Research methods

Projective techniques

Mustard is continually exploring new and alternative research methods and techniques - including projective techniques - to delve deeper, to understand perceptions, decision making processes and underlying needs / motivations.

As well as providing something different to moderated discussion and for delving deeper into the sub-conscious, projective techniques are useful for exploring subject areas that consumers might not necessarily find it easy to express an opinion on (e.g. brand perceptions).

Mustard projective techniques

A selection of the projective techniques we regularly use include:

  • Brand icon: respondents bring an item, doubling up as both a pre-task as well as a projective technique
  • Planets / guided fantasy: involves quiet-time on the part of the respondents to deliver deeper insight and more colourful descriptions of the customer relationship and / or experience
  • Psycho drawings: most commonly pre-prepared sheets of paper, with stick men and women and an empty speech or thought bubble
  • Treemen: encourages respondents to disclose their feelings and emotions
  • Courtroom drama: used mostly in concept testing and creative development projects and towards the end of groups
  • Role play: most often used when conducting customer experience and customer journey research projects
  • Brand personification / brand obituary: a fun and insightful technique
  • Time machine: a technique to stimulate creative and ‘future thinking’
  • Mood boards: time consuming, but very insightful
  • Withdrawal techniques: allow us to better understand consumer’s relationships with brands, products and services by restricting access to them!
  • Creative vandalism: have participants destroy and reconstruct creative materials and stimulus to help re-shape and develop concepts

Projective techniques are always used with the commercial end in mind. Knowing that a brand is similar in personality to Simon Cowell is one thing, but understanding the relevance of those personally traits and how they manifest in the brand is where insights are formed.