Inspiring Brand Positionings with Mixed Qualitative Methods
A Case of Pet Food
Qualitative research is often used by marketers to develop new brand positionings. This case illustrates how two sequentially applied qualitative approaches were used to generate positionings for a pet food brand. The methods included psychologically oriented focus groups and anthropologically informed ethnographies. When implemented independently by a single market research company, the two approaches inspired highly distinctive brand positionings. The focus groups sparked a positioning on the resolution of cognitive dissonance; the ethnographies spawned a positioning that entailed a re-conceptualization of the pet food category as a means to elevate the brand. The case concludes by considering the merits and limitations of the methods and the interdisciplinary approach overall. This research design may have promise for marketing practitioners and academics, and for consumer anthropologists in particular who have concerns that mixed qualitative methods can compromise anthropology’s discipline-specific strengths.
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