About BReW

Information about our company and our philosophy

BReW (The Brand Repair Workshop) was founded by Butch Rice in 2016 to utilise his four decades of research experience globally, combined with the latest thinking in behavioural economics, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and digital data collection methods to bring valid, reliable insights to brands around the world.

As a digital-first company, our business overheads are minimal, in contrast to traditional research companies, who have layers of management to be remunerated, even though they are not actively involved in projects.

Because we run lean and mean, our clients enjoy significant cost savings, compared to most other research agencies, while also benefiting from decades of experience and cutting-edge expertise in the digital space.

Who we are

Butch Rice, Johan van der Merwe (senior researcher), and Claudette Steenkamp (data analyst) first worked together at Pondering Panda, a digital research company launched by Butch at the request of Mxit in 2012, a mobile phone messaging platform based in South Africa. 7 million interviews were conducted by Pondering Panda across Africa in 4 years, which we believe to be a global record for the number of interviews in that space of time.

Shortly after leaving Pondering Panda, the team joined forces again under BReW, due to client requests, to continue providing expert digital research and analysis to both local and international brands.


Butch Rice

In 1979 Butch co-founded Research Surveys, which grew to be the largest consumer research company in South Africa in 20 years, employing 200 full-time employees, and 1000 field staff at the time of his exit from the company in 2000, after selling his stake in the company. Research Surveys was acquired by TNS (now Kantar) after his retirement.

In 1990 the Conversion Model, co-founded by Butch, was launched in the United States, and was the first brand health metric of commitment globally. It remains the most widely used model of its type in the world. In 2000 Butch co-authored “ Commitment-Led Marketing “, published by John Wiley in the UK. It was subsequently published in paperback by Juta in South Africa, as well as being translated into German. In terms of sales, the book has been highly successful.

Butch has published more than 30 research papers locally and internationally, and has been the recipient of best paper awards at industry conferences in South Africa, Australia, and Europe.




Johan van der Merwe

Johan van der Merwe has an MA in History from the University of Nottingham in the UK. After graduating he stayed on in the UK and worked for a digital marketing agency near London for two years. After returning to South Africa, he joined Pondering Panda in a communications role, but under the mentorship of Butch Rice he quickly picked up digital research design and analysis while at the company, ultimately joining the research team. He has since developed his expertise in all facets of digital research working closely with Butch at The Brand Repair Workshop.

Talk to us about your research needs.