The Research Agency unveils AU branch

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MELBOURNE, Wednesday: NZ-founded TRA (The Research Agency), has opened its first Australian office, appointed Mark Hobart as partner and announced John Shanahan & Rob McLachlan as members of its Australian Advisory Board.

TRA has capabilities in research, strategy, behavioural science, cultural analysis, data and analytics, design and new ventures development. Founded in New Zealand in 2007 by Andrew Lewis and Amber Coulter, TRA’s expansion is in response to its growing roster of iconic, cross-category Australian and Trans-Tasman brands who want access to the agency’s innovative and multi-disciplinary approaches. 

Andrew Lewis, TRA’s Auckland-based MD, said: “We are excited to bring our proposition and capabilities to Australia. Our client base is strong, and the unique offering of a boutique client experience backed by a large-scale insights provider positions us well in Australia.

“Our fresh approach to the research category is the perfect fit for Australia. And, because our Australian operation will be backed by the frameworks, tools, IP and capabilities of the New Zealand team, I am confident the combined strengths will build something truly different in this market,” he said.

“Mark Hobart has been appointed as TRA Partner in Melbourne following a 20-year career in senior insights, brand, and innovation roles. He has experience solving some of the big challenges for clients, both in Australia and Europe and across a broad range of sectors.

“Before TRA, Mark was strategy director at The Lab, where he led several high-profile strategy projects for leading Australian brands.”


“Because our Australian operation will be backed by the frameworks, tools, IP and capabilities of the NZ team, I am confident the combined strengths will build something truly different in this market.”

Hobart has worked with Vodafone, Mastercard, Mars, L’Oreal, Shell, KraftHeinz, Fonterra, Skype, Orange, Samsung, Coca-Cola, and Kimberly-Clark.

To support the Australian expansion, Rob McLachlan (ex Kantar & Nielsen) and John Shanahan (current owner of The Advantage Group, and ex Colmar Brunton & Nielsen) will join TRA co-founders Amber Coulter & Andrew Lewis, on the Australian advisory board.

Mark Hobart, said: “Joining TRA was an easy decision to make. I have the opportunity to be part of a start-up, build a team, create something terrific  and grow with it. And the best part of this opportunity is that I can bring the incredible capabilities and resources from the broader TRA team to our clients here in Australia.”

Lewis said: “I believe we have found the perfect person to bring insights to life and influence the way our clients make decisions for the benefits of their customers.

“In 2021, TRA Group has recruited over 25 new employees. This recruitment campaign will continue in Australia as TRA builds its world-class capability.”

About TRA and TRA Group
TRA is an insight agency – a part of TRA Group, that manages client relationships through its offices in Auckland and Melbourne. Other businesses in TRA Group include Zavy, a social media insights and listening tool and the brand health platform Tracksuit. In 2018 TRA was awarded Gold for the most effective piece of insights work globally by ESOMAR. In 2020 & 2018 it was named 5th most innovative media or marketing company in Australasia by the Australian Financial Review.


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