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)
Aron Galonsky

Aron Galonsky

Managing Director, USA
Joe Spencer

Joe Spencer

AVP, Innovation & Research Solutions
Luke Austin

Luke Austin

SVP Research, North America
Shane Skillen

Shane Skillen

Ashley Robson

Ashley Robson

AVP, Research
Jonathan La Greca

Jonathan La Greca

VP Strategic Growth & Innovation
Michael Dorr

Michael Dorr

SVP, Research
Eduardo Infante

Eduardo Infante

VP Research, Mexico & Latin America
Kamala Allsop

Kamala Allsop

Toby Pilling

Toby Pilling

VP, technology
Gera Nevolovich

Gera Nevolovich

SVP Growth, Sales & Marketing
Kristina Dadswell

Kristina Dadswell

VP, Research
Robert Laufer

Robert Laufer

SVP, Research
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



Is Explicit Measurement DEAD?

With all the excitement around implicit, is explicit measurement dead?

With implicit tools to tap into unconscious processing, we’ve moved light years ahead in connecting with, understanding, and predicting consumer behavior.

Implicit tools can provide us with unique insight into the unconscious processes that drive consumer behavior by measuring thoughts they may not even know they have – so-called “System 1” processes.

So with all the excitement around System 1, does this mean explicit measurement is dead? No, we don’t think so. While we share in the excitement around deepening our understanding of System 1, we believe it is important to remember that System 1 and 2 are working simultaneously to influence decision making and ensuing behaviors. To understand human behavior and motivation, it is important for us to leverage both implicit and explicit techniques.

It is a very exciting time for the insights community.  The key to extracting value from new implicit tools is to allow the business question to guide how these techniques can complement explicit measurement to provide invaluable insight into the elusive processes underlying human behavior. Leveraging these powerful techniques must maximize our ability to create actionable insights and craft stories that drive impact above all else!

Hotspex recently delivered a presentation on this cutting-edge topic at the inspiring IIeX nonconscious consumers Forum on November 14th, 2016.

We would be happy to share our presentation with you or run a lunch and learn with your team to help them start thinking about how they can apply the latest cognitive and behavioral sciences to build mental availability and accelerate brand growth – email us at brandbuilders@hotspex.com


Lead Author: Shannon RileyJonathan La Greca, Gera Nevolovich

Will the real Colonel Sanders please stand up?

Whether you are a baby boomer or a millennial, you likely know who Colonel Sanders is. The image of the Colonel is likely etched deep within your memory, and thinking of him may trigger a variety of different associations from fried chicken to buckets with stripes on them. These mental associations have been built and reinforced through years of advertising, purchasing, and consumption. Repeated exposure to the Colonel has been fairly consistent over the years. Well, that is until recently, when Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) decided to change things up a bit.

KFC’s strategy to leverage its most Distinctive Brand Asset – the Colonel
In what is being dubbed the “recolonialization”, KFC has put a renewed focus on its founder, the Colonel, to make up ground against its competitor Chic Fil A. KFC is likely hoping to utilize the halo effect of a man that was known to be a notorious stickler for quality to increase the perceived quality of its food. In a category where functional differentiation is challenging, KFC may be trying to leverage its most distinctive brand asset, the Colonel, to trigger associations of heritage as a point of distinction over competitors with less of a legacy.

Correctly activated, brand assets strengthen memory structures in consumers’ minds in a unique and powerful way. KFC may be using the Colonel to automatically activate appetite appeal through associations with the old-school, honest goodness of Southern cooking.

Read More

Congratulations Catelli!

Canadian families have a new delicious way to add vegetables into their diets, thanks to 2 new product innovations:  Catelli Smart Veggie™ and Catelli SuperGreens ™.   Hotspex is proud to be one of  Catelli’s insights & innovation partners on these delicious and innovative new products.

Catelli 2

Catelli Smart Veggie™ sneaks the goodness of carrots and cauliflower into our Catelli Smart® white pasta. In addition to fibre, it provides half a serving of vegetables in every 85 gram portion*. It’s the perfect solution for a nutritious, yet great tasting meal.
*Made from dried vegetables.

Catelli SuperGreens™ is the ultimate veggie pasta. Made from 100% Canadian wheat and the super-goodness of spinach, zucchini, broccoli and kale*, it’s big on nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, fibre, iron and calcium. It’s the perfect way to introduce a little green into your meal ideas.

*Made from dried vegetables.

Gotta Brand em’ All – Pokémon GO and McDonald’s Partnering

Unless you have young children, you probably hadn’t heard from Pokémon for a while, but that all changed with the buzz surrounding Pokémon GO, a mobile game that uses GPS to engage fans to play the game out in the real world.

In an astonishing fact, Pokémon GO has been downloaded more times in one week than the very popular relationship app Tinder has been in the past 4 years and according to some sources, it could surpass Twitter in terms of its daily active users!

Avid Pokémon GO players uncovered that a McDonald’s logo was hidden in the app data and hours later the Pokémon Company confirmed that there would be a branded tie in with the QSR. Some small businesses had already been capitalizing on the global game craze with fun signs or promotions, but this announcement marks the game’s first foray into official brand partnerships.

How does getting the attention of these Pokémon crazed smartphone wielders benefit McDonald’s?

Pokemon GO McDonald's Partnership


Physical Availability  

Early details seem to indicate that all McDonald’s locations in at least one country, rumored to be Japan, will be turned into “PokéStops” or “Pokémon Gyms”, which means players will  follow their GPS and congregate at these locations to engage in certain geographically tied in game activities.

In How Brands Grow, Byron Sharpe describes how physical availability drives brand growth. Simply put, brands that are more readily available, are more likely to fulfill consumer need states. When it comes to QSRs, brands can increase their physical availability by increasing the number and accessibility of their locations. Providing more reasons to attend their stores or locations creates new consumer entry points.

In this case, the game itself will drive traffic to these locations by making them desirable destinations for anyone playing. Given that these consumers will have likely been walking around for hours glued to their phones while playing, the Golden Arch labelled “PokéStop” are likely to trigger and satisfy hunger and thirst need states. It will be interesting to see how the potential washroom lineups impact paying, yet non-playing consumers.

A relatable example from Byron Sharpe’s book is how Sainsbury’s in the U.K. demonstrated sales growth over its competitors during the busy Christmas period of 2010 by simply purchasing 12,000 tons of salt and ensuring that their parking lots were always free of snow, making their retail locations more desirable and accessible.

The Halo Effect

In simple terms, the halo effect is the tendency for an impression created in one area or by one brand to influence opinion in another area or for another brand. McDonald’s has had a long standing partnership with Nintendo, previously supporting the company’s DS and 3DS systems with Wi-Fi enabled beacons and having strong brand ties with the Pokémon franchise through promotions and Happy Meal toys.

By highlighting this partnership, the positive associations consumers have towards Pokémon GO create a mental halo that McDonald’s can position itself to take advantage of. The partnership may also dial up new associations that further strengthen equity in the brand.

Brand Growth

McDonald’s is making a bet that this partnership will drive significant traffic and positive associations for the brand. Time will tell whether the game continues to garner the attention that it has so far , but in any event, we applaud McDonald’s for trying new things to build physical availability by making its retail sites more desirable and accessible. It is also a smart brand move to drive additional associations through the halo effect with the excitement surrounding Pokémon GO. If interest in the game and the overall popularity of Pokémon continues to grow, imagine the impact this partnership could have, especially if McDonald’s chooses to leverage its 30,000 global locations.


Whether you are trying to get in contact with us because of the rare Pokémon hidden in our office or are interested in learning more about how your team and other key stakeholders can leverage recent findings in the field of marketing or behavioral sciences, let us know.

Authors: Craig HerbertJonathan La Greca

Contributors: Gera Nevolovich, Ian Dalley

How Insight Innovation Enables Better Brand Building


Hotspex has been built on a philosophy of continuous innovation. Our mandate is to help our clients uncover the most relevant and actionable human insights that can be applied to build mental availability and accelerate brand growth.

As such, Hotspex is very proud to have earned a spot among the most innovative global insights consultancies for the 3rd year running! Our innovation agenda over the past few years has led to the development of exciting new brand building tools. We are proud to have worked with 15 of the top 20 global advertisers in helping them achieve leadership growth by building distinctive brand assets, winning packaging and shopper-based design, and remarkable advertising.

Moving forward, as the insights industry continues to change, Hotspex is committed to collaborating with industry experts and global brands to develop industry leading expertise in implicit and explicit measurement to guide smarter and more strategic brand building decisions.

If you are interested in us sharing the most recent advances in marketing and behavioral science with your team or organization or would like to pilot leading edge methodologies to uncover unique insights and drive fresh new thinking on your brands, click here.

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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