The projective and the online in qualitative marketing research

As researchers we have a “toolbox” full of options to tackle the projects we work on.

This “box” is fed from multiple sources, among others:

  • Theories from multiple disciplines, where psychology plays a crucial role
  • Research techniques and tools, associated with specific disciplines or theories
  • Our experience in other research projects

The working premise that inspires us is simple: the “research object” prevails over the “research method”

In other words…

Before each research project, specific and creative approaches are built that allow “answering” the objectives set out in the brief, renouncing the idea of ​​”fitting” predesigned methods to new problems.

 

In this order of ideas, projective techniques are one of the most outstanding tools in the “box”. Inspired by psychology, and more specifically by the “psychoanalytic” or “dynamic” school, they allow:

  • Access the unconscious content of our interviewees, that which the people themselves are not aware of as present in their psyche and/or
  • Account for the conscious content of our interviewees, but unconsciously for themselves, that is, open the door to what people censor about themselves for whatever reasons (e.g. social desirability, shame, etc.).

Additionally, working with projective tools supposes another great advantage for their use: well planned and presented, they are a “light” content, “fun” to work with, both for the collaborators of the study and for the researcher.

Now, projective techniques by themselves are not enough. Regardless of whether we use free association of words, ask them to draw something or imagine that a certain brand is a person of flesh and blood -among many other possibilities that we could use- it is crucial to have a broad knowledge of the culture, of the categories and /or brands involved and, at the same time, of the “conscious” content of those same interlocutors.

So that?

To have a fertile interpretive framework that allows us to analyze the content obtained through these tools. Said colloquially: projective can seem like a game, but you have to take it seriously to exploit its full potential.

What possibilities does the projective have in an online context like the current one?

All possibilities. This is mainly associated with two reasons:

  1. The characteristics of online qualitative research require, to make it more “bearable” and “effective”, a good dose of “playfulness” and creativity, something that is totally in tune with the very nature of the most used projective tools in marketing Research. .
  2. Today there are a series of digital solutions that allow projective work to be done efficiently.

In this context, at Intermarket Research & Insights, all the research we have undertaken since the start of COVID has not ceased to have the projective imprint that we believe is necessary. This, combined with a KnowHow built on more than 30 years of work in different countries of the region, gives us the possibility of providing our clients with actionable insights.

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