Innovation

Philosophy and Proprietary Techniques
Examples of When and How to Use these Techniques

I help clients identify, leverage and manage their brand/consumer relationships. My philosophy is that the strongest bonds consumers forge with the brands to which they become loyal are often relationship-based and grounded in emotions. Because these dimensions are often difficult for consumers to concretely identify and articulate, an effective "deep dive" to plumb this emotional landscape requires specialized training and techniques and specialized data analysis approaches.

Proprietary Techniques:

By layering proprietary and traditional laddering and projective techniques, I help consumers to articulate the important emotional drivers at play in their brand purchase/usage process. The proprietary techniques are mostly based on the systemic actor training used by actors to understand their characters' inner lives and external interactions:

  • Archetypal Imagery™ - for discerning brand archetypes
  • Chits™ - for brand image awareness
  • Lifechoice Motivations™ - for exploring the relation between emotions and behavior
  • Respondent Given Circumstances™ - for exploring the full context of product need and usage
  • Spatial Relationships™ - for understanding environmental relationships, to turn retail/service industry space into places that motivate purchase and consumer/brand relationships

The techniques call for proprietary ways of interpreting data:

  • Pattern Analysis™ - analysis of emotional and behavioral patterns to capture the emotional logic driving purchase.

Resulting Insights:

  • Go far beyond the rational, product-specific dimensions in explaining the basis for customer loyalty to client or competitive brands
  • Are based on what consumers value at a deep emotional level
  • Often identify the unique and meaningful points of differentiation for holistic strategic and tactical solutions.

Proprietary Techniques:
Examples Of When And How To Use

  • Respondent Given Circumstances™ - for exploring the full context of product need and usage

  • Lifechoice Motivations™ - for exploring the relation between emotions and behavior

    Procter & Gamble's ThermaCare team wanted to understand when and why respondents might use their product - a portable heating pad that can be worn on different parts of the body and gives heat for 8 hours.

    Both users and non-users who have examined the product agree that it is warm, soothing, fits where the pain is, convenient to use, the price is reasonable - yet find it difficult to differentiate the product from their accustomed pain relievers. If we can get respondents to articulate what it means to suffer pain - the feelings involved, how it affects their relationships, lifestyle and behavior - and to articulate the benefits of pain relief with equal concrete dimensionality, the brand can "own" that understanding in their advertising. But how can we help respondents to transcend surface recollections and clichéd expression to provide the insights the brand needs for unique positioning? Not through traditional discussion or ethnography.

    We used Respondent Given Circumstances™ and Lifechoice Motivations™, which rest on the established actor training principles that:

    • Physical involvement stimulates emotional involvement. - Drawing and writing down memories, associations, and feelings as they recur evoke immersion in the experience.
    • Sensory recall. - It's very hard to specifically recall the feelings, needs and behavior of one's experience but not at all difficult to recall and relive the sensory memories involved in that experience (which is why psychologists also use sensory recall). Recalling the sensory memories evokes the emotional landscape.

  • Spatial Relationships™ - for understanding environmental relationships, to turn retail/service industry space into places that motivate purchase and consumer/brand relationships.

    What is distinct and engaging about the experience you offer? What differentiates you from the usual "we're in business and you're a customer" way of relating to people? A major retail chain realizes that it takes more than "the givens" - e.g., price, product, service, convenience - to stimulate purchase and brand loyalty. It takes the feeling that "your space" is "my safe and comfortable place." But how do you identify that? Strong human drives are involved, but people don't know the answer on a rational level.

    • Exercises on their spatial relationship to the environment and the people in the environment will make people conscious of where they do/do not feel safe and comfortable, and so able to make concrete recommendations for a distinct and engaging experience.
    • Follow up with stories to uncover the emotional needs that can further develop "my safe and comfortable place."
    • A broader study would 1) explore and define the identity you will be true to, 2) define your offerings in the places you establish in terms of being true to your identity, and 3) assess strategies for merging the two together to create a more powerful offering.

  • Chits™ - for brand image awareness

  • Archetypal Imagery™ - for discerning brand archetypes

    Brown-Forman wanted to reposition the image of one of its brands, recognizing that image is everything in a crowded alcoholic spirits marketplace where taste and price are not major differentiators. But consumers find it difficult to articulate brand image differentiators and purchase drivers - these resonate on the unconscious level of self-image. The challenge was to get respondents to create a complete attribute set for the image of - not only the Brown-Forman brand - but also for its major competitors.

    • The chits exercise requires immediate response - unedited and without discussion - forcing unconscious impressions to rise to the surface. Respondents assign twenty to thirty attributes to each of the competitive brands. The results are tallied to form complete attribute sets.
    • Follow with laddering to identify the image attributes the respondents would want a brand that reflects their own self-image.
    • Look for the recurring patterns that emerge within each session and the aggregate of sessions from the layering of projective, laddering, and proprietary techniques: there is an emotional logic to the feelings/needs/wishes of the consumers, and the patterns give you that emotional logic. It provides the brand archetype - the image or essence that give shape to the emotional logic that, through research, the brand can own.

  • Interpreting the data: Pattern Analysis™ - analysis of emotional and behavioral patterns to capture the emotional logic driving purchase.

    Over the past few years' qualitative research has increasingly explored consumers' emotional needs, emotional drivers, and their emotional bonds to client or competitor brands. In today's crowded marketplace, owning this deeply motivational information is powerful for competitive brands. But often researchers still analyze the emotional landscape via the traditional rational approach of relying on what the consumers say. If - as is now commonly accepted - what people feel is more motivational than what they say, we need a more appropriate mode of analysis to understand the emotional data. Structural analysis, which is commonly used in literary analysis, psychoanalysis and cultural analysis, analyses the emotional landscape by identifying the patterns that inform people's memories, stories, exercises, drawings, and the like. When we apply it to market research we determine the emotional logic driving purchase.


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