Research tools for business strategies

Abstract:

The paper highlights the commitment of General Motors to marketing research, not for the sake of doing research but as a tool for making decisions and taking actions on the marketing scene. It shows how research has paid off for General Motors and has lead to base its advertising strategies with Impact-Dubai on sound grounds. It features especially the use of a proprietary technique to BBDO the photosort, in the quest of achieving an appealing imagery to the customer. The technique consists of a validated deck of photos which are submitted to the respondents in the survey. The people express their opinions about brands and how far do they like/dislike them (affinity/rejection scores), using photos rather than words. It shows how this allows to assess in a more reliable way the imagery related to a brand. Words in general fall short of expressing all the nuances of the pictures in our heads a brand might evoke. Add to this that, in a multicultural business environment, words might be a source of miscommunication. Let us take for example the attribute avant-garde. It might evoke things in the mind of the customer that are different of what the creative director might imagine because he happens to belong to another culture. Pictures do not suffer from the same shortcomings. The signs are tangible and do not need an interpretation process. The paper is based on a research on 400 car owners of the middle category and up, and covered Saudi Arabia and UAE. It displays the methodology used to process the data obtained from the photos and how it was put into use by General Motors and Impact-Dubai. It demonstrates specifically the use of such research tools for elaborating an advertising strategy and the kind of guidance it provides in the design of copies, especially in the case of multimodel car company where every care must be taken to reinforce the overall corporate image, while not letting the models cannibalise each other.

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