Feb 20, 2007

Adapting Projective Techniques in Research - Part 2

Taking off from where we left

Going beyond personification and sentence completions....
We were asked to design a study that involved understanding the brand equity of an auto-mobile brand. The 1st challenge was that - the brand in question was not one of the leaders in the category and therefore its salience and involvement with consumers was relatively low. The 2nd challenge was that part of the target audience comprised teen age girls - whose involvement with the brand was even more tenuous.

Using Logos as catalysts for generating brand associations
Instead of using the standard set of projective techniques we decided to experiment with some new ones. While we were designing that research - there was a logo quiz doing the rounds in our office. Most of us found that quiz addictive since irrespective of one's involvement or actual usage of a brand - logos are ubiquitous symbols that we are exposed to day in and day out. One may not spend too much time trying to read meaning into a logo design and how that is reflective of a brand but one does form associations around these logos - associations that are sometimes subliminal. So we decided to take that online logo quiz into the real world of our research.

- We used it specifically with the older males
- The exercising involved guessing the brand name from the logo. This got people pretty involved in the game - it was challenging and fun though we used this just to warm them up to the idea
- Post the guessing game we zeroed in on the 3 - 4 brands that mattered to us and got them to reel out associations they had about those brands based on their logos.
- From the data we captured - it was evident that did not merely talk about the brand based on its logo - rather the logos acted as stimuli that triggered / unearthed thoughts that they had about these brands. Things they saw in the logo sparked off thoughts about their experiences around these brands that they would then narrate to us.

Taking cues from Popular culture

Movies and music from movies have for long been quite a vibrant part of the pop culture in India. Each week a dozen new movies or more are released and viewed. People discuss movie actors, their lives, their costumes, the songs...so much so that even some of the national news channels in India now have regular coverage on this. There is a film song for every situation or so it is said and it is not unusual for people to recall them and break into a spontaneous session of song and laughter. So we decided to include a game of songs in our research

- Designed for the teen age girls - this tool worked well - since such games are common in college The girls had to work in small groups and come up with the songs they thought characterised the brands
- The groups helped in ideating. The songs - since those were part of a larger context of a film carried some residual meaning and association with them - which helped the girls articulate what they felt about the brands which were being spoken of
- We rounded up the exercise by asking them their reasons for choosing specific songs and getting reactions from other groups on songs chosen by a group.

Were these experiments an efficient way of gathering information?
Did these exercises help us get information we were seeking - Yes and in hindsight I can say that it was in a manner that was intuitive keeping in mind the audience and therefore they seemed to talk about these brands with relative ease. To that extent we achieved 'validity' in research. When we compared the set of brand associations across groups that we derived from these two and some more exercises we used in that research - we found consistency amongst them and to that extent the goal of 'internal reliability' was achieved as well. Would this have been possible using standard techniques? I don't know - since we never had a matched sample where we used the standard projectives - though I can say that we did not lose anything as a result of trying to experiment with newer ones and it only turned out to be easy and fun for the respondents

The question of adaptation
Projective techniques have basically been adopted in research from another discipline. Research was never the home ground for these tools. Also in their adaptation and use, we have not over time formulated norms against which findings are benchmarked or analysed. Analysis and inferences mainly happens by way of triangulation (comparing findings from multiple techniques), juxtaposing the data from these tools against what is said in the general group discussion and by understanding from the consumers themselves the motives for their responses. If I assume my understanding of using projectives in research is not too far from the mark then - the question in my mind is - why do the few that we originally inherited from psychology continue to dominate research even today? Based on some ground rules would it not be possible to design newer techniques that are specifically suited to market research and / or the target audience being researched?

Projective Techniques,Projective Techniques and qualitative research,qualitative research,


pooR_Planner said...

Excellent new way to dig deeper. Loved both the post. Would love to know more about the application of hypnosis in research.

Laurence said...

I loved the logo exercise; I find certain projective techniques can sometimes be threatening (for e.g. the speech bubble on your previous post) and can kill the fun and creativity.

As discussed on Saturday, it reminds me of a Quantitative tool RI are currently testing called Packaction - you see a logo, or packaging gradually appearing and they measure how long it takes to recognise the product. There is a series of quantitative questions about the packaging afterwards.

Reshma Anand said...

poor_planner - thanks! I so far written only one post on this blog - about the using hypnosis in research - but plan to write more. hopefully soon!

laurence - what have been your experience with thot bubbles? Curious to know. Packaction sounds good - it probably mirrors what happens in real life too - the blurr infront of our eyes becuase of the deluge of products on the shelf / brand we are exposed to ! How is the tool executed ? Are there a series of images (differing in sharpness that are exposed) - do eleborate if possible

laurence said...

The bubbles - I find sometimes the answers in bubbles can be very repetitive to the point where they become counter productive. Some people cannot spell very well and they can indeed be threatening (e.g. sofisticated!)

Pacaction - this tool is currently being tested at RI. It is a quant online tool that aims at:

1) Evaluating the packaging in a competitive environment in terms of noticeability, standout, differentiation, appeal etc and how the packaging drives purchase

2) Assessing how well each packaging route expresses the brand values and communicates the desired positioning

3) Assessing the packaging that offers the best potential for launch

More when I see you next