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(i) Motivational Research provided an early understanding of brand awareness (ii) Strategy can only be practised in large firms REQUIRED Essay Example

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Motivational Research Provided an Early Understanding of Brand Awareness


The brand image notion was formally introduced in the 1950s and has since then become a commonplace not only in motivational research but also consumer behaviour research. A number of brand image studies demonstrate that the phrase has widely been utilised in various casual and technical applications, and it has been embraced by academics and practitioners alike as the abstract reality embodiment that customers purchase brands or products for something save for their physical functions and attributes. As it will be demonstrated in this essay, the motivation research of mid-20th century was a crucial predecessor to the area of consumer behaviour. Prior to the 1960s, marketing involved many subjects, but they did not focus on consumer behaviour. The motivation research, although it is largely beyond the academic world, entirely focused on consumer and tried to explain why the customers did what they did. More importantly, motivation research provided a basis for understanding brand awareness and also consumer behaviour. The early motivation research focussed strongly on consumer motivations that were interpreted based on the findings from numerous social sciences, anthropology, sociology, and clinical psychology. Besides that, motivation research tried to uncover the customers’ underlying motivations and how brands can utilise these motivations to market their products. The motivational research tries to pay attention to the entire inner conditions’ battery which played a dynamic role in customers’ purchasing or not purchasing; thus, responding unfavourably or favourably to some communication. The aim of this piece is to demonstrate that motivational research provided an early understanding of brand awareness.


In the 1960s, Fullerton (2013) posits that the media attention towards motivation research was considerably low. For instance, the academic journals that preferred quantitative methods were newer and trending. Therefore, the motivation research was avoided by the practitioner publications. Although it appeared to have died out, the practitioners continued using the motivation research and its use increased tremendously. In1968, a conference was organised by James Engel, the first person to publish an article to praise motivation research. This conference, according to Fullerton (2013), brought together disparate people that were researching on consumers’ behaviour and the majority of them were fairly new to the marketing field. Since then, motivation research brought about an increased social sciences expertise to bear on consumer behaviour. According to Brosekha and Velayutham (2015), brand awareness precedes every other step in the purchasing process. More importantly, it is impossible to perform a brand attitude without the consumers knowing the brand. Brand awareness, in memory theory, has been positioned as a crucial initial step in building the associations’ bundle that is attached to the brand in memory. In Schwarzkopf and Gries (2010) book, they mention that Ernest Dichter (one of the early motivational researchers) led to modern market research as well as individuals’ creative performance, especially those that based their abilities to advise customers on their abilities to identify their goods’ role in modern society and culture. Schwarzkopf and Gries (2010) posit that all societies generate objects which have symbolic functions rooted in the actual function, and that demonstrate how a certain culture thinks. Basically, studies by Ernest Dichter on marketing automobile goods for communicative as well as symbolic purposes made some contributions to modern customers’ identities, they demonstrated their culture’s attitude, they signified their main concept of what they desire as well as they served as sign systems.

In one of his studies, as cited by Schwarzkopf and Gries (2010), Dichter considered an automobile as an important cultural artefact that signifies the important concepts of the customers’ collective desire: autonomy, individuality, mobility, self-determination, and formation of dissimilarity. A number of crucial social sub-systems play an important role in making products as symbolic meaning carriers, such as politics, technology, design, economy, advertising, marketing, and so forth. This significance was noted by Dichter; therefore, he outstandingly translated it into a marketing strategy. The majority of Dichter’s observations have remained valid until today. Schwarzkopf and Gries (2010) maintain that Dichter’s research is a clear indication of early market researchers’ cultural sensitivity. Dichter’s also influenced British marketing; for instance, his impact on consumer culture as well as market research was significant. Dichter’s motivational studies were considered to phenomenally cure the ailing brands; therefore, advertising service providers in Britain adopted new methods that were more holistic to understand consumer behaviour and cure their ailing brands. The ‘New Kind of Woman’ invention is a Dichter’s major accomplishment in the British market and his studies demonstrated that accepting particular marketing and managerial techniques rely heavily on the broader societal and cultural setting. The British society readiness for motivational research as an innovation for marketing was determined strongly by factors beyond Dichter’s strategic control.

According to Schwarzkopf and Gries (2010), such factors were associated with Americanisation fears, national professional traditions dominance in carrying out market research, consumers anxieties regarding the marketers’ undue influence, and the global Cold War’s cultural–political climate. As mentioned by Thomas (1998), motivational research as a form of marketing research tries to elucidate the consumers’ behaviours. More, importantly, the motivational research tries to find out and understand what consumers do not understand fully regarding themselves. Thomas (1998) posits that motivational research implicitly assumes the subsistence of unconscious or underlying motives which affects how the consumer behaves. The early motivational research tried to identify influences and forces which consumers were not aware of (such as sociological forces and cultural factors). The research enabled brands to come up with innovative ways to market their products and improve brand awareness. The unconscious motives, according to Thomas (1998), are complicated by as well as intertwined with conscious motives, fashion trends, economic variables, and cultural biases. The motivational research tried to search through all of such factors and influences with the aim of unravelling the consumer behaviour mystery given that it is associated with certain product or service, with the intention that the brands’ marketers clearly understands the targeted audience as well as ways of influencing that audience.

The value of motivational research was exhibited when influential underlying motives started exerting influence on the consumer behaviours. The motivational research focused mainly on the products and services that were associated with self-esteem or status, personal adornment, power, and social taboo. Thomas (1998) posits that product categories started gaining from the insights offered by motivational research. For instance, the motivational research demonstrated that cultural influences and perception variables are the most crucial factors in low-involvement products categories. The customers’ culture is an organisation of regulations and rules which optimise and simplify their existence. For instance, cultural rules administrate how the consumers open packages, squeeze the toothpaste tube, how they use their bath towels, their work roles, and so forth. The majority of marketers were unaware of such cultural rules; therefore, motivational research enabled marketers to understand how such cultural rules affect the consumption of products. Hitherto, it has become apparent that consumer purchases are normally driven by different motivations; therefore, marketers must place emphasis on these motivations in order to create brand awareness. According to Kozinets (2010), the recent design boom, as well as attention towards user oriented and design oriented principles, demonstrate that customers’ motivations to purchase and utilise services and products are certainly social and complex. Actually, since motivational research could regularly show the consumers’ unsuspected motivations which underlie the utilisation of certain brand or product, the motivation research is nowadays utilities in the innovation aspect of marketing.

In the modern-day business world, motivational research is utilised as the basis of front-end, creative, and valuable insights which are later on tested quantitatively on larger representative consumers’ samples. As pointed out by Kozinets (2010), in a competitive global environment, innovation and insight are the main factors for success; therefore, it is clear that motivational research still plays a crucial role in brand marketing. For many years, motivational research has demonstrated its ability to assist brands in delivering ideas which bring forth new market categories and new products. Furthermore, motivational research is still serving as a valuable input in new products brainstorming, help brands reposition and create awareness, and facilitate the development of new promotional campaigns ideas. Besides that, motivation research provides new ideas that could help brands penetrate the conscious awareness of the customers through appealing to their desires, fears, needs, as well as dreams which were hidden below their conscious awareness surface.


In conclusion, this piece has demonstrated that motivational research provided an early understanding of brand awareness. As mentioned in the essay, motivation research was utilised for product design and to understand the hidden behaviour of the customers. The motivational research was particularly utilised marketers to stimulate creativity. Motivational research tried to determine the forces behind the customers’ behaviour and also tried to deconstruct complex customers’ behaviours in order to influence them. Without a doubt, motivational research is still considered as a crucial tool used by marketers to gain a deeper understanding of the consumer behaviours. Such insights are normally considered to be more revealing as compared to the information offered by traditional quantitative as well as descriptive marketing research techniques.


Brosekha, A.A. & Velayutham, C.M., 2015. Consumer Buying Behaviour – A Literature Review. IOSR Journal of Business and Management, vol. 1, pp.08-16.

Fullerton, R.A., 2013. The birth of consumer behavior: motivation research in the 1940s and 1950s. Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 5, no. 2, pp.212-22.

Kozinets, R.V., 2010. Motivation Research. In Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. West Sussex, UK: Wiley. p.2010.

Schwarzkopf, S. & Gries, R., 2010. Ernest Dichter and Motivation Research: New Perspectives on the Making of Post-War Consumer Culture. New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan.

Thomas, J.W., 1998. Motivational Research. [Online] Available at: https://www.decisionanalyst.com/whitepapers/motive/ [Accessed 20 May 2017].