Metaphor elicitation (OMET) is a powerful tool to leverage for the purposes of understanding the underlying and non-conscious associations that shape consumer perceptions.
Some people typically have difficulty answering certain questions in research predominantly relying on System 2 approaches. For example, people often find it difficult to describe exactly what a brand represents – they just know, intuitively. Online metaphor elicitation technique (OMET) provides a functional tool for people to communicate their gut instincts, and then more thoughtfully explore and explain their emotional associations and perceptions.
Questions metaphor elicitation helped MDRG answer include:
Topics that are particularly hard for people to describe articulately or accurately include complicated or abstract ideas, highly personal topics, every day and commonplace topics, or marginal topics. These topics often require a more indirect System 1 approach – which OMET offers – rather than overly direct System 2 approaches that might elicit answers that are overly generic, superficial, or insincere.
Topics were so abstract or complicated that people have difficulty describing them in concrete terms.
FOR EXAMPLE, FITNESS BRANDS
System 2 approach: What do you feel your favorite fitness brand represents?
System 1 approach: Please select the image that best captures the essence of your favorite fitness brand. Then, please explain why you selected this image. How does this image capture the essence of your favorite fitness brand?
Topics were so personal that people have difficulty using words to convey what they feel.
FOR EXAMPLE, SELLING A HOUSE
System 2 approach: What does it feel like to sell your house?
System 1 approach: Please select the image that best captures the experience of selling your house. Reflect on your house, the reasons you sold it, and what the experience of selling felt like. Then, please explain why you selected this image. How does this image capture the experience of selling your house?
Topics so constant that they are rarely consciously examined.
FOR EXAMPLE, HEALTHCARE
System 2 approach: How do you see and evaluate your local healthcare options?
System 1 approach: Please select the image that best captures Hospital A and the role it plays in your community. Then, please explain why you selected this image. How does this image capture the role that Hospital A plays in your community? Please select the image that best captures Hospital B and the role it plays in your community. Then, please explain why you selected this image. How does this image capture the role that Hospital B plays in your community?
FOR EXAMPLE, NEW ORLEANS AS A LEISURE DESTINATION
Topics were so marginal that they are rarely consciously examined and often provoke generic associations.
System 2 approach: What do you think of when you think of visiting New Orleans?
System 1 approach: Please select the image that best captures how you see New Orleans as a leisure destination. Then, please explain why you selected this image. How does this image capture how you see New Orleans as a leisure destination?
Metaphor elicitation results such as these provide guidance for a spectrum of business decisions, ranging from advertising and branding to product development and customer experience.
Insights derived from OMET can tell us what needs to be captured in advertising and branding to connect with consumers, as well as negative associations that must be avoided, or emerging associations that are just beginning to shape the way advertising and branding are perceived within a category.
OMET can also be used to identify the emotional needs that a product concept fills in product development research. Results can also provide direction on the kind of packaging that will resonate best with consumers, and missteps to avoid. OMET can also be used to identify how emotion guides consumer decision making.
Lastly, OMET can be used to enhance the customer experience by identifying their emotional associations with the experience a brand provides, the emotional needs they are looking to fulfill through that brand, and how well the brand succeeds in fulfilling those emotional needs.