Jul 23, 2019


Min Read


Divya Kandwal

How can you use Intuitive Association (System 1 thinking) for Market Research?

Intuitive Association

Brand experience


One of the most important intents of the Market Research Industry is to figure out how people make purchase decisions. ‘Intuitive Association’ can be used effectively to understand this.

For years, the marketers and the research industry had believed the consumers to be pragmatic thinkers who mostly make rational decisions and are able to lucidly communicate why they made them. Turns out, this assumption is wrong.

Modern research in Social Psychology and Behavioural Economics suggests that the humans are less rational, less logical than was previously imagined. Nobel Laureate, Daniel Kahneman wrote in his seminal book, Thinking, Fast and Slow that the choices people make are often unconscious and highly influenced by their social, personal and environmental context. He calls this System 1 Thinking and claims that it accounts for about 90% of out brain’s processing power.

We are now aware that most of buyer behaviour is spontaneous, emotional and intuitive. Up to 95% of our purchase decisions are directed by subconscious mental processes.

Therefore, “Intuitive Brand Association” is a much better indicator of buyer behaviour. It refers to the ideas, concepts and words that a consumer instinctively associates with a Brand.

How is Intuitive Association determined?

There are many methods for discovering Intuitive Brand Association. However, Numr Research calculates it through a focused survey of numerous, diverse consumers to arrive at the most precise conclusion.

The first step includes User Calibration to maintain the accuracy and integrity of the research.

Then, the calibrated user is shown certain specific words that the Brand Manager associates with his Brand. The user then selects the words that he equates with the brand. Every word gets associated or dissociated and depending on the speed of the user, a matrix is drawn up.

This is done across many respondents to arrive at a conclusion about the words that general consumers associate with the Brand.

Intuitive association Numr Research

Since, System 1 or Intuitive Thinking is instinctive and emotional, therefore it is fast. The associated words are considered to be intrinsic to the Brand.

Calculating Intuitive Association helps a Brand uncover what consumers associate with it. Discovering these associations enables Brands to formulate Marketing Strategies focusing on the positive, intuitively associated words.

As Susan Fournier of Harvard Business School explains, Brands contain personal meaning for the consumer’s self-conception”. Any marketing strategy that is developed merely based on the Rational Response of the audience is bound to not work well. Intuition and Emotion are elements that trigger a quick decision-making process. As Forbes concludes, without emotion involved, an action is less likely to happen, at least not rapidly.

Therefore, Intuitive Association is the best method for organisation to base their Marketing Strategies on, for a successful campaign.

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