Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Qualitative Research Leads to Emotionally Compelling Brands

Some brand managers with whom I talk are still are thinking in terms of product functions and features as the brand’s primary point of difference. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to have unique or superior product features. It is also important to offer exceptional customer service. But functionality, even unique functionality, only goes so far when creating highly compelling brands. In making decisions, people are primarily driven by their emotions. This has been demonstrated repeatedly in psychology, social science and marketing studies.  Emotions are usually driven by factors much more invisible than product functions and features. This is where qualitative research comes into play. 

Qualitative research can uncover deep emotional drivers. It can uncover self-esteem issues, paths to self-esteem, self-image, beliefs, values, attitudes, hopes, anxieties and fears.  Now this is the stuff that underlies emotions. So, how does qualitative research uncover these?

Whether one is conducting focus groups, mini-groups or individual depth interviews, one can go deep by using some or all of these techniques:
  • A wide variety of projective techniques
  • Collages
  • Sorting
  • Laddering
  • Guided imagery
  • Storytelling
  • And more…

When we are asked to help reposition a brand so that it creates a much stronger emotional connection with its customers and potential customers, this is where we start. And when we do, the results can be quite impressive. We usually discover something that no one would have thought of without the help of the qualitative research. Sometimes, after the fact, people will say “Of course. That makes perfect sense.” But, prior to the research, no one had thought of it. To create emotionally compelling brands, start with qualitative research to gain deep customer insight.

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