The value of context, or what qualitative research can learn from behavioural economics

Anjali Puri
TNS Qualitative, Asia-Pacific

This report is based on an original paper first delivered at ESOMAR and subsequently the winner of the prestigious WPP Research in Practice Atticus Award in 2013.

Qualitative research is uniquely positioned to uncover the true drivers of consumer behaviour, but can only do so if it starts to look beyond our articulated wants and needs.

A successful city trader walks into a fashionable New York City bar. As he scans the bottles of spirits behind the bartender, he is excited to see a rare bottle of single malt: his signature brand with a distinct taste that he believes makes it the best whisky ever distilled. It's expensive but within his price range. However, when the bartender asks what he would like, he pauses for a moment and orders a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label instead. He also asks for four glasses.