Advertising News South Africa

Irish firm Sens appoints global ad leader Mike Abel as non-executive chairman

Sens, an Irish market research firm blending behavioural science with BehaviourTech and AI, has appointed Mike Abel, a global advertising leader, as non-executive chairman. This move aims to expand sens's proven solutions to a wider audience.
Mike Abel bas been appointed as a non-executive chairman for Sens. Source: Supplied.
Mike Abel bas been appointed as a non-executive chairman for Sens. Source: Supplied.

Experience and clarity

Abel, whose non-executive chairmanship is siloed from the day-to-day operations of Sens, will bring vision, a global network and experience, clarity, and innovation to the business, which is already producing outstanding results for blue-chip clients and is ready for the next phase of its growth.

Abel believes the solutions provided by Sens will be a turning point for the industry at large.

“When I looked under the skin of Sens I was genuinely impressed. I have been in marketing and advertising for 35 years and this business is truly innovative, in the real sense of the word. Performing mass qualitative research using technology is a compelling proposition because it speaks to a more cost-effective model, far shorter lead times, a higher level of accuracy, and the ability to scale.”

Abel says that businesses not only want to attract, retain, and grow customers, but also attract, retain, and grow employees.

“There is an immense opportunity for clients, marketing agencies, consultancies, HR departments, CEOs, and much more, to understand real-time sentiments genuinely and accurately and to uncover truths in the perception and relationship towards a brand and business.

"If you understand how people feel about something, accurately, and understand their need states, then you’re able to adapt your response to shift their behaviour – which equals growth. I am energised to steer sens and be at the forefront of BehaviourTech to bring this capability to more businesses, and to use it as a powerful new industry tool.”

The appointment of Abel does not affect his role as executive chairman of M&C Saatchi Group South Africa, the business he founded 14 years ago.

Bringing vision and clarity

Seasoned business leader and entrepreneur Per Lagerstrom, who co-founded Sens with industry expert and entrepreneur Jacqui Young, says Abel’s appointment was the next logical step for the business.

“Mike brings more than an outstanding reputation; he brings the vision and clarity we need as we move towards scaling. Along with 10X Founder and highly successful businessman Steven Nathan, who has joined Sens as a non-executive director, we have assembled a team we believe will steer Sens on its new phase, for the overall betterment of an industry that has, until now, been left behind.”

Lagerstrom says that while the term “disruption” is often associated with aggression and turning industries on their heads, the purpose of Sens is to uplift and enrich the broader industry.

“We are equipping professionals, marketers, and business people with much better data than ever before, to make much more informed and accurate decisions than they have ever made. We have operated from client to client with great success, and now we are ready to step up and scale. We have successfully proven an MVP and have validated that we are onto something powerful.”

Sens, says Lagerstrom, solves two problems: It enables companies to better understand their customers and it gives consumers a better voice.
Sens marries extensive market research industry expertise with deep expertise in the world of behavioural science and technology to deliver comprehensive insights that are informed by science and expressed through AI and technology.

A key pillar of human communication, explains Lagerstrom, is non-verbal communication, and Sens’ ability to understand and interpret non-verbal cues, alongside what is being said, at scale and quickly, is a crucial step in unlocking valuable, and accurate, insights for businesses.


The industry, while well-intentioned, is currently too expensive and unreliable with long lead times meaning businesses react to old data, Lagerstrom explains, adding that sens’ proposition is designed around providing market research at a quarter of the current cost, at a quarter of the lead-time, and with 10 times the data quality.

“This is the ‘what’,” he says. “Science, AI and technology is how we do it.”

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