Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Supplier Spotlight: Hootology

Using biometrics, eye-tracking, EEGs, artificial intelligence, creative concepts like creating a mock-reality TV experience, or simply presenting information in an actionable, easily understandable format, this is how Hootology not only differentiates itself but is also how they think differently about the process of collecting information for their clients.  Hootology, an innovative research firm, was founded on the premise that by marrying sound research principles with modern day sensibilities and technology, they can help businesses make smarter strategic decisions.

In 2016 Hootology was founded by Stefanie Francis, Founder & Lead Innovator, and her two business partners Shaelyn McCole and Jose Delgado. 

Stefanie Francis
Founder & Lead Innovator, Hootology

“I fell in love with the concept of quantifying information in business school.  I had a hefty art and humanities background and it felt like the “science” part of the statement, “It is a combination of art and science,” says Stefanie Francis.  “Over time, collecting data through traditional means (i.e. web-based surveys and focus group) began to feel outdated to me.  As my career evolved, I started to wonder if there were better, more modernized ways to go about the process,” she said.

Today, Hootology has the best, brightest and most grounded team doing innovative and interesting work for clients they absolutely love.  They’ve worked with over one-third of the Fortune 100 companies and tech startups on the cutting edge of innovation – so they feel very comfortable in either space.  Typical buyers/decision-makers for Hootology’s services reside in marketing and strategy, however, they’re willing to help anyone in need of information to help make smarter strategic decisions.

One common misconception before sourcing for a research firm is that you must first understand research.  Another is that companies will often initiate a conversation with the type of research they want conducted, before thoroughly thinking through the actual strategic question they’re hoping to have answered.  At Hootology, they help clients take a step back, begin again with the big question at hand, and then design the most thoughtful research approach from there.  The pay-off is in the depth of the information they’re able to help uncover, while allowing clients to remain focused on strategy; less about the weeds of how the information is collected. 

“A vendor who really knows research can explain the process without all of the research jargon, and we pride ourselves in that,” said Francis.

As a recently certified LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE), Hootology is still learning the ropes of supplier diversity.  They learned about supplier diversity through an NBA article about their supplier diversity program and how they were sourcing from NGLCC.  Being Hootology’s leadership has an extensive collective sports business background, they decided to check it out.  As a “newbie” LGBTBE, their greatest challenge seems to be guiding companies from prospective client, to actual clients – newbie or not, I think this is the challenge most of us supplier have and it is just part of the process.

“We appreciate that relationships take time to build and we continue to cherish the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful people and innovative organizations,” says Francis.  “We could not be more thrilled to be part of the family,” she said.

For Francis, it is important to be out in both personal and business.  Coming out in the late 80's/90's was a different age back then.  Like many, she spent years, if not decades, feeling less than different.  To be part of a community of driven, hard-working people that is founded in respect and admiration of what makes us unique, is quite special to her.

Some fun and interesting facts about Stefanie Francis:

  • Currently spends about 85% of her time in NYC.
  • Owns a home in Scottsdale, AZ, which serves as an Airbnb rental. (Contact her for an exclusive "NGLCC Framily" discount).  
  • Volunteers with abused and traumatized kids who she thinks have helped her as much, if not more, than she's helped them.
  • Made a passion project come to life - merit badges for the LGBT folk (SO FUN!). Visit here:
  • Was an art minor in college and still has a kiln and pottery wheel that's used frequently. Friends have received a lot of coffee mugs and bowls as gift they probably didn't need or want and she frets that they probably feel too guilty to throw out.
  • Is technically Pope Francis.  She was ordained (online) by the Universal Life Church to officiate the wedding of two friends that she set up on a blind date.  As pare of the process, you get to choose your ordination title from a drop-down list.  With that last named like Francis, Pope was possible to pass up.  So, if you hire Hootology, you can legally says that the information you based your decision on was validated by Pope Francis. 

Drop a Comment, Share & Get Connected!

Stefanie Francis

Founder, Hootology

Mobile: 480.685.0639

Interview by 
Gonzo Araya,
Executive Chair, Media Communications Committee, nglccNY
Chief Creative Officer, Socio

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Socio is a creative, communications and customer experience agency shaping how companies do business. A certified LGBT Business Enterprise.

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