Families From New Zealand.

Social research

The public sector faces unique pressures and constraints.  Colmar Brunton recognised this early on in its life and in 1994 created a special unit dedicated to helping public sector organisations achieve their aims – the Social Research Agency. We are a team of public sector specialists who have the skills, experience and passion to use research to help achieve social goals.

Our aim is to help social profit organisations achieve their aims through a collaborative approach to strategy and planning. We bring alive the needs, concerns, motivations and attitudes of your target audience to work with you as ‘thought partners’ in developing effective policy, communications, services, and initiatives.  So that together, we can shape a better community.

Behavioural insights

The success of many government policies and priorities rests on attaining positive behaviour change. Through listening first-hand to New Zealanders, and drawing on disciplines such as social psychology and behavioural economics, we work with public sector clients to develop a deep understanding of human behaviour and how to change it. We provide behavioural understanding to shape the development of communications and social marketing programmes as well as evaluating the progress and success of these.

Building trust and reputation

Public sector reputation is shaped through perceptions of trustworthiness, fairness, social responsibility, and leadership.  We work with public sector organisations to understand how they perform on these in the customer’s eyes, and in turn how reputation and trust can be enhanced.

Customer experience

The public sector face distinctive challenges in the design and delivery of customer services.  Not only do public services have to deliver equitably to a ‘captive’ audience, there is increasing budgetary pressure to do more for less.

Data analytics

We are living in a world of data – everyone someone says or does anything online and sometimes offline that is another data point that can be collected and analysed.  There is so much data available – whether it is from a client’s own database or from a third party source – that sometimes we don’t need to conduct primary data to solve a client’s problem.  We can simply combine and analyse the vast array of data that is already out there.


What makes us fascinating, complex human beings also makes us unpredictable and elusive consumers. Understanding and influencing human behaviour has never been easy for brands; it is now more challenging than ever before.

How can you uncover the human stories that will empower your business to be bolder and sharper in addressing challenges of the future?

Our ‘Open Thinking’ approach enables us to think flexibly about your business issues, and work with multiple sources of data to address them. We regard qualitative research as a mindset that is sensitive to context, the evolving environment and the promise of data and technology. Open thinking is about curiosity and co-creation. It’s about combining empathy with science to bring you the full picture.

Shaping stakeholder relationships

We work with public sector agencies to examine and measure stakeholder opinion.  The ensuing insights act as a catalyst for cultural change.

Understanding 'what works' - informing and evaluating policy initiatives

The Government places a strong focus on initiatives and social innovations that make the greatest difference to our communities. Better outcomes are achieved when the design of these are driven by an in-depth understanding of the customer and ‘what works’.