Using "Laddering" to understand brand equity
May 13th | 2009 By
A couple of my colleagues in the UX community pointed out this great article (PDF) from 2002 that explains the “Laddering” interview technique to really understand consumers’ views of brands. To summarize (and vastly oversimplify), through interrogatory akin to a psychologist rooting out a person’s problems, one can ask questions of consumers to determine what true value a product has to them. In normal consumer interviews (or usability studies, for that matter), the participant will typically initially answer on a product attribute level. That is, they will spell out attributes of the product that they like. But this does not get to the root cause of purchase. The article suggests that by asking more “why” questions, researchers can elicit the “consequences” then “values” that cause consumer behavior. It’s these values that are of critical importance to the consumer and generally drive their purchase considerations. Interestingly, the article compares these brand values to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This makes perfect sense. Isn’t it our needs that drive our behavior (and purchases)?