For our employee spotlight series, we’re speaking with employees throughout the company to get their unique perspective about working in the Marketing Research industry.
In this week’s installment, we profile Managing Director Andy Hiller. Andy joined The Bernett Group after a 40-year career in political reporting, most notable for WHDH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Boston. “The Hiller Instinct” – Andy’s reporting and analysis – was a featured segment on WHDH-TV for more than fifteen years. As political editor, he helped plan election coverage and managed the station’s polling. Andy has won an Emmy award for his political reporting, and was named Boston’s Best Reporter several times by Boston magazine.
We asked him about his transition to marketing research from the newsroom and his love of politics.
Q: While Bernett is obviously much different than the newsroom at WHDH, what similarities have you discovered about the two work environments since joining Bernett?
A: Bernett and a newsroom produce the same product: information. Then – at their best – they both tell engaging stories with that information. The reliability and accuracy of their information shapes their reputations and bottom lines. Their core value – truth – is also similar.
Q: What was it about politics that you originally fell in love with?
A: When I began reporting in the 1970’s, Politics (with a capital P) was the engine of change. In Atlanta, there was an explosion of access, growth, equality—and Justice! There was measurable progress. And Politics promised to bring more!
There were big problems, but a belief among Americans that government could solve them. Money was not an issue in those days. And while there were extremists on both ends of the ideological spectrum, there was also a center. The Vietnam War divided the country, but few thought it wouldn’t or couldn’t be put back together.
Q: What are you most excited about as you transition into a new career?
A: Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks! I’m about to find out. But reporters and researchers aren’t so different. Both collect data; both ask pointed questions ; both study and analyze, searching for trends and revelations.
Still, it’s the learning that’s most exciting, jumping from a pool you’ve been in forever to one where you don’t even know how deep the water is.
Q: If you had one piece of advice for your younger self just beginning his career, what would it be?
A: Don’t fool yourself: You do not control the journey.