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Motivation Research

Part 2. Marketing Research

  1. Robert V. Kozinets

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem02006

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Kozinets, R. V. 2010. Motivation Research. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 2.

Author Information

  1. York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

Questions such as “Where did Betty Crocker's maternal appearance come from” or “How was the famous Exxon logo ‘Put a tiger in your tank?’ coined?” or “How did Nestle tried to crack the cultural code and market coffee to the tea-drinking nation of Japan?” or “How did ice cream containers become round?” have answers that are quite surprising, as they are all involved with a very unusual and controversial form of consumer research called motivation research, which continues to be influential and contentious to this day.

Motivation research is a term used to refer to a selection of qualitative research methods designed to probe consumers' minds to discover the deep, often subconscious or latent reasons and goals underlying everyday consumption and purchasing behaviors. Motivation research was the premier consumer research method used in the 1950s, leading to its lasting influence on the areas of advertising and consumer research, as well as on advertising practice. In academic circles, however, the rapid rise of motivation research was followed by an equally rapid decline (Stern, 2004).

Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic personality theories provide the foundation for the development of motivation research in marketing. The theory was built on the premise that unconscious or deeply hidden needs and drives underlie all human behavior. Particularly influential are sexual drives and other deep-seated biological ones such as the need for dominance and aggression. Freud's theory was constructed from his own patients' recollections of early childhood experiences, combined with an analysis of their dreams, as well as the specific nature of their problems with mental and physical adjustments to their situations. In Freudian theory, these needs are assumed to lie at the very core of human personality and motivation.

Ernest Dichter was trained as a psychoanalyst in Vienna and moved to New York in 1938 (Stern, 2004). He began adopting Freud's psychoanalytic techniques to the study of consumers buying habits in the 1930s. Until that time, marketing research has mainly focused on what consumers did – descriptions of their behaviors (see Descriptive Research). These studies tended to be quantitative as well as anecdotal, what came to be commonly known as descriptive statistical case studies. Providing a fresh and refreshing change to this, Dichter used qualitative research methods not to describe what was actually done, or even said; instead, he tried to delve deeper into why consumers actually behaved as they did (see Exploratory Research).

Dichter's fame quickly spread because of his new approach, engaging presentations, and skilled writing style. The entertaining and usually surprising explanations offered for different kinds of consumer behavior fascinated the advertising and marketing world, particularly since many of these explanations were grounded in sexual motivations. For example, marketers were told that cigarettes and lifesaver candies were bought because of their sexual symbolism. Men, it was claimed, regarded their convertible cars as surrogate mistresses (Dichter, 1964). Before long, almost every major advertising agency in the country had on its staff a psychologist who conducted motivation research studies. Some of Dichter's more influential and long-lasting insights can help us understand the basic principles of the analysis.

In one set of studies, Dichter describe baking as an essential expression of femininity as well as motherhood. It was also very sensorily fulfilling, evoking nostalgic memories such as the delicious odors that pervaded the house when the mother was baking. Dichter 1964 postulated that, when baking a cake, a woman symbolically linked to the act of giving birth. The most powerful moment of the experience occurs when a product is actually pulled out from the oven, symbolizing the moment of birth. When a woman bakes a cake for a man she is offering it to him as a symbol of her fertility. At the time, the envisioning of Betty Crocker's appearance was apparently based on Dichter's analysis of baking as fertility. In our contemporary times, we can only speculate what is symbolized by the baking of a cake by a husband for his wife (Hitt, 2000).

The amazingly long-lived Exxon/Esso logo “Put a tiger in your tank” and its related campaigns had their genesis in another Ernest Dichter study (Dichter, 1964). According to Dichter, the automobile allows consumers to convert into reality two powerful subconscious urges. The first is the aggressive urge to compete with, beat, best, and destroy that psychoanalysis finds present as a real force in all human psyches. The second is Thanatos, the powerful encounter with mortality, the fear of death. For example the expression “step on it” comes from the desire to feel power. The phrase “I missed hitting that car (or baby stroller) by inches” reflects the profound desire to play with danger, to come close to the edge of mortality. Dichter's idea was to develop a slogan that allowed the fuel company to tap into consumers' unconscious aggressive motives for driving a car (Patton, 2002). The outcome emerging from this research insight, added to the creativity of Exxon's hired advertising copywriters, was an image that mixed control of a wild force with a tamed viciousness: a tank full of striped, feline fury.

And how did ice cream boxes become round? After an analysis conducted for a dairy food company, Dichter 1964 found that ice cream was a type of sexually satisfying, orgiastic food. It melted in one's mouth providing a extremely sensual and pleasurable sensation. Like mother's milk, it did not need to be chewed, but invited sucking. It was sweet and creamy, a pure hedonistic pleasure. Its sweetness and richness signify incredible abundance and people eat it as if they wanted it to run down their chins. Because of these aspects of pure abandon and hedonistic excess, Dichter recommended an ancient symbol of limitlessness. The circle, the line without end, the ceaseless pleasure of abundance and earthly delights, was the best packaging for ice cream. Further, the box should have illustrations running around its periphery to show the unending delight of the delicious ice cream within.

This form of analysis may seem foreign and unscientific, and some of these examples might seem overblown and hyperbolic. The fact that motivation research seems strange to us really is not very strange at all. It is based on the premise that we, like all consumers, are not usually aware of the reasons that underlie our behaviors (see Ethnograpic Research; Exploratory Research). One of the reasons we react with embarrassment when we have these explanations is because they deal with such central, deep-seated needs. As motivation research digs deep into these needs, we gain insights that allow the marketer to better understand the underlying feelings, attitudes, and emotions that concern the use of a product, service, or a brand, or other consumption goods such as experiences and ideas. Perhaps it is therefore no wonder that, although she has had a little cosmetic work done, Betty Crocker is still Betty Crocker, Exxon still puts tigers in our fuel tanks (and in their advertising campaigns), and ice cream containers are still round. As seen later in this article, motivation research, repackaged into contemporary forms, continues to exert a major influence on advertising and marketing practice.

1 Evaluations of Motivation Research

  1. Top of page
  2. Evaluations of Motivation Research
  3. Motivation Research Today
  4. Motivation Research Tools and Techniques
  5. Contemporary Motivation Researcher: Clotaire Rapaille
  6. Bibliography

By the early 1960s, marketers began to believe that motivation research was flawed (Stern, 2004). First, because of its intensive nature, qualitative research sample sizes had to be small. Traditional, statistics-driven marketing researchers worried about generalizing the findings of a small group of consumers to the totality of the marketplace (see Statistical Approaches to Determining Sample Sizes). Second, marketing researchers also worried that the analyses of projective test and depth interviews were highly subjective (see Focus Groups and Depth Interviews; Projective Techniques). In fact, it seemed that the quality of the interpretation depended very much on the acuity and even brilliance of the interpretive researcher (however, the same might be true of any technique, such as the detailed analysis and interpretation of sophisticated quantitative data).

Third, critics of motivation research noted that many of the projective tests that were used had originally been developed for purposes of clinical diagnosis of mental illness rather than for studies of marketing or for consumer behavior (see Projective Techniques). Consumer behavior studies, however, were interested in finding explanations for the behavior of typical consumers. On the other hand, Freudian theory was developed in an entirely different social context – nineteenth century Vienna – and applied in the 1950s into postwar America.

Finally, many motivation researchers would inject highly exotic and usually sexual reasons into what seemed to many to be rather prosaic and everyday consumer purchases and behaviors. For example, was it better to sell a man a pair of suspenders as means for holding up his pants, or as a type of protection to help him cope with his castration anxiety? Should a car be sold to a woman as an efficient vehicle or as an impressive substitute penis to help her compete in a world of aggressive men? Marketing researchers concerned with the dignity, reputation, and legitimacy of their scientific field began to question the often rather spicy explanations that were offered by the motivation researchers. It seemed that in the eyes of the motivation researcher, almost any mundane product or service also had a profoundly symbolic – and usually sexual – side. But for many marketing and consumer researchers, it was beginning to seem as though motivation research had forgotten Freud's famous saying that, sometimes, a cigar was just a cigar.

2 Motivation Research Today

  1. Top of page
  2. Evaluations of Motivation Research
  3. Motivation Research Today
  4. Motivation Research Tools and Techniques
  5. Contemporary Motivation Researcher: Clotaire Rapaille
  6. Bibliography

Despite its rocky history and many critiques, motivation research is still regarded as an important technique by marketers who want to gain a deeper understanding into why consumers act in the ways that they do. These insights are often thought to be much more revealing than the information provided by traditional descriptive and quantitative marketing research methods (see Focus Groups and Depth Interviews). Although the term motivation research is most often used to refer to qualitative research that is designed specifically to discover consumers' hidden, tacit, latent, or unconscious motivations, the term can also be used to reference any form of research that seeks to explain why people do things rather than simply describe what they do, or offer correlates to that behavior (see Exploratory Research).

Over time, we have learned that many of the motivations driving consumer purchases indeed are motivated by sexual, dominant, violent, other biologically basic needs identified by Freud. We need look no further than the worlds of fashion, sports, entertainment, pornography, and video-game production and marketing for examples. The recent boom in design and attention to user-oriented design principles draw our attention to the fact that human motivations to buy and use products and services are indeed complex and social. In fact, because motivation research can often reveal unsuspected consumer motivations that underlie the use of a particular product or brand, one of its main uses in marketing is in innovation. Today, motivation research is popularly employed as a source of valuable, creative, front-end insights that are later quantitatively tested on larger representative samples of consumers. In a competitive global environment in which insight and innovation are keys to success, it is no wonder that motivation research continues to play an extremely important role.

Motivational research has a long, proven track record of being able to help deliver ideas that spawn new products and market categories, to act as a valuable input into the brainstorming of new products and services, to help in repositioning existing brands, as well as to develop new ideas for promotional campaigns. Motivation research offers novel ideas that can be used to penetrate the consumer's conscious awareness by appealing to their needs, fears, dreams, and desires that lie hidden under the surface of their conscious awareness.

By the 1980s, qualitative consumer and marketing research had evolved to encompass a variety of research approaches, including ethnography (see Ethnograpic Research), semiotics, Content Analysis, literary techniques, historical methods, discourse analysis, phenomenological methods, and conversation analysis (see Exploratory Research). For some time, the two techniques of depth interview (see Focus Groups and Depth Interviews) and projective tests (see Projective Techniques) were the methodologies most commonly associated with motivation research. The psychoanalytic interview developed in marketing and consumer research, as it did in other social scientific fields, into the “depth” or (later) “long” interview, and the clinician's Rorschach and thematic tests evolved into a variety of projective tasks.

By the 1990s, many of these research approaches had become firmly established in marketing and consumer research. Motivation research can be seen as one step in a series of stages in the development of a vast range of marketing research techniques designed to uncover various facets of people's thoughts, desires, and lifestyles. Although projective tasks are used by researchers today, they are not nearly as common as they were during the heyday of motivation research. Interviews, however, are a staple of consumer and marketing research, whether in their academic one-on-one format, or in the focus group interview format, which is extremely popular in marketing research practice (see Focus Groups and Depth Interviews). In the first years of the twenty-first century, these methods, which had their inception in motivation research, continued to make gains in enhancing our understanding of consumers' deeper motivations, meanings, and understandings of the world. Through its more detailed, complex, and subtle social analyses, motivation research is alive and well and still very much with us. By emphasizing the less obvious aspects of consumer behavior, it has helped marketing recognize some of the important forces driving consumer culture.

Some of the qualitative research techniques used in the original motivation research have been developed and are now in common use, particularly among advertising, marketing, and marketing research practitioners. In the following section, we present an introduction to some of these tools that may be useful in research.

3 Motivation Research Tools and Techniques

  1. Top of page
  2. Evaluations of Motivation Research
  3. Motivation Research Today
  4. Motivation Research Tools and Techniques
  5. Contemporary Motivation Researcher: Clotaire Rapaille
  6. Bibliography

In contemporary marketing research, there are a number of qualitative research techniques used to delve into customers' unconscious hidden motivations. These techniques draw their lineage directly from motivation research. They include projective tests and tasks, metaphor analysis, storytelling, word-association tasks, sentence-completion tasks, picture generation, and also photo sorts (see Exploratory Research; Focus Groups and Depth Interviews; Observation Methods; Personal Observation; Projective Techniques). Marketing researchers such as Gerald Zaltman and Clotaire Rapaille are new practitioners of the craft of motivation research who pick up, develop, and make contemporary the approach initially popularized by Ernest Dichter.

3.1 Thematic Apperception Test and Other Projectives

The thematic apperception test was developed by Henry A. Murray and Christiana D. Morgan at Harvard University during the 1930s to explore some of the motivating forces underlying personality. It is a picture interpretation technique that uses a standard series of 30 pictures about which the research subject is asked to tell a dramatic story. The pictures themselves are open-ended yet provocative, showing, for example, a young boy contemplating a violin that sits on a table before him.

For a marketing research example, consider the hypothetical research we might conduct for a new cold medication. In this research, there would be an image of a middle-aged woman in a bathrobe looking into a mirror and a caption underneath it saying “She looked into the mirror that morning and realized that she had a cold.” When we show this picture to women, what might we hear? As researchers we would probably discover that middle-aged women consider their lives to be fast paced, full of obligations, and socially active. The discovery of a cold abruptly disturbs the pace of their lives. An advertisement that could result from this projective research might show an attractive, busy, middle-aged woman walking down a busy street. She sneezes and then, suddenly, all the motion around her stops. She opens her purse, takes out the cold medication, takes it, smiles, and then her life speeds up to its previous rapid pace. By providing such an image in advertising, the marketer is to symbolize that they understand the lived experience and social world of the consumer. This image-based positioning builds strong emotional ties between the brand and the consumer.

3.2 Metaphor Analysis

Metaphor analysis is a method based upon providing visual images to consumers, or having them collect their own images, and then using these images for projective tasks in which they compare and contrast products, services, or brands to the various images, and the images to one another. The analytic goal of metaphor analysis is to generate guiding analogies providing a deep sense of understanding of how consumers relate to a particular product, category, or brand.

Gerald Zaltman, Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Business School, has popularized this method in recent years. His approach, which he terms ZMET, or the Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique, is based upon many of the same fundamentals as classic motivation research. Zaltman 1996 offers the following founding principles for his metaphor test: the nonverbal and unconscious nature of most social communications, the image-based or imaginary nature of most human thought, the centrality of the form of metaphor to human thinking, the embodiment or bodily nature of cognition and thought, the linkage of reason, emotion, and experience and the assumption that deep structures of human motivation can be accessed through projective-style research (see Projective Techniques). The relation of the body, emotions, and hidden unconscious motivations to the projective task of marketing research relates this work directly to motivation research.

In the ZMET test, consumers are either asked to collect a number of images that represent their thoughts and feelings about a product, service, or brand, or they are provided with these images in various forms. The forms can be clippings from a magazine or specially designed graphics and photographs that they select from the computer screen. Research participants are given the focus of the research a week or more in advance of the actual interview. They are encouraged to ruminate and think deeply about the topic of the assignment and, if relevant, about their selection of photographs and images. The research question must be carefully considered in order to focus the response of the consumers. Considerations may include their opinions of a particular company or brand, their experiences of a purchase setting or a buying process, their use of a service or product, or how they feel about a certain concept. Participants are also directed not to choose photographs that literally represent a product or service. For example, if the research topic is mobile phones, the research participant would be asked not to select any actual photographs or graphics of mobile phones. Forcing the research participant to choose photos that indirectly relate to digital cameras activates an analogical style of reasoning that, it is assumed, can help reveal latent feelings, thoughts, and motivations (Zaltman, 1996).

The interview is approximately two hours in length and consists of guided questions regarding the images chosen by the consumers to answer the focused research question. As the interview progresses, participants are asked for their opinions regarding other senses that might express their feelings and thoughts. The researcher's main task is to attempt to elicit as many rich metaphors from the participant's experiences and memories as possible. The idea, according to Zaltman (1996, p. 15), is to allow “deep, latent ideas to emerge as well as for the expression of the wide range of relevant ideas.” Increasingly, the ZMET and other metaphor-based techniques have incorporated advanced mapping and diagram-drawing techniques to analyze and present the findings of their research, as well as digital graphical design and even creative animations with voice-overs. The ZMET technique has been very successfully adopted and used by the top corporations in the world, from Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble, to Walt Disney, Mercedes-Benz, Bank of America, Microsoft, and Chevron.

3.3 Storytelling

In the method of guided storytelling, consumers tell real-life stories about the meanings or uses of products under investigation. Although this technique is related to depth interviews, it is considered to be a distinct form of research. Often, the storytelling method asks research participants to imagine and relate stories relating to their own product or service usage. Another application of the storytelling methodology requires subjects to imagine a story involving another person. So, for example, people who have a fear of tall buildings would be asked to imagine and then tell a story about why some people are afraid of tall buildings. In this way, the storytelling process ameliorates people's own anxiety, embarrassment, and social-censoring mechanisms. Doing so, people will be less likely to censor their own apprehension about heights and to offer an accurate portrayal (see Exploratory Research).

As a form of motivation research, the storytelling method seeks to plumb the depths of consumer motivations. For example, Kimberly Clarke used a storytelling method in order to study current perceptions about diapers (Lieber, 1997). They found that using this research method, the parents actually considered that diapers were a type of clothing related to a particular stage in the child's development. If their child wore diapers for too long, the result was that the parents became distressed and embarrassed because they viewed it as a failure. They felt that they had not toilet trained their children properly and that this lack of success was obvious from the children wearing the wrong apparel for that particular stage in their life. Using the data from this storytelling study, Kimberly-Clark introduced its new Huggies Pull-ups training pants. These training pants introduced a highly successful new category into the US diaper industry.

3.4 Word-Association and Sentence-Completion Tasks

In word-association tests, research participants are presented with words one at a time, and then asked to respond with the first word that comes to mind, for example, “What is the first word that you think of when I mention the word or category coffee?” In a sentence-completion task, respondents are asked to complete a sentence upon hearing the opening phrase. For example “People who drink Starbucks are …” or “A Starbucks latte reminds me of….” These related methods can be very useful in determining consumers' associations with existing brand names, eliciting related choice sets, as well as determining associations with new brand names that are being considered and that are currently under development.

An entire web site has been devoted to creating word clouds based on people's reactions to brand names. It is called Brand Tags and is available at http://www.brandtags.net. As can be readily seen, by clicking on almost any brand name, there is a very wide assortment of responses. For example, the word cloud associated with Starbucks includes not only strong, burnt, green, and trendy but corporate, mermaid, addictive, ubiquitous, and overpriced.

3.5 Picture Generation

Marketing researchers can also use visual images to study consumers' perceptions of various brands. They can use an analysis of consumers' guided drawings or doodles to help understand consumer perceptions, and use that understanding to brainstorm new strategies for advertising. Consider some hypothetical research on coffee. Research participants were asked to draw pictures of the typical drinker of Maxwell House coffee. These drawings might elicit drawings of old-fashioned, chubby females wearing frilly aprons. When asked to draw pictures of Starbucks drinkers, the drawings might show a series of slim, cool, “with it” women wearing high heels and miniskirts. For a company like Maxwell House, these findings might provide important input about the dire need to reposition its product to seem more in tune with the times.

3.6 Photo Sorts

In photo sorting tasks, respondents receive stacks of photos depicting various events and are asked to select the pictures from the set that best portrays or captures some particular element that the researcher is interested in investigating. In a photo-sort study that was conducted by an advertising agency for Playtex, the manufacturer of bras, research participants received a stack of photos that portrayed many different types of women wearing many different types of clothing. First, the research participants were asked to choose pictures that represented the typical user of Playtex bras. They chose overweight, old-fashioned, big-breasted women (O'Shaughnessy, 1995, p. 437). These women, who were Playtex users themselves, were then asked by the researcher to select the pictures from those that best captured their own self images. Although many of the respondents may have been overweight, full-breasted, and old-fashioned in appearance, they selected photos that showed physically fit, well-dressed, and independent-looking women. The advertising agency then advised Playtex to stop stressing the comfort of its bras in its advertising campaigns and, instead, to design a new campaign that showed thinner and sexier big-bosomed women under the slogan “the fit that makes the fashion.”

4 Contemporary Motivation Researcher: Clotaire Rapaille

  1. Top of page
  2. Evaluations of Motivation Research
  3. Motivation Research Today
  4. Motivation Research Tools and Techniques
  5. Contemporary Motivation Researcher: Clotaire Rapaille
  6. Bibliography

One of the great contemporary practitioners of an updated form of motivation research is Clotaire Rapaille, a French-born psychoanalyst and medical anthropologist whose methods for mining covert motivations have compelled many Fortune 500 companies to spend massive amounts of money on his brand of “culture code” marketing research. Rapaille's research is based upon a sociobiological idea of “imprinting” that originated with studies of geese:

the combination of experience and its accompanying emotion create something widely known as an imprint, a term first applied by Konrad Lorenz. Once an imprint occurs, it strongly conditions our thought processes and shapes our future actions. Each imprint helps makes us more of who we are. The combination of imprints defines us… every imprint influences us on an unconscious level. Rapaille, 2006, pp. 6–7.

To explain how he uses the notion of imprinting in his research, Rapaille gives the example of working with Swiss food giant Nestlé trying to sell instant coffee in Japan. He discussed how he gathered groups of people together to discover how they imprinted their perceptions of coffee. He scheduled a 3 hour session with each group of research participants. In the first hour, he queried the participants about coffee usage as if he was an alien from a different planet who knew absolutely nothing about coffee. In the second hour, he had them sit on the floor using scissors and piles of magazines to make a collage of words that represented their impressions of coffee. His intuition was that these visual images would help them to express stories about coffee that could give him further insights into coffee consumption.

For the final hour of his investigative research, Rapaille asked participants to lie on the floor with pillows, put on soothing music, and asked them to relax. He spoke to them about the past, taking them from their adult years to their teen years to a time when they were young. At that point in the guided meditation, he asked them to think about coffee and to recall their earliest memory of it. He sought to elicit the very first time that they consciously experienced coffee as well as their most significant memory of coffee. Rapaille says that he learned that Japanese people had only a very superficial imprint of coffee and many had no imprint of it all (Rapaille, 2006).

His conclusion to Nestlé was that the current strategy of attempting to switch to drinkers to coffee was bound to be a failure. Nestlé instead needed to begin by giving coffee a meaning, in other words, offering up an imprint for the Japanese market (Rapaille, 2006). Nestlé began acting on this advice by creating desserts for children with coffee flavors but without caffeine. Because they were gaining a sweet-tasting coffee experience as their first imprint, Japanese youth gained a very positive first impression. The idea was that this impression and imprinting would follow the youth through their lives. Although cause and effect are difficult to measure in such complex cultural circumstances, coffee sales in Japan have steadily risen and now approach up to a billion pounds per year.

Betraying his psychoanalytic roots, and, of course, in the world of marketing research, the path from Freud to Dichter being rather short, Rapaille considers that he reveals the “reptilian” part of the brain, which is the home of violence, strong smells, violence, sex, and primal emotions (Hitt, 2000; Rapaille, 2006). According to Hitt 2000, Rapaille typically begins a marketing research session by leading a group of about 20 people through a series of word-association games. After writing words on a board, the researcher then asks the group to identify themes that unite the words. He then has them tell stories based on the concepts that have been written on the board. The idea behind this technique is to generate a number of little stories. And as in the concluding part of Rapaille's 2006 investigative research, the marketing research session involves having the research participants lie on the floor, with blankets and pillows, while repetitive and relaxing music plays for about 20 minutes to calm down the active mind. At this point, the researcher seeks to take the room full of participants back to their earliest memory of a product or category. After talking to them, he asks them to write down the story of their earliest and their most vivid memories relating to the product or category. These recollections then become the data that the researcher uses to find deep-seated, hidden, archetypal associations. Of course, we have no proof that these memories are actually valid memories of childhood experiences. Most likely, they are constructions that the participants rearrange in the present moment in order to fulfill the requirements of the research. Nonetheless, just like other types of impressionistic research gathered through motivation techniques – a collage, a completed sentence, a creative story told about an ambiguous picture – they become the basis of researcher insights in this method.

Reading through examples of Clotaire Rapaille's marketing research conclusions, one cannot help but be struck by its similarities to Dichter's motivation research. Rapaille considers that his research decodes the existing codes behind product categories discovering people's true product meanings and motivations for use. His colorful style, powerful and simple conclusions, creative metaphors, and usually biologically rooted bases for explanation evoke the spirit of motivation research. Consider as a final example, the way that Rapaille discusses the difference between the way that French and American people understand the category of cheese:

The French code for cheese is ALIVE. This makes perfect sense when one considers how the French choose and store cheese. They go to a cheese shop and poke and prod the cheeses, smelling them to learn their ages. When they choose one, they take it home and store it at room temperature in a cloche (a bell-shaped cover with little holes to allow air in and keep insects out). The American code for cheese, on the other hand, is DEAD. Again, this makes sense in context. Americans “kill” their cheese through pasteurization (unpasteurized cheeses are not allowed into this country), select hunks of cheese that had been prewrapped – mummified, if you will – in plastic (like body bags), and store it, still wrapped airtight, in a morgue also known as a refrigerator. Rapaille, 2006, p. 25.

Bibliography

  1. Top of page
  2. Evaluations of Motivation Research
  3. Motivation Research Today
  4. Motivation Research Tools and Techniques
  5. Contemporary Motivation Researcher: Clotaire Rapaille
  6. Bibliography
  • Dichter, E. (1964) Handbook of Consumer Motivations, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.
  • Hitt, J. (2000) Does the Smell of Coffee Brewing Remind You of your Mother? New York Times Magazine (May 7), 16, p. 71.
  • Lieber, R.B. (1997) Storytelling: A New Way to Get Close to Your Customer. Fortune Magazine (Feb. 3).
  • O'Shaughnessy, J. (1995) Competitive Marketing: A Strategic Approach, 3rd edn, Routledge, New York.
  • Patton, P. (2002) Car Shrinks. Fortune Magazine (Mar. 18), p. 6.
  • Rapaille, C. (2006) The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People around the World by and Live As They Do, Broadway Books, New York.
  • Stern, B.B. (2004) The importance of being Ernest: commemorating Dichter's contribution to advertising research. Journal of Advertising Research, 44 (2), 165169.
  • Zaltman, G. (1996) Metaphorically speaking: new technique uses multidisciplinary ideas to improve qualitative research. Marketing Research, 8 (Summer), 1320.