Category Archives: News

Health & Wellness focus for new HCD Consumer Research Unit

HCD Research, a marketing and consumer sciences company, has partnered with Martha Bajec, a PhD expert in neuroscience and consumer research, to launch a new consumer research unit focusing on health and wellness consumer products. With HCD’s success in applying a behavioral and consumer neuroscience approach in consumer product and marketing research, they are applying their expertise to helping health and wellness companies navigate the complex world of consumer testing and understanding.

Martha Bajec, PhD

The health and wellness product space, which includes health and well-being related consumer products such as nutritional supplements, cannabinoids, and other plant-based phytocompounds and natural actives, is booming. Products featuring functional ingredients, including phytoceuticals, nutraceuticals, and herbaceuticals (including cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD)), and other natural actives, have become increasingly popular. However, this type of product research requires specialized knowledge and expertise – from making claims to running consumer and sensory testing – the nuances of designing, implementing and analyzing such research can be challenging.

HCD Wellness, in partnership with Dr. Bajec, will provide consumer research in the health and well-being area for claims substantiation, consumer & market research, and sensory & ingredient optimization complementing traditional research tools with psychology and neuroscience. “As more companies enter this space, many have approached us for help with their research,” says HCD’s VP of Research & Innovation Michelle Niedziela, PhD. “We felt it was important to combine our expertise with Dr. Bajec’s expertise to better serve our clients in this space.” With Dr. Bajec’s extensive experience across a broad range of consumable products (including cannabis (all forms), alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and fortified dairy-based beverages) and HCD’s expertise in consumer neuroscience, clients can expect the best possible research.

Consumer demand for health and wellness products, including CBD, is an expanding industry that warrants a closer look. Now is the time for companies to begin R&D into various applications of CBD and other natural actives. HCD Wellness will utilize state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies to help clients better understand the complex relationship between consumers and these products. Consumer research expert, Dr. Bajec adds, “I’m excited to bring my personal passion and CPG-insider perspective to partner with Dr. Niedziela and the HCD team in the mission of delivering clear, actionable results in support of discovery, innovation, and R&D in the all-too-important health and wellness space. HCD’s application of neuroscience research methods to consumer understanding is uniquely well-suited to study the effects and efficaciousness of bioactive and psychoactive ingredients, including cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), among many others.” 

HCD Research is a marketing and consumer sciences company that provides expert recommendations by employing traditional and applied consumer neuroscience to optimize the design of market research projects for our clients. For more information contact Allison Gutkowski (

Neuroscience to boost your media insights

HCD Research continues to provide the best possible actionable results using the latest and most appropriate measures from neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral science to supplement and dive deeper into traditional market research for ad, concept, media elements (such as logos and spokespeople) and all marketing mix. 

We have developed a COVID-19 response safety protocol (click here to view in full) to ensure research can continue safely and confidently anywhere you need to be.

Making the Perfect Ad – Is Neuroscience the Key to Success?

Creating an ad that captures attention, tugs at emotions, and engages the mind is an advertiser’s dream. Taking advertising research to a new level of understanding, HCD uses a combination of neuro-psychophysiological, psychological, behavioral and traditional marketing research tools. This approach helps to understand the journey from creative content to nudging sales. They allow advertisers to more consistently produce great ads, as well as cull those destined to fail.

Our brains react to our world in milliseconds—faster than we’re consciously aware.

So how can we tap into this to better understand consumer reactions with neuroscience tools?

By integrating the results from comprehensive traditional studies, employing a comprehensive advertising research metric and applied neuroscience tools, we help marketers and market researchers learn how consumers say they feel about advertisements, and with neuroscience, why they feel as they do.

It’s all in the details:

  • Performance metrics – Ad metrics for comparative analysis and performance.
  • Second by second neuro response – In the moment measures to gauge consumer response as they are experienced.
  • Stopping power assessment – How effectively does it engage consumers within the first few seconds?
  • Branding moment engagement – How effective is the branding moment, and how can it be strengthened?
  • Ad element analysis – Examining elements within the ad for fit and effectiveness.

With tools ranging from implicit and psychological testing to biometrics and EEG, we can help.

For more information on how to best test your marketing mix, contact Allison Gutkowski (

HCD partners with Aigora to deploy smart-speaker surveys for in-the-moment consumer behavioral research

New tool helps uncover innovative opportunities for consumer products using in-context, in-moment consumer research and behaviorally-driven design. 

Flemington, NJ – Marketing and consumer research firm HCD Research can now capture consumer experiences hands-free and in-the-moment through its deployment of smart-speaker surveys developed by artificial intelligence and sensory research agency Aigora.

Context often goes overlooked when examining market research results, yet context plays a major role in consumer behavior and decision making. In-the-moment, contextual research examines consumer behaviors, choices, and product use that cannot be assessed through traditional surveys. Central location testing does not represent natural product use occasions or environments. Adding smart-speaker technology to this approach allows for hands-free consumer responses while using products in their own homes.

“It’s a natural addition to our toolbox,” said HCD’s VP of Research & Innovation, Michelle Niedziela. “We focus on advanced, non-traditional tools from neuroscience and psychology to uncover difficult to assess consumer insights. Using smart-speakers to get at consumer behaviors and habits from the comfort of their own homes will allow for better understanding of drivers of consumer decisions and unique insights for innovation.” Within the behavioral science framework, HCD utilizes multiple technologies including neuroscience and psychology to develop precise recommendations for driving consumer behavior.

As in real life, everything is relative. What we think of a product or brand, or how positively or negatively we assess it, depends on the context in which it is viewed. HCD will utilize Aigora’s state-of-the-art technology to help clients better understand the complex relationship between consumers and the brands they love.  These insights will enable clients to define strategies that influence consumer choice and drive brand growth.

HCD Research is a marketing and consumer sciences company that provides expert recommendations by employing traditional and applied consumer neuroscience to optimize the design of market research projects for our clients. For more information, contact Allison Gutkowski (

Aigora is a consulting and technology company focused on helping sensory and consumer science teams prepare for artificial intelligence.  For more information, contact Dr. John Ennis (

HCD Health & Safety Guidelines

Here at HCD, we take responsibility in protecting the health and safety of our clients, employees, participants, as well as the overall community very seriously. We are dedicated to providing quality in-person and remote research in a safe manner, while continuously monitoring the public health metrics of COVID-19.  

Looking ahead as HCD transitions back to in-person research, we wanted to share the precautions we take regularly, as well as new considerations below implemented to align with the CDC’s guidelines for protection against COVID-19. The following are implemented to ensure the well-being of all:

  • We will be conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks (e.g., symptoms and/or temperature screening) of employees before they enter facilities per CDC guidelines
    • Participants will also be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 or who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 (following CDC guidelines).
  • We will be minimizing the number of people on site at facilities and will modify or adjust seating, furniture, and workstations to maintain social distancing of 6 feet between employees and participants. (CDC Guidelines)
  • We will be routinely cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
    • Following the Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting to develop, follow, and maintain a plan to perform regular cleanings to reduce the risk of people’s exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 on surfaces.
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, printer/copiers, drinking fountains, and doorknobs.
    • Biometric equipment will be cleaned thoroughly with disinfectant wipes after each use, disposable facial EMG sensors will be used to minimize shared equipment.
  • Provide employees and participants with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), disposable wipes and other cleaning materials so that they can properly wipe down frequently touched surfaces before each use.
    • Technician(s) will wear gloves (renewed between participants) and masks throughout the day. 
    • Masks and hand washing capabilities will be available to all employees and participants.

These regimens are being strictly enforced to mitigate the chance of spreading COVID-19. We are confident that employing these guidelines will help to maintain the health of all researchers and participants.

HCD is committed to keeping you informed of any relevant information the COVID-19 situation may bring to consumer and market research. We value our relationship with each of you and thank you for your flexibility as we navigate our new normal.  

As always, we wish you well. 


The HCD Team

Consumers Overwhelmingly Want Telemedicine to Be Part of Their Health Care

30% of consumers would consider changing physicians if their doctor didn’t offer telemedicine.

Flemington, NJ May 16, 2020: HCD Research conducted a study of American consumers to determine their perceptions and preferences related to telemedicine during the COVID-19 crisis.

The study was comprised of three segment populations: nonusers (people who have not had experience with telemedicine), ‘COVID-19’ users (people who have used telemedicine specifically due to the COVID-19 crisis), and ‘Non-COVID-19’ users (people who have used telemedicine independent of the COVID-19 crisis). The study revealed that the COVID-19 crisis has changed perceptions of telemedicine positively. Consumers who have used telemedicine tend to have more positive perceptions of telemedicine than nonusers and are more likely to use it in the future. However, 88% of nonusers still say they would be open to using telemedicine in the future.

Other observations included:

This study combined traditional survey questions with HCD’s MaxImplicit approach to understand perceptions of telemedicine and in-person appointments. To learn more about MaxImplicit, feel free to contact us via the info listed below or check out our available resources on YouTube & LinkedIn.

Consumers are overall more open to using telemedicine to communicate with their regular doctors rather than using a separate telehealth company/service, with 58% saying they are likely to use a telehealth company, compared to 82% saying they are likely to use a service that allows them to talk to a doctor from their regular practice. Telemedicine is perceived as being easy, helpful, and safe. Users find it to be safer, more reliable, and more convenient than in-person appointments, while for nonusers, comfort is still a big hurdle to using telemedicine.

More than half of consumers agree they will get the same level of care through both telemedicine and in-person appointments, although it is acknowledged that some situations (addressing pain, needing to take vitals, etc.) are best left for in-person. 

Moving forward, consumers would like to see more opportunities for telemedicine even after the Pandemic is over. Telemedicine may be an important feature of future medical practice as 30% of all respondents (41% of users) indicated that they would consider switching to another doctor if their doctor did not provide opportunities for telemedicine.

The study was sponsored by HCD Research as a service to the health care community.  For more information or an interview contact Rachel Horn, Marketing Research Manager at HCD Research, (

HCD Awarded U.S. Patent for Applied Neuroscience Mood Mapping

Latest award brings HCD’s approach to ensuring marketability and brand harmony of products and communications.

Flemington, NJ – HCD Research announced today the issuance to it by the U.S. Patent Office of a patent that covers a neuroscientific approach to mapping mood and marketability of consumer products and communications.

Market research and applied consumer neuroscience company HCD Research announced the issuance of U.S.Patent No. 10,430,810 which relates to mood mapping consumer response to consumer products and communications through physiological measures. Included in the patent is the ability to visualize and match consumer neuro-physiological response to products, product attributes and communications to ensure marketability and brand harmonization.

“This latest patent allows us to help clients ensure that their products meet their promises,” said Glenn Kessler, president HCD Research, describing how mood mapping technology can help both marketers and product developers create cohesive marketing and product campaigns to ensure market success. “The large majority of new product introductions fail in market. Mood mapping technology helps to clearly demonstrate the consumer emotional experience to both communications and products. Creating a cohesive emotional impact in both the product experience and the communication increase market success and consumer delight,” said Michelle Niedziela, PhD, VP of Research & Innovation HCD Research.

This latest announcement comes just a month after Niedziela and HCD demonstrated the effectiveness of the tool at the 13th Pangborn Sensory Science conference in Edinburgh, UK. In a workshop alongside the European Sensory Network, HCD demonstrated how they could measure consumer neuro-physiological response to a fine fragrance perfume and the perfume advertisement and show whether the two experiences were aligned or not. “A product’s emotional experience must match the emotional context promised in marketing mix to ensure market success,” said Niedziela of the need for this approach, “the simplicity of a mood mapping tool makes it easy to visualize and identify the gaps in product/brand harmonization for product developers and marketers.”

HCD Research is a marketing and consumer sciences company that provides expert recommendations by employing traditional and applied consumer neuroscience to optimize the design of market research projects for our clients. For more information contact Cara Silvestri (

NeuroU To Offer Crash Course On Consumer Neuroscience

Topics will cover neuromarketing, system 1 research, product and media testing

An international symposium for which organizers expect attendees from multiple industries, including large consumer product, healthcare, and media companies as well as market and consumer research providers and academics to attend NeuroU’s 2-day, inaugural event this summer, scheduled for June 7-8 at the Hyatt Regency. NeuroU speakers will cover the basics of Applied Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing with presentations on the latest methods and technologies, workshops on their application, and case studies from academics and researchers.

NeuroU will draw international attendees with a variety of backgrounds. The event will feature expert speakers from Carnegie Mellon & Temple University, as well as industry experts from HCD Research and Interactive Video Productions (IVP).

Symposium co-creator and scientific advisor, Dr. Michelle Niedziela (HCD Research), is planning an unusual session about the uses and abuses in neuromarketing, “In talking with clients and peers over the years and at industry conferences it became clear that there is a lot of confusion about what neuroscience can and can’t do in consumer research.” In her talk she hopes to clear the air and address the skepticism, “We created this event to give people a working knowledge to help navigate the field and make good research choices.”

NeuroU promises a beautiful and vibrant venue with a full agenda to network with peers, learn from experts, & explore the latest in psychological and neuroscientific tools and technologies.

For more information contact Cara Silvestri (

Sensory Satisfaction: Is Liking Enough?

We are pleased to bring your attention to an article co-written by Dr. Michelle Niedziela, Scientific Director of HCD Research in Perfumer and Flavorist: Sensory Satisfaction:  Is Liking Enough<>?

We all know that a product success hinges on far more than liking alone.  Consumers experience products through their senses and have expectations based on these experiences along with expectations from branding and marketing mix.  Making sure that products meet their promise can ensure that consumer enjoy and repurchase products.

So how do we measure this experience and ensure we have a product and brand that work together in harmony? We go beyond liking by combining emotional, sensorial and verbal  responses that consumers cannot articulate to better understand the consumer experience.

We are happy to announce a joint product of HCD with Q Research Solutions, qBio(tm). Layering traditional product testing with a neuro-physiological approach allows us to understand both what consumers say and feel.  This helps developers ensure that their product delivers against the positioning.

Our work was recently published in Perfumer & Flavorist, February 2017.  We have provided a link for your reference Sensory Satisfaction:  Is Liking Enough<>

We hope you find the enclosed research of value and would love to assist your specific product development challenges.


Glenn Kessler
President  HCD Research

Neuroscience Based User Experience Research Unit

HCD Research has announced the formation of a User Experience division focusing on the integration of applied neuroscience and traditional market research methods to understand user behavior and experience. HCD will be working with User Experience and Product Testing labs to integrate applied neuroscience with their current methods.

The director of the division, Bill Thau stated: “All forms of research have a common goal – an enhanced level of understanding. Whether the question is about metallurgy, medicine, or marketing, every researcher is trying to discover something new.”

Human experience research is no different, and much work has been done in the past with tried and true methodologies such as focus groups, interviews, surveys, and more. Traditional methods have served many industries well, and continue to do so by providing conscious responses to research questions. However, researchers gain a greater depth of knowledge about subconscious processes such as attention, motivation, and emotion when using autonomic measurement tools such as biometrics and eye tracking. “New methodologies that pair traditional self-reported data with these subconscious recordings are proving to be very effective in modeling a respondent’s complete experience, and they provide actionable results that are not obtainable otherwise,” said Thau.

HCD Research specializes in the use of traditional and autonomic research methodologies across a wide range of applications and industries. Companies interested in exploring the topic of biometric/autonomic research further can contact Bill Thau (

IVP enters association with HCD Marketing Sciences

HCD Research recently established HCD Marketing Sciences, a division of HCD Research which offers support for market research companies by assisting in conducting consumer neuroscience research services.

IVP is integrating its eye tracking and neuromarketing capabilities with HCD Marketing Sciences who will offer services related to design, analysis and interpretation of neuromarketing data and will provide these services to market researchers executing projects with IVP.

HCD began utilizing applied consumer neuroscience tools in 2005 and has conducted a broad range of projects representing many applications and industry verticals. HCD Marketing Sciences employs neuroscientists and analysts knowledgeable about multiple tools and methodologies which can be combined to meet specific objects.

IVP is a leader in providing market researchers a number of sophisticated technology tools which enhance the results of traditional research.

For more information contact Steve Burns ( or Bob Granito (