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.

15 years, 25 countries,
60 HotStaff

We’ve come a long way in our 15 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)
Ashley Robson

Ashley Robson

AVP, Research
Jonathan La Greca

Jonathan La Greca

VP Strategic Growth & Innovation
Michael Dorr

Michael Dorr

SVP, Research
Toby Pilling

Toby Pilling

VP, technology
Eduardo Infante

Eduardo Infante

VP Research, Mexico & Latin America
Kamala Allsop

Kamala Allsop

Mike Henry

Mike Henry

VP, Client Services
Gera Nevolovich

Gera Nevolovich

SVP Growth, Sales & Marketing
Kristina Dadswell

Kristina Dadswell

VP, Research
Robert Laufer

Robert Laufer

SVP, Research
Joe Spencer

Joe Spencer

AVP, Innovation & Research Solutions
Luke Austin

Luke Austin

SVP Research, North America
Shane Skillen

Shane Skillen

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

Superbowl 2016: Why not so serious?



Perhaps our favorite time of year. Energy and excitement is bustling in every sports enthusiast. More than 114 million people sat in front of their TVs tuned into the big game, Super Bowl 50, to watch Peyton Manning plug Budweiser on one of the last and most exciting football game of the year.  The Super Bowl is a big event and Super Bowl 50 is as big as it gets. As much as we enjoy watching professional athletes compete, you know we’re really watching it for the ads.

The Super Bowl is a reflection of North America’s attitude. This attitude is captured in 30 second pieces of branded entertainment that get teased, analyzed, and recirculated in lists and GIFs for weeks after the game ends.  So while the big games score line was Broncos 24 Panthers 10, what was final score for the advertisers?

Humour: In Sad-vertising: Hit the Showers
In stark contrast to ads in 2015, where 4 of the top 6 rated ads were strongly emotional, heartstring tugging affairs, the age of sad-vertising seems to be, at least temporarily over. This year advertisers focused on dachshunds dressed as hot dogs racing towards a family of Heinz condiments and Kevin Hart freaking out about his daughter’s dating life.

So what happened to Budweiser’s lost puppies and Dodge’s octogenarians?

They didn’t develop positive mental associations with the brands.
If you recall the big advertising story of the 2015 ad cycle was the Nationwide advertisement entitled “Boy”, although you probably remember it better as that ad with the dead kid – don’t worry that’s how everyone remembers it.


In the aftermath of that ad, the Chief Marketing Officer for Nationwide had to issue a public apology, deal with the massive social media fallout, and then resign. Yikes! While that’s sad for him, the real victim here is Nationwide. Good branding builds mental availability, because it aligns brands with desirable neurological attributes and builds mental shortcuts that kick in at just the right time to drive consumers towards a purchase decision.

The ad is both sad – an emotion you don’t want your brand aligned with – and associates the company with death. Death, aside from being negative, is also, thankfully, quite a rare neurological pathway to activate so the brand really does itself no favours by being associated with it.

Contrast that campaign with the highest rated humorous campaign from the same year – Fiat’s “Little Blue Pill.”


The branding team behind that ad communicated their message clearly and reinforced all the right mental shortcuts to create mental availability. The ad is funny, memorable and still reinforces the brand promise of a strong car in a small stylish package. Is it coincidental that Fiat experienced a 19% revenue increase in the following quarter?

With Super Bowl ads now selling for an average of $5 million, up more than $500,000 from 2015, marketing agencies have a huge, albeit expensive, platform to showcase and promote their brands. With so much on the line it’s no surprise that brands have fallen back on humor in 2016. Humor is a proven method for building positive mental availability and with North Americans increasingly viewing the commercials as part of the entertainment, brands have taken notice.

This year’s commercials were studded with star actors, athletes, and famous characters. Amazon made its debut with Alec Baldwin and Dan Marino discussing how to build a “snack stadium”. Even the PSA stylings of Helen Mirren in her Budweiser ad calling you an idiot if you drink and drive aired on the comedic side of serious.


Only the coming year’s earnings will tell what resonated with audiences and what built positive mental associations in the minds of consumers. But if all of the top ad lists for the year are any indication, humour is the key to building positive mental availability with your consumers and thus growing your brand. That or unsolicited endorsements from future hall of famers.


The Good Ol’ Branding Game

SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 20: John Scott #20 of the San Jose Sharks skates around the ice with her daughters a day before the game against the Los Angeles Kings during the Stadium Series Game on February 20, 2015 at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

For those of us who are hockey fans, the controversy that is John Scott and the NHL 2016 All Star Game has made tidal waves on social and traditional media. The story, for those who aren’t inundated with hockey culture, goes like this:

In an effort to drum up interest in the NHL All Star Game, the league’s governing body decided to open up voting on teams’ captains to anyone with a working internet connection.

It went exactly as things normally do online.

After the tally was counted, John Scott, an aging heavy on the Phoenix Coyote’s 4th line, won the position of captain for the Pacific Division.  Scott’s selection as team captain made him into a human punch line. How the NHL responded to this is what makes this into a marketing lesson.

The NHL may have not entirely understood how their audience views them so we have taken the liberty of providing the league with some insights.

NHL 2014 Emotional Heat Map

*Emotional perceptions of the NHL. Taken from a general population sample of 690 respondents in 2014

The highlighted portion of our emotional perception heat map shows that a significant portion of the population views the league as loyal, respectful and most importantly trustworthy. It’s not that the league doesn’t know it either; their mission statement even starts with “We don’t own the game of hockey — we serve it.”  So how does the league go about fulfilling its Brand Promise to its fans?

Probably not by pressuring Scott to drop out of the All Star game   

The details of the what happened between Scott, the NHL, and a few of the league’s franchises is a story you can find on any sports website. For the sake of brevity, John Scott quickly found himself in the minors and ineligible to play in the All Star Game. From a brand perspective, the NHL, which promises integrity and trust, broke away from its emotional RIGHT SPACE and its fans’ expectations.

At Hotspex we preach Relentless Consistency as a key pillar of iconic and highly successful brands. This means that a brand needs to understand its promises and deliver on them across all its audiences’ touch points. It means delivering to customers, fans, and audiences, what they have come to expect from it. In the case of the NHL that was trust, loyalty and respect.

So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise when the league got called out on its maneuver and was publicly shamed on Twitter, Facebook and in sports bars across the northern hemisphere.  The hashtag #FreeJohnScott garnered about 1,796,118 social impressions in just 3 days on Twitter alone and spawned a slew of mocking images like this one:


The perplexing PR decision to bury Scott in the minors has forced the league into an embarrassing rush to try and save face. The tragedy, from a marketing perspective, is that this could have been a huge win for the NHL.  How better to live the brand values of trust, loyalty and respect than to honor the fans wishes? Even if those wishes were a somewhat mean spirited joke.

Turn this potential gaffe into an opportunity, execute your values with Relentless Consistency and show your fans and the sports media that the league values its promise to both players and fans.  Of course, you can’t do this if you don’t know where you stand in the first place, which just makes understanding your brand’s emotional RIGHT SPACE all the more important.

Interested in learning more about how the population views the NHL? NBA? LPGA? Or any other brands, email us or visit us at www.hotspex.com.

Uncover some insights before the Holidays with our Quick Turnaround Tools

Hotspex has recently launched a set of Quick Turnaround Tools to help you get quick reads on research questions you didn’t get to address yet this year. In some cases, we can deliver consumer feedback overnight!

If there are research questions that you need to answer by the end of the year or need a quick turnaround in the New Year, you may want to use our Quick Turnaround Tools.

Read More

The Best Insights Professionals are…
Brand Builders


We believe that research professionals should proactively lead their organizations to drive business results and create thriving brands.

Here are 3 of the most successful habits we have observed with some brilliant brand builders:

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

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Phone Number


Your Message