
We are moving beyond big data. Brands have figured out that data without meaning is a waste of time, and there is nothing worse that wasting time in the world of business. In order to be valuable to your clients, you need to be able cut through the waste and focus on the insights that are going to help their business grow. That is why at Kadence we stand behind our mantra of “Insight Worth Sharing.” We not only connect the dots for our clients, but we tell the story behind the data in a visual format that helps it spread throughout their organization and ultimately ignite action.
How has being an English major helped you in your career?
My favorite period of literature is the Victorian era - which really launched the format of the novel into popular culture. What novels have done, and continue to do, is tap into the natural human instinct to share our experiences in story form. Storytelling not only helps convey valuable information, but it is a format that intrinsically lends itself to being memorable and shareable. In my English studies, I studied storytelling formats from around the world, including East Asia, Europe, and in the Americas. I like to think that it is my ability to weave a story, make it memorable, relatable and most importantly entertaining is one of the reasons that I have been successful in my career.
You're currently based in New York City, what are some of your favorite places to go?
One of the best things about NYC is that you can get great food at every price point, and from nearly every country. Around the corner from my office (which is located at the heart of the financial district in downtown NY), is Delmonico’s which is one of Manhattan’s oldest restaurants. It’s famous for it’s steak and very well worth the high price tag. K-town has fond memories for me as I grew up near there, hanging around my parent’s store when I was young - any place on 32nd street between Broadway and 5th Ave is a guaranteed good meal. But growing up, my family always hit HanBat on 35th street - good traditional cooking with very reasonable prices. But everywhere I travel, I am most enticed by everyday street food. The growing popularity of “Halal Carts” has made the availability of tastes from the Middle East a New York staple! If you want to take it off the street and have some authentic Shawarma sandwiches though, go to Mamoun’s - inexpensive, flavorful, and surrounded by the heartbeat of the village (there is one at both East Village and West Village).
To get in touch with Lee find her on LinkedIn.