Predicting tomorrow: The holy grail of market research is the ability to predict future behaviour.
And more than often, we rely on measuring current behaviour to be able to predict the future. But even the “current” behaviour is actually “past” by the time the results reach the board room – typically 1-2 months after data is collected. And this length of time, for some categories, could entail significant market place change.
Attitudes precede behaviour: One key predictor of future behaviour is current attitudinal disposition. But the attitudinal statements on which we elicit ratings are usually all “static” or grounded in that particular moment. For instance, “Is a brand I trust” measures the current or present disposition. We hypothesize that there is a “dynamic” aspect of the image as well. And that the degree and direction of dynamism is critical to measure as it could give a better understanding of the future. So in context of trust, we propose rewording the attribute to “Is a brand that keeps building on my trust”. The table below lists a few more generic brand image attributes and the reworded versions to capture the “evolving” dimensionality. Of course, some preliminary qualitative research is essential to ensure that we keep the meaning and context of the attributes while we tweak it to add the “dynamism”.
Are dynamic attributes a better predictor? In the next few months, we will be validating our hypothesis by a parallel test – one panel with regular attributes and the other with dynamic attributes. The strength of the relationship of each set to a future claimed intention of buying will be assessed in each case via statistical analysis to validate our hypothesis that “dynamic” attributes are a stronger predictor of the future.
What does this means for you? This is not a case for replacing static attributes with dynamic ones but rather using both – perhaps tracking dynamism more regularly while using static as a dipstick? After all, if the purpose of frequent image tracks is to make the measure sensitive, what better than making the attributes sensitive by infusing a “dynamic” twist?
At ORC International, our Senior Directors refuse to accept status quo and are “dynamic” and experimental. Our curiosity and passion ensure that we deliver high quality research. Please let us know about your research challenges and allow us to revert with a thought provoking solution.