CEO Summit 2019 Podcast Series

CEO Summit 2019 – Anne Brown – Gazelle Global

Recorded live in Miami, Jamin Brazil interviews Anne Brown, Principal of Gazelle Global. We hope you enjoy this mini series taking you into the minds of some of the most influential CEOs in Market Research.

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My guest today is Anne Brown, Gazelle Global Research Services.  Anne, thank you very much for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast with me today.


Oh, this is fun.


Yeah.  We’re at the CEO Summit.  You’re picking up our conversation.  Your husband – a Freedom Rider, and yesterday, of course, was Martin Luther King Jr.  Yeah, right, so…


Exciting times.


Do they do any celebrations or?    


My husband usually…  Unfortunately, my husband had a stroke about a year and a half ago, but he usually works with the African American men of Westchester.  And they usually do a whole day of presentations and talking to the youth in Westchester where we live and that kind of thing.


Got it, got it.  How exciting!


Yeah, it is pretty cool.  


Such an important part of America.  It’s going to be interesting to see, as this generation turns over, we will…  We’ve got a whole other generation and a coming up and with all the political climates, things like that, it’s going to be an interesting time to see how the leadership steps up in these roles.  But I don’t want to get too political, but…


Well, my husband is also on the Speaking Board for Facing History.  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them, but they’re a wonderful organization.  They started out of the holocaust, an organization for holocaust survivors. Now, they’re a teaching organization.  So, he’s on the Speaking Board. Yeah, it’s a very interesting time to see how we’re going to bring our youth, how are they going to grow, how is diversity going to play into the lives of our future leaders.    


Totally, totally.  Now, how many years have you been coming to the CEO Summit?


A lot.  Maybe 8 or 9.  


8 or 9 years!  


I’ve attended 8 or 9, not straight.  I missed a few here and there, but yeah.  


So what keeps bringing you back?


Oh, it is just an amazing, sharing experience with your peers.  The joke is what you hear you know, “What happens at the CEO Summit stays at the CEO Summit,” which is so true.  


Which is really, really funny ‘cause it’s the absolute opposite of Vegas because we’re literally stuck in a room.  There’s a pool three feet away from this beautiful glass wall, and they have decided to close the curtains. So we might as well be in an interior dungeon, right?


True.  I opened mine though.  See that one that’s open there.  I opened that one.


You’re rebellious.


Yeah, I was rebellious.  The sun’s coming in; I’m going to see the water.  [laughs]


You’re going to see it a little bit.  Oh, that’s great. So, Gazelle Global Research Services, what do you guys do?


We’re a global operations business. So we do everything, except design and analysis.  We work internationally in all methodologies. Of course, we’re a sample provider like many of the sample companies today.  We also do data processing; we translate into about 100 languages; we code in-language, recommend hosts, you know.


Got it.  What are you programming on?




Are you really?  




That’s awesome!


So we were an early beta site for Decipher, but we weren’t ready.  You know Kristen makes fun of me. She said, “Oh, yeah, you didn’t buy it from me.”  


I know.  I actually know that story.  I do. [laughs]


“Why didn’t you buy it from me?”  We weren’t ready!


Timing is really important.


It is, yes.  We love Decipher now.  


That’s true.  So, big take-aways?  This is Day 2 of the conference.  What’s your favorite thing?


My favorite thing is the communication and the freedom of speech that we have between all of us where we just share the roundtables.  My roundtable was great today. I mean it was a really good sharing experience, sharing of ideas. I also liked Jay where he talked about…  


It was sort of like a Meyers-Briggs but totally different, right?  The personality profile.


Yes, I really like that because I think we all need to step away from hearing about what wonderful insights we have and how we got them and procurement. We need to sometimes put that aside, and we need to talk about something different.  And I just thought that was a wonderful experience, something that we should all be using.


Did you take the test?  


I did.


And did it seem like it fit?


It did.  At first, I was like, “What are these letters?”    


Just a little bit of background.  Jay created – I think he created, right? or he works for that company, CEO of the company.  He’s created a personality profile test, and it’s used by Merrill Dubrow’s company M/A/R/C Research as well as many, many organizations.  And it’s employee profiling both at the entry (People are applying for jobs.) and then, as people are promoted inside the organizations. And what’s really interesting, a key take-away from Merrill, is that he asks his key clients to take the profile survey.  And then he matches his staff to those accounts based on the profile characteristics. Hiring decisions are made on this. There’s a red – yellow – green. Red, of course, being, “Don’t hire”; Green “Can’t write the check fast enough.” It’s super applicable, which I think is probably one of the strengths of the approach.   


I just thought it was amazing, and I also thought, “Well, OK, no wonder I don’t get along with this person.”  [laughs] “Of course, I’m not going to get along with them, you know.”


Have you thought about having your husband do it?


I haven’t, I haven’t. [laughter]  Maybe I should. I don’t know. But, yeah, I was thinking about it:  Of course. No wonder why I don’t get along with them, you know. Here’s the explanation after all these years.  


Insights Association’s Meryl and Steve have done a great job of creating a culture of transparency.  I can’t think of more frank conversations in my entire career, right, my entire career, where people are talking about the true failures and struggles of leadership and then how they’re either learning from those or fixing them for growth.


Yeah, that’s why I keep coming back.  Every time I come, there’s always something; there’s always a take-away; there’s always a learning experience; there’s always someone that I meet.  It’s just…


Pretty awesome.


Price of admission.  


Yeah, totally.  What did you think about the Facebook presentation today?


I thought it was interesting.  I thought it was a wonderful way that she reached out.


It was a really unique presentation.  In fact, I’ve never heard a presentation.  She actually opened it up, which I respected a lot, saying, “I need your help to solve some big problems.”  Then she proceeded to articulate the specific problems that she was having AND the rubric by which she judges vendors, which I thought was…  I’ve never had that level of transparency before. I was quite literally open hand to the industry saying, “Can you help me? These are the problems that I’m dealing with.”


I don’t really do much with the neural part of the business.  But I was… It was eye-opening really. “Oh, yeah, of course, it’s never going to work.”  The way we’ve done it traditionally is never going to work now. I thought it was eye-opening.  You know there were certain players in the room who were racing to the phone to call their team and get crackin’ on this.  It was certainly in the wheelhouse of several of the people in the room. I thought it was great. I think that kind of sharing is something that you would never get anywhere else.  The other part of it is that this is not a hard sell here. There’s none of that. There’s a listening… the environment of listening, the environment of understanding, the environment of sharing.  And I think that’s why she felt the freedom to be so open because she wasn’t going to be attacked by people who… It was very thoughtful; everyone was very thoughtful in terms of how to respond to her.  I think that’s something that’s… that we’re missing in the sell cycle that we have today where companies have teams of sales people who just about attack perspective buyers.


Totally.  So interesting, so interesting.  So, what types of companies do you work with at Gazelle Global Research?    


Full-service research firms.  99% of our business is full-service.  Occasionally, we might… once every couple of years we might work with an end-user if they happened to work with us in the past, and they just want to do something quick internally.  They might come to us and say, “Hey, you know please help me with this.” My favorite one, which we don’t do anymore so I can maybe say it, was working with a company that sells a toy at Christmas time.  It was so much fun. So it was an end-user. It’s a very famous toy that gets sold at Christmas time, and it was loads of fun doing it over the years. But rarely do we work with end-users.


Got it, got it.  


Full-service research firms.  You know we’re the operational arm.  A long time ago, when Gazelle was a niche business, the person that was instrumental in getting us started said, “I want to do what I do best, which is design and analysis.  I don’t want to do the part that you do. It dilutes my business. I have to invest too much in that area, and you can do it as well as I can. And I can just stay focused on the customer.


The added value of the core value of the…


I’m a clearinghouse really for many companies.  I have the experience; I get a better price; I know where to go; people respond to me quicker.  


Yeah, ‘cause you’re operating at scale.   You’ve got the connections.


If you do one job in Brazil in a year, you think you’re going to get…  I mean they take long even responding to me. Do you think, when I do 10, 12 in a year, do you think you’re going to get the same response time?


Totally different, totally different.


And I also know…  I also have a better understanding of what things should cost and how to get things done.  So that’s why. We’re there to make our clients lives easier. I know a lot of people feel like they have better control if everything is done in-house, but I really don’t think they do.  I don’t think they always get the best value, and I’m not sure that they… I mean sometimes we see on the data processing side, we see things that are programmed so poorly. They don’t get it.


I think that’s interesting:  the whole like penny-wise, pound-foolish principle.  In this space, logistics are – just being truthful – logistics are the material part of the delivery.  And having experts that have the connections in order to… and the experience to optimize QA, quality, quality, quality.  Is it the right companies that you’re subcontracting to? Just getting rid of all that headache from somebody so that they can focus on the client and the analytics and helping the client adopt to those… integrate those insights into the business, that’s the added value and really why the customer is really paying the mark-up on those insights.  


There’s also the offshoring versus the U.S. based that comes into play here, but I do contend…  I mean I do understand why the very large conglomerates offshore because they have a huge chuck of money that they’re saving and, when you have that many zeroes, you have to look at it.  But, when you’re a small firm, offshoring is ridiculous because the amount of time that you’re spending, the learning curve, the back and forth, the time spent in that communication when the time zones aren’t the same, it doesn’t make sense.  I think that’s a reality that is… I don’t know that everyone has grasped that reality. I mean I do think that for the conglomerates there’s no doubt that they have to have those businesses in place offshore. Then, of course, there are certain jobs that really should never go offshore.          


That’s right.  Yeah, totally, totally.  So, there are definitely use cases and, to your point, scales of business and things like that as to both but, generally speaking, I think the more in-country you can do – whether it’s in Latin America or Europe or Asia or North America – the better off your data is going to ultimately be and your overall experience.  ‘Cause that’s a painful, painful, painful… can be a very painful experience. All the pain is always right in that silo of the processes.

Anyway, so, Anne, if someone wants to get in contact with you or your business, how would they do that?     

[14:02]  212-686-8808. I always answer my phone; I make a habit of answering.  I think it’s the right thing to do. The thing about us is that we’re always there for our customers.  So I’m available.


Anne Brown, Gazelle Global Research Services, thanks so much for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Yeah, this was pretty happy.  It was fun. [laughter] Thank you.