We recently hosted a breakfast with Design Museum Boston and talked about people's desires. Click here for notes and more.

Our services


For planning


Computational anthropology

We collect breadcrumbs of human online activities -- likes, plurks, search queries – and analyze them to understand what moves your customers, what excites them, and how they live their lives.


We have developed a methodology to evaluate not only one's preferences towards a set of brands but also the degree of desire. Our experiments show that the more people desire a brand rather than just prefer it over other options, the more people will choose it over alternatives.

Cognitive portraits

Segment people by how they arrive at their decisions. Our experimental approach is based on a set of modern theories, models and findings from cognitive and behavioral sciences that help us understand and predict how people respond to marketing strategies.

Research design

From taste tests and deprivation studies to online simulations and field expeditions, we design and conduct experiments to predict human behavior under specific conditions.

Stimulus design

Research participants' answers are only as good as the questions you ask - and the stimulus you present. Our experimental and projective stimuli will help you lead interviews into new territories.


Brief, quick - and cheap! - online surveys that we design, program, and field ourselves with results often arriving overnight. Perfect for probing hypotheses. We also use them to pre-test questions for larger and a lot more expensive projects.

21st century

Do you enjoy transcribing hours of focus group footage? Do you find relaxation in coding verbatims? No? If it's repetitive and manual, we likely can write a script for it, or we can mturk (crowdsource) it. If all else fails, we will have a vendor for it.


Everything you need to tell a story: props and visuals for workshops and briefings, video recording, photography, timelines and journeys, and who knows what else.

For business


Funnel optimization

We will help you find and plug holes through which your prospects leak out to competitors, bad business metaphors be damned.

Data source stacking

One can have all the thermometers in the world and still not know the speed of a passing car. From the immense universe of data sources and vendors, we’ll help you pick the ones that make sense and assemble them into a smoothly functioning intelligence system.

Precision targeting

We aggregate and cross-reference multiple data sources -- from the public Census data to proprietary collections -- to identify your most valuable leads and the best opportunities to connect with them.

Growth modeling

We leverage our understanding of people to identify economic opportunities and specific tactics that will lead to breakthrough performance.

Lead profiling

Give us an email list long enough, and we shall move the world. If the prospects are on social media, we'll know, and we'll augment their profiles with useful information that we can glean from their activity. Also, media appearances, influences, company information.

Demand analysis

We use our consumer insights toolset to identify unsatisfied consumer needs, and then run models to put a number next to them.


Your own business heads-up display alerts you to changes in competitive landscape, executive appointments and pronouncements, and potential crises through a combination of data layering and rule-based prioritization.


From custom visualizations to real-time dashboards the size of a wall, we'll find a way to do your insights justice.

For creative


Direct speech

We study how English is spoken and written by different kinds of people, and we monitor cultural influences that shape conversations around the country - both have proven valuable for creating resonant work.

Data as content

We create data visualizations that tell a story, but we also find data that are a story. Our cable-cutting experiment made national headlines.


There's more to creative testing than focus groups and online surveys, although we do that, too. In the past, we've ran live in-market optimization studies, designed and launched experiments; once, we built an entire online store to test a dozen banners.

Gut checks

Use our Overnights service to check an idea on a couple of hundred people in a matter of hours.


If you want to walk in someone else's shoes, we will show you what they watch, read you what they read, and introduce you to the people they know.


Recently, we worked off a very tightly defined brief to identity tweets whose authors ended up in a nationally run series of TV spots.


Call Hill Holliday at 1.617.366.4000, or write to research@hhcc.com.