A little bit about us

#15 on the list of most innovative global
research companies

We partner with our clients to pilot and deploy innovative new solutions to uncover insight that drives growth and long-term brand equity.

15 of the top 20 global advertisers work with

Global organizations use our platform because it allows them to harness insights to create growth, but also ensure that every touch point is consistently reinforcing their brand promise.

17 years, 25 countries,60 HotStaff

We’ve come a long way in our 17 year history. We are now helping brands crack growth challenges in over 25 countries. We have 60+ amazing members of our Hotspex family, but you’ll learn more about them in our People section.

Our Platform

Growth through Segmenting & Targeting

How do I create segments that go beyond traditional needs states by identifying functional and emotional drivers of behaviour and ensure that my organization understands these consumer segments in their activation?

Growth through Brand Strategy

What are the functional, emotional, and personality attributes that will optimize my brand’s growth in a globally scalable way? How can I align my brand architecture and brand assets to support optimal growth?

Growth through Remarkable Ideas and Brand Activation

How do I identify and prioritize new consumer and communication targets, product innovations, and in-store activations earlier in the creative process to save non-productive marketing dollars and get these ideas into market sooner?


Growth of Brand Equity through Relentless Consistent Touch Points

How can we align all of our internal stakeholders and external agencies to consistent brand execution across omni-channel touch points, so that we build brand equity while growing our business?

Tell us about your challenge

What makes us different

  1. We help you empathize with your consumer on a much deeper level.
  2. We can dissect your brand and its assets to really understand what is driving or inhibiting growth.
  3. We help you earlier in the creative or design process to improve and fast track remarkable ideas.
  4. We engage your internal stakeholders and external agencies on learning journeys that go beyond testing and validation.
  5. We help you, your marketers, and your agencies ensure that every new idea or touch point is consistently executed against your brand promise.

Depth. Granularity. Specificity. Sensitivity…

Smart Decisions. Grow your Business. Build Long-Term Brand Equity.

Need to find out how to turn your brand around?

Changing your packaging? Have you identified your iconic assets?

What if you could identify remarkable ideas well before production?

Who's thinking long-term for your brand?

Tell us about your challenge


"I really think what you do with emotion is unique. Other companies say they measure emotions, but they only touch on it. They don’t have a deep understanding of emotions and what to do about it like Hotspex does."

Insights Director, Leading Global CPG company

The Team

We call our family of 60+ amazing people our HotStaff.

We asked our HotStaff for the top 3 reasons they work here:

  1. You get to work with TOP global brand and work on really cool projects
  2. Incredible opportunity to grow and develop – we work hard
  3. We are a family and we have lots of fun (in a kind of nerdy way)
Alexandra Frankel

Alexandra Frankel

VP, Cognitive Media Targeting
Joe Spencer

Joe Spencer

VP Innovation & Research Solutions
Luke Austin

Luke Austin

SVP Research, North America
Aron Galonsky

Aron Galonsky

Managing Director, USA
Jonathan La Greca

Jonathan La Greca

VP Strategic Growth & Innovation
Shane Skillen

Shane Skillen

Ashley Robson

Ashley Robson

VP Research
Kamala Allsop

Kamala Allsop

Michael Dorr

Michael Dorr

SVP Research
Gera Nevolovich

Gera Nevolovich

SVP Growth, Sales & Marketing
Kristina Dadswell

Kristina Dadswell

VP Research
Toby Pilling

Toby Pilling

VP Technology
Average # of cups of coffee our staff consumes a day
Projected # of studies we'll deliver this year
# of countries we've conducted studies for this year
# of years Hotspex has been around!

Recent News

“See more of our thought leadership…”




February 7 – 8, London UK
by Michael Dorr, Managing Director – Hotspex UK

The world of retail is rapidly changing.  Shoppers are adopting new channels (e.g. online, click & collect), new payment methods (e.g. AliPay) plus a myriad of new product/brand innovations. This year’s Executing Shopper Insights conference explored the impact of these changes, specifically…

  • How is shopping behaviour changing?
  • How is this affecting consumers’ attitudes toward retailers & brands?
  • How can we find meaningful insight through the latest methods / thinking?

Some of my personal highlights from this year’s conference….


Among this year’s roster of speakers was Hannah Jackson from The Body Shop. Hannah spoke about the Body Shop’s strong brand affinity in China (despite having no physical presence in China). To tap into this in the UK, The Body Shop UK has trialed promotions that use Alipay (a leading mobile payment, social networking app). This highly successful campaign engaged Chinese consumers visiting the UK during peak holiday periods (including Chinese New Year and Golden Week).

This example highlights the massive impact that mobile has had on retail, generating boundless (and geographic boundary-less) opportunity for brand and retailers. Currently China leads the way, with mobile payments 50X higher than US (2017).  Adoption of platforms like Alipay and WeChat Wallet are expected only to grow in the future. Shopper Insights professionals must anticipate this shift (as well the onslaught of new data & metrics that will come along with it).

Another example of change, is the growth in Click & Collect. At the conference, we heard from Darren Smith from TJX Europe who shared an interesting side-effect of TJX’s Click & Collect program – it’s driving more in-store activity.  Apparently, shoppers cannot resist the urge to pop in and browse (after picking up their click & collect items). This is a great reminder to researchers: avoid narrowly viewing shoppers by channel (e.g. in-store shoppers vs. online shoppers vs. click & collect shoppers) – they are often the same person.


Another theme was the over-abundance of choice that shoppers face today.  In response, we have developed shortcuts as a way of coping with so much choice. Shoppers use a process of ‘down selecting’ or ‘de-selecting’, i.e. a nonconscious technique to identify and discard products/brands/packages that are not relevant. This helps us understand the auto-pilot behaviour frequently observed among shoppers (i.e. ~80% of grocery shopping is done in auto-pilot mode).

In an interesting case study by Premier Foods (presented by Emma Tappin), it was observed that the more time a shopper navigates a shelf, the fewer items that they notice at shelf. Why? When shoppers are searching for an item, they are employing a process of elimination (i.e. de-selection) as a way of helping them navigate.

And now, given the growth in online retail, shoppers are facing even more choice. Brands like Amazon are tapping into shoppers’ desire to simplify their lives (and their shopping needs) by offering automatic top-ups. Given this new reality, how can new brands (or smaller competing brands) get on shoppers’ radar? We need to ensure that we’re evaluating all new product ideas in a shopping context (to account for the behaviours outlined above). New ideas fail in market, often because they neglected to understand shoppers’ actual behaviours. In life, and in research, context is key.


Several speakers provided some inspiring ideas of how to engage shoppers. Some that stood out:

  • Starbucks Roastery: this concept store takes Starbucks shoppers to the next level. Going beyond just selling coffee and beans, this retail environment offers a multi-sensory and educational experience. Click here more info.
  • The Monkey 47 Winter Lodge: this pop-up lounge in the heart of London (at the Rosewood Hotel) showcases Pernod Ricard’s brands, namely Monkey 47 gin. This beautiful winter retreat (heated seats, faux fur, cottage-like décor, etc.) is a subtle but effective vehicle for Pernod Ricard brands.


The most interesting part of the conference, for me, was the discussion on principles and philosophies informing the latest in Shopper Insights research.  From Byron Sharp’s How Brands Grow, Kahneman’s Thinking Fast & Slow, Behavioural Economics / Nudge Theory and more.  From this wealth of thinking, we know that shopping behaviour is highly subconscious; thus, our research methods must measure shoppers’ implicit attitudes while also observing in-situation behaviours.

At Hotspex, these are cornerstone principles that inform how we evaluate brand, packaging, distinctive assets, and more.   If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to request a Hotspex Lunch & Learn on Shopper Based Design, Packaging Research and/or Measuring Distinctive Brand Assets (email us at info@hotspex.com).  Thanks again to speakers and organizers of the Executing Shopper Insights conference.  We will see you again in 2019!!

What’s Keeping CMOs Up At Night?

Live at The Quirk’s Event in Brooklyn NY, February 28, 2018

With CMO tenure shrinkage a near constant, what does the future of the marketing function hold?

  • Will the CMO go extinct, being replaced by Chief Growth Officers?
  • What is the impact of this on the long-term brand building?
  • The impact on the career trajectories for marketers?
  • What does all this mean for the insights business?
  • How do current CMOs want their insights served up?
  • How will the requirements for successful insights leaders change in the coming years? Where are the emergent opportunities in insights going to reveal themselves?

Shane has had the privilege to interview many sitting and recently departed CMOs to find answers to these questions. Shane will give a provocative talk that will help all stakeholders of the insights industry understand what the future holds.


  1. The future of marketing straight from the CMOs’ lips. 
  2. What is keeping CMOs up at night that insights professionals can help with. 
  3. How CMOs are looking for insights professionals to evolve in the future. 

Presented by Hotspex CEO Shane Skillen. If you are unable to attend but would like to schedule a lunch and learn about this topic, please reach out to us at brandbuilders@hotspex.com

How to Significantly Improve Marketing ROI and Ad Effectiveness with Google AI and Hotspex Behavioural Science

Live at IIeX Europe in Amsterdam Feb 19, 2018

Shane Skillen, CEO of Hotspex, interviewed CMOs of Fortune 1000 Companies and the central theme he came across was that they are all looking for innovative ways to improve their Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) to grow brands. 

It’s no surprise as some Wall Street Analysts have $1 trillion as the annual amount spent on advertising. CMOs are on the hook to maximize this massive marketing investment and even small improvements can have significant effects on business outcomes. And if this wasn’t challenging enough, the privacy protection laws soon to be instituted by the EU (GDPR) will make targeting specific people even more challenging. A new solution is required.

Hotspex and Google (the world’s largest digital advertising platform) partnered to develop a revolutionary new solution that uses Google’s AI-Powered Knowledge Graph and Hotspex’s Human Motivation Mapping to target people with ad messages when they are in the right mood. When ads are aligned to content using behavioural science, magic truly happens.  

Across banking, CPG, automotive, retail, and several other industry verticals, Hotspex’s Cognitive Media Targeting has resulted in better viewing experiences for consumers and significantly more impactful advertising with ad recall, click-through rates, and purchase intent all showing very significant lifts.

The solution is a Software as a Service model, so it’s easily and cost-effectively deployed. Client-side research leaders and agency professionals can use current research (segmentations, ad tests, pack tests, concept tests, ethnographies, etc.) to calibrate the Cognitive Media algorithm. This then results in a targeting package that any brand or media agency can load into Double Click or Ad Words to unleash the benefits of Cognitive Media Targeting. 

Come learn about the future of advertising so that you can be in the know and have something impactful that you can immediately bring back to your organization. As insights professionals we need to know enough about media to be dangerous, as for many brands, media is the key growth enabler. 

We look forward to seeing you at this talk at IIeX Europe 2018 in Amsterdam. If you can’t join the talk but are interested in seeing the video, reach out to us at brandbuilders@hotspex.com

The Future of Marketing – Key Insights from the CMA

Author: Jonathan La Greca
VP Strategic Growth, Hotspex

Thanks to our partnership with NLogic, Hotspex and several of our clients were invited to attend and enjoy front row seats at the Canadian Marketing Association’s Future of Marketing event.

As part of our post-event debrief with our partners and clients, I’d like to share the insights that resonated most with everyone who attended.

Read More

3 Ways for Consumer Insights Leaders to Win Back Control in the Face of Budget Cuts

Author: Jonathan La Greca
VP Strategic Growth, Hotspex

With companies facing disruption and fears of being acquired by private equity firms, consumer insights leaders are being asked to do more with reduced budgets and fewer resources.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a university alumni summit presentation by Jeanine Basset, VP of Global Consumer Insights at General Mills, as she shared her wisdom on how insights leaders can manage to do more with less.

Jeanine shared three tangible ways insights leaders can manage their perspective and approach in the face of change and adversity:

Read More

ESOMAR Congress 2017

Sept 11-13
by: Michael Dorr, Managing Director – Hotspex UK

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the ESOMAR Congress in Amsterdam. This year’s conference celebrated ESOMAR’s 70th anniversary and the theme was “Visionary”. More than ever, our industry needs to be focused on the future amid ongoing disruptions and ever-rising expectations from our clients and stakeholders. This year’s conference challenged us, as researchers, to think bigger and to embrace the future, while still promoting and upholding high standards for quality research. 

Read More

Contact Us

  •  To contact us at our North America Head Office:
    40 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 801
    Toronto , Ontario M4P 3A2 Canada
  • Main: +1.416.487.5439
    Toll Free: 1.855.586.6531

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