MRMW NA 2019 Podcast Series

MRMW NA 2019 Conference Series – Ludovic Depoortere – Haystack Research Consulting

Welcome to the MRMW NA 2019 Conference Series. Recorded live in Cincinnati, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Ludovic Depoortere, Founder and Executive Chairman of Haystack Research Consulting.

Contact Ludovic Online:


Haystack Research Consulting


Ludovic at Haystack.  This is one of my favorite presentations that I’ve ever seen in my entire career, by the way.  I can’t recommend it enough. He passed out chocolate to the entire audience and had us eat it based on different stimuli such as changing music.  And that chocolate actually wound up tasting different based on the music which impacted the mood of the listeners. So, it’s a really cool concept.  In his business, they focus on multi-sensory research, consultancy, implicit, emotive, contextual research. It’s basically how you can drive positive business and decisions that have good impact for customers, connecting their emotions to your deliverables.  I hope you find a lot of value in this episode.


What we mainly do is we try to help companies innovate in sensory space.  So we support companies in innovating by using multiple senses, like combining fragrance with taste to have a great customer experience because that is what is today, more than, very important.


Yeah, for sure.  So, you’re dealing with actual like physical products.  


Yes, physical products, but we can also talk about an app development where you say, “OK, let’s focus at the design of the app.”  Make the design better, but, if possible, try to use other colors or use other senses like have a tactile property. Later on, when we can add virtual reality, maybe one day we will also be able to have a fragrance connected to that.  


Oh, that’s interesting.


Help doing that type of thinking.


Have you actually done anything and played with around with VR, AR, anything along those lines?


Absolutely.  We work for real estate and there we can check whether…  what is the fit between a specific fragrance and the type of atmosphere you want in your real estate project.  


Oh, that’s fascinating.    


Like hotels are using that; co-working spaces also use that.  So, that’s how we apply that and we have VR equipment to project that environment.  Then we have capsules that we can have a fragrance in the room to match with that.


That’s super interesting.  Do you see that as a space that’s going to be expanding in the near future?  


Oh, yeah, absolutely.  Because it’s one of the big disadvantages of sensory research is that you have to rely on center location testing, and it’s very physical.  But more and more with digitized, we also try to bring that in. And I think VR is the perfect solution to that.           


That’s fascinating.  Great. So, is this your first time to MRMW?


Yes, indeed it is.


What do you think?


Yeah, I like it.  I like the fact that it’s not small; it’s big enough.  And it’s very open and very easy to talk to people. I really like that.  And it’s great. Like the room is fantastic.


Yeah, it really is.


The hotel is great.


One of the speakers said it reminds them a little bit of The Shining.  I think so too.  [laughter] I can see Jack Nicholson just like bop me out with an axe, which would be really funny if someone snuck up behind Dan Foreman.     


Let’s do that tomorrow.  


OK, I think that would be a great.  Got to figure out how I can get a rubber axe just in case.  It’d be my luck. The day that someone…anyways. Now, I took a dark turn.  So, tomorrow… Do you have a specific customer story that you’d like to highlight?


Tomorrow, what I’m going to do tomorrow is actually do some experiments with the audience.  Like I will show that the taste of a product is different when you have matching music with that.  So I have special music that I’m matching with Belgian chocolate. So, that’s one thing. And I will show how the dental company is also using that framework to actually do innovation.  But my key point is “Make Sensory Great Again.” Sensory is considered old-fashioned because it’s not easy to digitize it. I will show how digital tools can actually enhance and make sensory great.  With the dental company and also with another case study, I’ll actually show how we bring emotion in that and how we actually go from a classical sensory test (CLT test) and enhance that with an IHUT system where we tap into emotions and need states and also link to Instagram and Facebook profiles so that we can actually not only map the profile of product taste-wise but also map it in emotions and lifestyles and that type of stuff.     


I love the connectivity there that everyone making right now to the importance of driving overall emotion inside of the customer relationship, which I think, man, that is just so refreshing.  All about that connection.


The big brands we’re working for, they’re all suffering.  Also, today it was mentioned like PepsiCo and see what happened to companies like Kraft-Heinz.  They’re losing billions of value; so, they should really put the consumer first again. And I think for research, that’s just great news, but we have to be very agile, make sure that we develop the tools to make that happen.  And I’m very happy today again that I see that it is happening. So it’s great.


Ludovic, thanks so much for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.  Oh, by the way, if somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


If you go to our website,, and there you’ll find us.


Alright, perfect.  And I’ll include that information in the show notes, everybody, as well, as well as a direct link to whomever you’d want them to talk to.  Great, well, thanks for joining me, my friend.


Thanks for having me.


Yeah, a pleasure.