This is also called the 'fantasy situation'. Respondents are asked to imagine that they are products or services themselves, and to describe their feelings about being used. Examples commonly quoted are motor cars, lawnmowers or boxes of chocolates. This is intended to uncover people's attitudes toward the products: whether using the lawnmower is an inconvenient chore, or an enjoyable fresh-air experience, for example. An alternative approach is to ask the individual to imagine that a particular brand is a person, and then to describe what that person would be like. When repeated for other brands in the market, this provides considerable insight into the mental images that consumers have of the various brands. 'If "CK" perfume were a woman, what would she be like?' 'How would she differ from "Chanel" if she were a woman?' The establishment of a brand personality is a vital part in marketing brands, and creates the platform from which communications strategies, in particular, can be launched.
A major reservation with these projective techniques lies in the fact that answers given by the respondents can rarely be taken at face value: some interpretation is usually necessary. This opens up the possibility of misinterpretation. Trained psychologists are usually employed both to carry out and to interpret the projective techniques used in motivational research, but it should be recognized that these methods are most valuable in the extent to which they provide insights and clues, rather than answers.
Was this article helpful?