This paper aimed to focus on political marketing and utilised a number of projective techniques to explore the UK Conservative Party’s “brand image” amongst young adults aged 18-24 years. There is little guidance in the extant literature regarding projective technique analysis. Furthermore, there are explicit calls for insight and more understanding into the analytical process. Responding to this identified gap in the literature, this paper provides an illustrative guide that can be used to analyse and interpret findings generated from qualitative projective techniques.
This paper opted for an exploratory study using focus group discussions, combined with qualitative projective techniques. Eight two-hour focus group discussions were conducted with 46 young citizens aged 18-24 years from three locations in England. Focus groups were conducted prior to the 2010 UK General Election. The data from the projective techniques were thematically analysed by the researcher.
This research provides insight into the broad process used to analyse and interpret the qualitative projective expressions in relation to the UK Conservative Party’s brand image from the perspective of young adults. Furthermore, this paper highlights that projective techniques can provide an insight into underlying feelings and deep-seated attitudes towards political parties, candidates and the positive and negative aspects of brand image.
Several limitations became apparent at the end of this study. As this is a qualitative study, findings cannot be generalisable to the wider population. Additionally, it is important to note that the researcher had limited experience of conducting focus group discussions combined with projective techniques, and this can be considered a limitation. Nevertheless, the researcher did attend professional “effective depth interviewing” training delivered by the “Marketing Research Society” before data collection. This goes some way in addressing this limitation.
This paper provides an illustrative guide and insight into the analytical process that can be used to analyse and interpret findings generated from qualitative projective techniques. This can be used by academics with little experience of projective techniques. Furthermore, this framework may be useful for practitioners such as marketers, political parties and candidates to explore and analyse the external image of other political brands. The elicitation ability of qualitative projective techniques facilitates greater expressive insight that may remain hidden if traditional direct data collection tools such as interviews and questionnaires are used.
This paper provides some understanding into how to analyse subjective meaning such as feelings, attitudes, perceptions and associations revealed through projective techniques. Furthermore, projective techniques can provide access to the private conscious and unconscious inner-world of the participant. They allow respondents to express themselves with greater detail and discussion compared with direct questioning. This research, therefore, presents greater insight in managing and analysing expressions generated from this non-intrusive approach that can encourage open disclosure with less hesitancy, verbally less demanding and suitable to overcome emotional, language and cultural barriers.
This paper adds to the under-researched and undefined practice of analysing projective expressions by providing an illustrative process to interpret and understand insight generated from qualitative projective techniques. Thus, answers the explicit calls for detailed guidance in this area of research. This was achieved by critically reviewing and adapting the approaches taken by Boddy, 2005, Butler-Kisber, 2010 and Hofstede et al., 2007 and incorporating them into a pragmatic systematic framework. This research could be used as a foundation for future studies and a point of reference for people with limited knowledge of projective technique analysis.
Pich, C. and Dean, D. (2015), "Qualitative projective techniques in political brand image research from the perspective of young adults", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 115-144. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-12-2012-0058
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited