AMD was co-founded in early July as an employee-owned partnership, and is officially launching today with corporate offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The company targets clients in the luxury goods, FMCG, information technology, and health and wellness sectors.
Stewart told Campaign Asia-Pacific that AMD is positioned in the middle of companies such as TNS, Ipsos, Nielsen, and McKinsey.
"It's not a research agency," he said. "It's not a traditional business consultancy, but a data-based market information firm that's able to integrate business-performance data, media-audit data, retail-audit data, consumption data, economic data—and translate them to actionable insights and recommendations."
Stewart and Cazes view themselves as "marketing information experts who complimented each other through a unique combination of talents and strengths". Both shared the belief that an essential gap existed in the Greater China marketplace in terms of timely information to allow clients to react in a more efficient and effective manner.
"Global research solutions are not adapted or scalable for China, especially in tracking and monitoring that leads to better ROI," Stewart said. "We have an understanding from the IMC perspective to drive business results via optimisation of communication planning."
AMD intends to fill this gap by providing made-for-Greater-China solutions, such as what it calls the 'China Pulse', which is similar to Nielsen's quarterly consumer confidence survey that also measures the degree of optimism that people feel about the overall state of the economy and their personal financial situation.
Claiming it to be a representative sample of China, the differentiator of the 'China Pulse', according to Stewart, will be that it is more specific about certain industries or product categories. "We're still working on the framework now, but the first wave will be out before the end of this year," he added.
Stewart previously served as managing director at Nielsen Consumer Research and BASES Greater China, while Cazes led one of Nielsen’s largest accounts (Unilever) in Northeast Asia. AMD's other partner on board is Yvonne Shen, who was most recently in charge of the development of the media ROI tracking system at L’Oreal APAC.
Having received capital investment from US-based Huntington Capital, AMD plans to recruit up to six partners and 35 employees by December. A three-year plan is also in place to develop in-house research technology with possible acquisitions if needed. AMD currently partners with data providers like Cido, CNCData, Research Panel Asia, and Lin Consulting.