To read this content please select one of the options below:

An interdisciplinary method for brand association research

Silvia Ranfagni (Department of Economics and Management, University of Florence, Florence, Italy)
Simone Guercini (Department of Economics and Management, University of Florence, Florence, Italy)
Belinda Crawford Camiciottoli (Department of English Studies, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 13 May 2014




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the current role of qualitative research in the analysis of the relations between brands and consumers in new market spaces, with particular reference to how it can be enhanced with quantitative techniques to study interactions in online communities.


The paper reviews key scientific contributions in the area of qualitative marketing research. Drawing from this theoretical background, the authors then propose the integration of digital ethnography (a qualitative approach) with quantitative text mining as an innovative approach to gain insights into perceptions of brand associations among online consumers.


The paper contributes to a greater awareness of both limitations and new perspectives in relation to qualitative market research, while suggesting innovative paths for future research.

Practical implications

The new methodological approach described can be used to better understand brand knowledge based on consumer brand associations. These insights can then be applied towards developing and implementing effective branding strategies.


The authors propose an interdisciplinary methodology to study consumer behaviour in online communities which incorporates digital ethnography and computer-assisted textual analysis. Particularly the latter technique (borrowed from the field of linguistics) has not yet been exploited extensively in marketing research, but is capable of offering new types of knowledge with important implications for strategic brand management.



Ranfagni, S., Guercini, S. and Crawford Camiciottoli, B. (2014), "An interdisciplinary method for brand association research", Management Decision, Vol. 52 No. 4, pp. 724-736.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles