CEO Summit 2019 Podcast Series

CEO Summit 2019 – Anders Bengtsson – Protobrand

Recorded live in Miami, Jamin Brazil interviews Anders Bengtsson, CEO of Protobrand. We hope you enjoy this mini series taking you into the minds of some of the most influential CEOs in Market Research.

Find Anders Online:


Beautiful morning here in Miami.  CEO Summit, Insights Association. Very excited.  I’ve got Anders Bengtsson. Did I say it even remotely correctly?


Yeah, like sort of.  [laughs]


Of Protobrand.  Tell us a little bit about what you guys do.  


Protobrand is a boutique research firm, full-service research firm, technology-enabled, helping companies to uncover how people think at a deep level about brands, ads, and new products.  So, I’m not just focusing on the functional side of things but the emotional, the symbolic, the experiential. So, when we talk about System 1, the automatic brain (the non-conscious brain), that’s where we have technique and measurements for uncovering those.


How do people work with you?  Do you have like a survey system?  Or what is the actual function?


Yes, our technology platform is called Meta4 Insights.  And that’s a technology platform. You can think of it as a survey platform that allows you to do a quantitative survey on line bit with advanced System 1 measurements.  It actually gives you both data that is immediately quantifiable but we also collect data that is text data. So think data that would normally be collected in a face-to-face interview can now be collected online.  Then we quantify that data with AI-powered text analytics.


Interesting.  So, there’s definitely the sentiment, kind of the NLP element integrated in.  


Yeah, you get sentiment.  So coding of large amounts of text data is still a semi-automated, like a semi-manual process, if you will.  There are analysts that are involved: they’re looking at what themes emerge and things that belong. So it’s not just a one-click button yet, and I don’t know if text analytics ever will.  But at this stage, it helps us code large data sets very precise from hundreds or thousands of respondents and identify salient themes, the sentiment, and the meaning behind it.


Yes, I mean it’s interesting Microsoft had their announcement of the support behind Augmented Intelligence, the new kind of AI framework where we thought of AI as solving all the problems and automating everything but really it’s doing part of it really well.  A human being has to go in and finish the job.


We’re not there yet where things are fully automated.  I think… so what we’re doing right now is to leverage automation and AI to the extent it’s possible without compromising the outcomes and to still make outcomes meaningful and help decision-making.


So, where are you guys based?  


In Boston.


Boston.  Perfect, I can tell by your accent.  


[laughs] Yeah, my Swedish Boston accent.


So, CEO Summit, day 3.  What are your thoughts?


It’s been two great days, and I’m looking forward to the third day.  Lots of great networking with like-minded and not like-minded CEOs. We learn from each other.  And I think it’s been… The speakers have been really great and really making me think about my job and where I want to take Protobrand and make me thinking in different ways about that.  So, that’s always helpful.


Yeah, do you have a specific take-away so far?


I think the take-away is that some things haven’t changed that much.  If I go back to Day 1, Diane Hessan from C-Space talked about when she launched the company and how, at first, it was just a technology that she wanted companies to subscribe to.  Then she found out that she had to build services around it. I think that’s still to this day very much true. Corporate clients in America are not ready for software in market research.  Software-enabled services. Services are part of it. We’re not there yet where they just go and buy a piece of software or an automated service.


Yeah, I think that was probably one of my favorite pieces.  (They’re summoning us in.) How many years have you come to this?


This is my second time.


The second time, last year being your first.  Are you going to come back next year?


Yeah, for sure.  That’s a quick answer; that’s like a System 1 answer.


Recommendations for other CEOs that maybe have not come?  What would you see as the one big value they would get out of it?


I think that when you come here, you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, who you’re going to talk to.  You don’t have a planned agenda. Like you know if you go to other conference, you might I’m going to talk to so-and-so-and-so.  Here it’s more organic: it’s things just happen. Last year, I came here, and I ended up talking to, sitting next to a dinner with Dave from [unclear], and after that, we initiated a partnership with them.  Those things happen, and you can’t necessarily… That wasn’t something that was planned.


Right, yeah, totally.  I think the opportunity to do networking.  I literally have a few customers that have come out of this.  But it’s interesting that the context is such where it’s… it doesn’t feel…  there’re no sales. Wow! 1 + 1 = 3 and the old cliché. If you’re dealing with CEOs, then you can cut right to it.  It does actually function in a lot of ways as a pipeline. Although I would say absolutely that should not be the objective.  It’s much more of a care and nurturing framework versus what you’re going to see at a different Insights Association or Quirks or whatever show, right?  


Absolutely.  And then the other aspect to this, I think, is this is a summit where we share good stories; we share stories around, you know…  we struggle. All companies struggle at some point. It’s not all success stories. We learn from success stories, but we also learn about turn-around stories.  I think that’s the honesty, you know, in terms of how people share their stories, I think, is huge.


So, if someone wants to get in contact you, talk about your services, how would they do that?


Go to the website  You’ll see our leadership team. You can find my LinkedIn profile and just reach out.


Anders, Protobrand.  Absolute pleasure. Thank you much for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Thank you.  Thank you for having me.  Thank you.