Albert Einstein said "Imagination is the highest form of research".

But quoting just our imagination (!) isn’t the answer we can give clients when they ask for the deep insight and knowledge required before developing successful brand positionings for our clients in premium and luxury brand world.

And they do ask.

Years of gaining customer insight

We all know market research is an essential part of any serious company’s marketing plan. It dictates brand strategy, informs resource allocation, and helps brands understand and connect with their consumers.

Though quantitative market research (usage and attitude studies) has always been with us, going beyond the numbers has always interested us – and is especially relevant for marketing luxury brands.

Going deeper, interestingly, was pioneered by Ernest Dichter who developed a new form of consumer market research in the late 1940s, called Motivational Research. Based on Freudian psychoanalysis, he believed that consumers held in their minds a hidden realm of desires, taboos, repressions, and secrets. He believed that every product had an image, even a ‘soul’, and was bought not merely for the purpose it served but for the values and symbolic meanings it embodied.

Well, you couldn’t stop market researchers after that.

Market research aims to understand consumer mindsets

Gaining deeper insight into human behaviour has never gone away of course; it’s just been more refined.

Market research types now incorporates psychology, sociology, anthropology, semiotics, mythology, and economics

It reflects the complex fragmented lives we all lead.

Anew luxury brand and research consultancy is interested in the experiential part of being a consumer– not just the process of buying, but the actual experience of owning and consuming a product/service.

And understanding the context surrounding consumers when they make their choices.

We want to know the role of emotions, feelings, moods, and other affective aspects of consumption. It matters with luxury brand marketing.

Qualitative market research can give real customer understanding

We like qualitative market research. We like quantitative research too but getting out from behind the desk and listening to real people who are potential and existing customers is more direct.

It’s always been a good way of getting the best insights on a brief. Like real life. You want to see and behold.

Whether that’s a customer workshop, a focus group, or a one-to-one depth interview.

For us, it means allowing time and space for those thoughts, words and phrases that are said by people who are not the client.

Phrases that potentially may reframe the problem or point the way to a solution. Phrases that might give us revelation and help us to create a powerful brand proposition.

The best consumer insights tend to come from face-to-face research. As Covid has shown, there really is nothing that replaces actually being with someone, seeing their body language, their physicality, heft, reactions, their tone.

If we cannot conduct market research in person, we Zoom/Skype for 60 minutes or so and, these can still be meaningful and insightful.

Market research doesn't always have to be quantitative or qualitative. It can be personal

Sometimes it can just be us thinking creatively and imagining things.

Thank you, Einstein.

We used to work in agencies where they discouraged personal subjectivity as it was presumed to be unrepresentative or unprofessional in relation to the brand task.

But sometimes, along with the qualitative and the quantitative market research, ourselves is all we have for original brand insight - and a great proposition.

How is this achieved?

Reading strange books and articles. Not business books. Thinking what is interesting and not what is right. Thinking the worst. To really get into the inner minds of why people do things, you have to recognise the grimness of buyer motivation. Thinking the best. Balance it with the humour and good in the world. Even in these times, it exists. One good thing about the internet is how the smallness’s of our lives can be shared and give reassurance as well as the Big Stuff. Use one’s life. Depends on your age but dig deep. It can be a great source of inspiration and insight.

Our market research experience

Our brand research expertise has been put to the test in the UK and internationally with clients including Universal Music Group (entertainment), Koch’s Cordura (fabrics), Hatch Mansfield (wines), Peninsula Residences London , Bombardier (private business aviation), Estandon (wine), Boodles (UK luxury jeweller), Ganjam (Indian luxury jeweller), Savoir Beds, The Spectator, New Statesman, Birchall Tea, Clogau, and many private investor brand creation projects.

Contact us here if you want to discuss how to conduct luxury market research or to gather inspiration and insight about your brand’s customers

Other articles