IIeX Amsterdam 2019 Podcast Series

IIeX Europe 2019 Conference Series – Stephen Thompson – Recollective

Welcome to the #IIEX Europe Conference Series 2019. Recorded live in Amsterdam, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Stephen Thompson, Executive VP of Recollective.

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My guest today is Stephen with Recollective. He is the executive vice president of Recollective. We’re here live today at IIeX, on the trade show. He’s getting ready to speak in a little bit. Tell me a little bit about Recollective again.


No worries. Recollective is an online platform that researchers can use to build a community, essentially of any size, any duration, whether it’s a short project popup community or whether it’s an always-on, long-term, huge community with hundreds of thousands of people. The platform is the same, you can just customize it and brand to whatever you need.


IIeX, have you been here before?


We’ve been a big supporter in the U.S. for the last probably seven, eight years now.


Atlanta, big. They’ve moved it to Austin, right? What do you think about that transition?


We’re looking forward to that. It was getting very busy at Austin.


It felt like a house party.


It did, yes.


We’ll see what it’s like this year in Austin. March, right?




Yes, April, sorry. That’s going to be a fun show. I’m excited about that one.


Yes, me too. I’m looking forward to it.


I do like the venue though, here in Amsterdam. This is spectacular.


Beautiful building.


Oh my gosh, it’s unreal. It’s absolutely unreal. Have you guys exhibited most of the time?


This is only the second time we’ve been to the Amsterdam venue. Most of our business is over in the US. We have a fair footprint in the UK, but we’d love to do more business in Europe, so this is a great conference to be at.


Tell me a little bit more about Recollective. You guys have custom panels, right? Or, communities that you developed for specific-use cases?




Tell me a little bit.


We focus on the technology, so we primarily work with agencies and large organizations that have a research team because we don’t do the research. Our market differentiator is, we’re all about the technology. We provide what we think is the best platform out there for any researcher to use very quickly, to bring their own participants in, to work with a recruiter to get them, and then to build an environment in which they can have meaningful conversations with people. It’s collected in different qualitative ways, whether it’s through photo and video uploads— It might be fill-in-the-blanks, where people are doing Mad Lib style things. It could be through discussion boards. I’d sit alongside them, socialize around responses to questions, lots of different ways in which you can essentially connect with people in that community and have a good conversation.


Do you have a favorite project?


There are lots. We’ve done all sorts of different ones. We ran a project over Christmas. It was about depression. I’m trying to study depression, particularly over a period where people are normally with family. That was great because the people there would be using the community, not just for the research but as their support group. They wanted to keep going. Those conversations were phenomenal. Then we do a whole bunch of financial services, a whole bunch of consumer goods projects. There’s a whole range. Things that build in video— That’s what I’m going to be talking about later as well, are really interesting projects. You get beyond just the core research. You get a lot more context as to what is happening with people, and you can begin to understand them, that much more in-depth. Those are always very interesting, as well.


Tell me a little bit about your talk.


The talk’s on that subject of understanding particularly human behaviors at scale, and how particularly online qualitative can be used to leverage different techniques to uncover what people are thinking, why they act in certain ways that go beyond a simple text response to questions. It’s how we can weave in video, how we can weave in different types of approaches, whether it’s synchronous or asynchronous. It’s just to try and have a better conversation with people, so that we get an authentic story that can then be used by a business to make a better decision.


That’s really powerful. Their data is abstract. Businesses rely on it and feel comfortable in the way that it’s false comfort, because they have a data score that they can attribute to how their consumers are feeling. The problem with that, from my view, is that it lacks the humanization. Without empathy, the brand and the employees that make up the brand aren’t able to shift, meaningfully, behavior and connection with the consumer.


The quality is so important, but it’s only half the story. Without the human stories beneath it to understand the bigger context, you can’t ever have real confidence in the decisions that you’re making, as to whether they’re the right ones for your brand and your product, and so on.


It’s funny, too, so on Happy Market Research Podcast, I interview leaders in market research in major brands, right? Everyone, where maybe two dozen now, have talked about the importance of story, and it’s trumping everything else. You’ve got to have the data. I’m not trying to say you can’t have quant, but it is all about, the better the story, the bigger the lever for change.


If you think about it, as human beings who remember stories best, that’s how we learn. That’s how we understand behaviors, and what’s a good way to behave is through stories. What better way to get across research insights than through a story, the real stories of real people, so that you can use them to connect to other customers in really meaningful ways.


If someone wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


Through the website, recollective.com. They can give me a call on my phone number, and everything is on the website as well. They can swing by the booth at the conference. We’re just inside the conference hall. Come and see us. We’d love to chat.


My guest today has been Stephen with Recollective. Sir, thank you very much for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Thank you very much.