About the authors

Brett Townsend

As SVP of Strategy, Brett is future-focused by offering clients consulting about Brand and Innovation Strategy, always focused on building muscular brands and organic growth.

Brett is always quick to drop a movie or TV quote, a historical anecdote, or music lyrics to any situation. He’s happy to give you travel or eating tips to many domestic and global destinations, as well as advice on being a girl dad.

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Tim Hoskins

As President of Quester, Tim oversees client services, strategic consulting and spearheads the innovation pipeline, vowing to keep Quester at the forefront of deeply understanding people. Since joining Quester in 2011, Tim has been instrumental in the development of Quester’s technology, products and services that provide a new and unique research approach for Fortune 500 companies globally. Tim serves on the Insights Association Board of Directors, as Co-chair of the national Corporate Researchers Conference, and on the Collaborata Board of Advisors.

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Accolades

“Insights on the Brink highlights perfectly how decision makers’ knowledge gap about their consumers is something we just can't afford. Their focus on consumer empathy is right on and it is a must for all leaders to stay connected with what is "real" and make the best decisions for their brands and business.”Fed Muyshondt, CEO, BODYARMOR Sports Nutrition

“Insights on the Brink is a must read for all corporate leaders that want to build true consumer-centric organizations. It provides the blueprint on how insights, analytics, marketing and senior executives need to harmoniously operate to drive business impact.”April Anslinger, Global CMO, Angelina Iturrian, SD Consumer Insights & Analytics Self Esteem Brands

“Insights on the Brink shows consumer insights professionals how their departments can lead executive decisions, directly impacting strategy and growth. It is the first book that elevates CI to where it belongs--an essential component of every company that wants to grow by truly delighting consumers. ”Paul J. Zak, author of Immersion: The Science of the Extraordinary and the Source of Happiness

“Insights on the Brink serves as a critical examination of the entrenched practices and mindsets that imperil the future of the insights industry. At its core, the book issues a passionate call to action: to embrace curiosity, transcend mere date collection and analysis, and to focus on what has always been our fundamental mission—solving problems for our customers and driving tangible business outcomes.”Lisa Courtade, VP Global Business Insights & Analytics, Organon & Co, LLC

“Take your consumer insights to new heights with Insights on the Brink. Townsend and Hoskins provide the essential roadmap for rebranding insights roles, crafting compelling stories, and aligning insights with business goals to unlock unprecedented growth and success.”Dr. Eric Solomon, Founder & CEO, The Human OS

“Insights on the Brink is a compelling read for current and future practitioners of Consumer Insights who strive for a seat at the table. Townsend and Hoskins effectively stress the importance of being curious, storytelling, and asking the critical questions of “why?” “so what?” and “now what?”, tools that are not just relevant but required to add value to any organization. ”Susan Bardi Kleiser, Ph.D., Marketing Professor, University of Notre Dame

“Not since Jack Honomichl's tome, The Marketing Research Industry...As Old Order Crumbles A New Vision Takes Shape (2003) has there been such a comprehensive and important analysis of our profession, its impact and future. Taking us on a fast-paced narrative, based on lived experiences, Townsend and Hoskins examine Consumer Insights' reason for being and the keys to achieving real business impact. The authors lay out with great clarity how CI will need to rethink its place in business and its key behaviors if it is to not only survive but thrive in the commercial world of the future.”Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner, Cambiar

“Insights that deliver outcomes and drive revenue - the love language of business! Insights on the Brink is a call to action for the CI industry. It’s an honest assessment of the industry’s seat at the table in today’s business world, and more importantly, it provides a map to evolve from being viewed as business consultants to invaluable business leaders necessary to an organization’s growth.”Melodie Ross, VP Marketing, Carolina Cat

“Insights on the Brink is more than just a collection of ideas; it is a manifesto for change, crafted with the precision of seasoned researchers and the passion of true believers in the power of insights. Whether you are a newcomer to the industry or a seasoned veteran, this book will inspire you to think differently about your role and the potential of our field. Like any good story, it also brings hope and a path forward. Townsend and Hoskins call for a revolution from within, urging us to evolve from data collectors to strategic partners, capable of influencing pivotal business outcomes.

What makes Insights on the Brink particularly compelling is its human-centric approach. The book challenges us to look beyond spreadsheets and graphs and to see the human stories behind the data. This is a lesson in empathy, in understanding that behind every consumer data point is a life filled with unique desires, needs, and decisions. Townsend and Hoskins don't just tell us why this approach is necessary—they show us, through engaging and empathetic storytelling, how understanding these human stories can drive more nuanced and impactful business strategies.”Jamin Brazil, CRO Voxpopme

“Insights on the Brink isn't your typical business read. It's like having a heart-to-heart chat with colleagues about the challenges we face in the insights world and the practical tips sprinkled throughout the book. These strategies aren’t just theories—they’re real-life solutions that have the power to transform our industry. With humor and a keen understanding of the field, the authors shine a light on the often-overlooked struggles of insights professionals, like us, who are sometimes seen as outsiders rather than key players in our company's success.

This book boldly challenges the notion that consumer insights are just an optional extra in the corporate world. It's a wakeup call for our industry, urging companies to recognize the goldmine of revenue potential hidden within consumer data. Through funny stories and sharp analysis, the authors drive home the importance of putting consumers at the center of everything we do.”Jiao Zhang, Co-founder Attune, LLC

“Insights On The Brink is the self-help book the insights industry needs now to be truly seen as critical to business success, not just a box to be checked. A must-read for any insights professional, academic, student, or corporate senior leader who truly wants to unlock the strategic advantage that consumer insights should be bringing to the table.”Karen Kraft, Associate Director, Consumer Insights & Analytics, Johnsonville

“Insights on the Brink is a refreshingly candid and thought-provoking examination of the consumer insights industry. With a keen eye for detail and a wealth of experience, Townsend and Hoskins deftly explain the challenges faced by insights professionals, from the need for compelling storytelling to the critical importance of understanding emotion in consumer behavior. The book's well-structured chapters provide a roadmap for change, addressing key issues such as leveraging narratives, finding the right talent, and, ultimately, providing tangible ideas for how the industry must move forward. Insights on the Brink is a must-read for anyone seeking to elevate the role of consumer insights within their organization and drive meaningful business impact. The writing is accessible to all levels but incredibly powerful as a call to action for leaders willing to step into a bold new space and reimagine the future of insights. ”Priscilla McKinney, CEO of Little Bird Marketing and Author of Collaboration is the New Competition

“ The insights industry has struggled to get a voice within the C-suite. Townsend and Hoskins give you a real perspective to why that has been challenging in the past and how this can actually change. I hope readers pay attention to the opportunity at hand and drive to the outcomes that these two industry leaders outline. It is time for the insights profession to stand tall and proud and show the difference we make in important business decisions.”Steve Schlesinger, Executive Chairman, Sago

“Townsend and Hoskins hit the nail on the head in painting a real-life picture of the current state of the Insights industry and how we got here. I found myself nodding (and muttering) in agreement throughout as the authors lay bare the various reasons why CI has been fighting for its seat at the table for decades, and generally continues to do so even today. Importantly, the authors provide a realistic roadmap of where to go from here; a roadmap that is actionable and if followed, surely will increase CI’s impact – as well as the recognition and respect of that impact. Every CI professional (or aspiring professional) should read this book and get on the path to greater impact. ”David Rothstein, CEO, RTi Research

“Insights on the Brink is a must read for anyone involved in the Insights community or about to enter. Townsend and Hoskins are both very talented, integrated within the insights community, and work diligently to move this great industry forward! This book is filled with examples of what is coming and what to do in the years to come! Anyone who starts this book will NOT be able to put it down! The content is off the chart and will keep everyone engaged from page to page! Without question I endorse this book and can’t wait to share it with my team and clients! ”Merrill Dubrow, CEO M/A/R/C Research

“Insights on the Brink is a realistic assessment of not only where the industry is, but more importantly what it can and should be in the future. Understanding what the real business objectives are when leveraging consumer voices and packaging the information in a way that tells a compelling story is the backbone of what the insights industry should be. Kudos to Townsend and Hoskins for championing these important ways of working to move the insights industry forward. ”Jill Donahue, Director of Brand Insights, Nestlé Purina

“Insights on the Brink is an amazing read for any insights professional who likes to reinvent their own value proposition, and/or any C-Suite leader /CEO who wants to drive a customer centric culture to influence enterprise-wide strategy. Thanks to Townsend and Hoskins for leading the way for the insights profession.”Siew Ting Foo, Former Global Chief Brand and Insights Officer, HP Inc.