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The birth of 'brand image,' and other things. Posted on 08/11/2001.

"Consuming Interests" is an article on the history of "deep" market research developed by Chicago practitioners in the 40s and 50s. It's an enlightening piece, depicting the genesis of applying social science research to product marketing. Back then, products were usually simple enough that their design didn't require much "user" understanding--but communicating the value did. Now that product complexity is rapidly increasing, applying social science to product development makes more and more sense. This article shows that the business world has a history of embracing such efforts, when it's shown that it makes a positive impact on the bottom line.

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Excellent article! In the article, they say that that kind of hardcore qualitative research isn't relevant anymore, and is replaced by more bottom-line directed quantitative research. Is that so? Maybe the time for hardcore research on internet related topics is now..
Posted by Peter Van Dijck @ 08/12/2001 06:10 AM PST [link to this comment]

It is probably less prominent among marketing and advertising folks than it was during the period this article describes. But it is rapidly rising in prominence among product designers, which includes web and software efforts. I have more or less made a living this way for the past five years and, while I'm exhausted from having to constantly advocate the value of qualitative research to people who can only think about demographics and surveys, I continue to be startled at the value it provides. Because of the growing number of people using and advocating these techniques, I half-heartedly predict that these ideas will rise again in marketing departments. Just before the bust, I was within an inch of selling $1M worth of field research to a major advertising agency, who were salivating over the prospect. Then suddenly, no money.
Posted by Marc Rettig @ 08/15/2001 07:49 AM PST [link to this comment]

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