Brandspeak has compiled this market research glossary to provide definitions for some of the most commonly used research terms – we hope you find it useful. If you feel that key words or phrases are missing or in any way incomplete, please let us know so that we can keep evolving these pages.

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There are currently 15 names in this directory beginning with the letter P.
Paired Depth Interview
In qualitative research a paired depth interview (or ‘paired depth’) is an interview conducted with one moderator and two respondents. Often referred to as dyad, the methodology allows the researcher to probe in depth around each person’s experience as well as using any similarities and differences in opinion or experience to explore the subject more deeply. The respondents are sometimes in a relationship and as a result have been jointly involved in making the decision to purchase a particular product or service. A friendship pair is a form of paired depth where two individuals who know each other are interviewed together. Friendship pairs are particularly appropriate if the subject matter is sensitive.

Panel or Research Panel
This term refers to a large, group of respondents recruited in to a panel that will take part in a number of surveys over an extensive period of time. They are incentivised with cash or points that can be redeemed against tangible rewards. Panels are mainly quantitative in nature. Respondents may be invited to take part in longitudinal studies that are repeated over time, or one-and-done studies where the focus and content is different every time. Most panels are consumer-oriented, but they can also focus on more niche, professional samples such as dentists, GPs, computer programmers etc.

This is a type of projective technique where respondents are asked to describe a brand in terms of a living entity – a person or animal. If a person, then the respondents may be required to describe their personalities, their interests, their friends, what they enjoy and makes them tick. They could also be asked to consider how that person might behave in certain environments – for example how comfortable they might feel in a party situation. The technique can be used to understand consumers’ brand perceptions in real detail, unlocking thoughts, impressions, vocabulary and images that discussion alone cannot access.

Pilot Study
A pilot study is small study conducted in advance of the main research exercise, to evaluate key elements of the proposed approach before committing to full roll-out. Pilot studies are most commonly conducted before quantitative studies, because it is typically very difficult to make changes to a quantitative survey once it has been launched. On the other hand, in qualitative research it is still possible to make changes to most aspects of approach after the project has started.

Positioning or Brand Positioning
The positioning reflects an encapsulation of everything the brand stands for, relative to its key competitors A brand’s positioning should act as a compelling reason for the consumer to choose the brand over its competition.

Positioning Statement
A brand’s positioning plays a vital role internally - as a key component of the marketing strategy that is used to guide brand planning, advertising, goal setting and measurement. Externally, it is used in encapsulated form in advertising and other marketing communications. Ultimately, the positioning statement acts as an encapsulation of the conceptual place you want to own in the target consumer’s mind — what you want them to think of when they think of your brand. The positioning statement reflects the proposition’s key benefits but it places them within the context of the competition, target audience and reasons to believe. To develop the discipline of ‘best practice’ proposition development, one can apply the following template: Brand A is the only (competitive frame of reference) that delivers (unique benefits) to (target customers) in (geographic location) who want (need state) because it (reasons to believe). Harley Davidson used a similar approach to develop their own internal positioning statement: Harley Davidson is The only motorcycle manufacturer That makes big, loud motorcycles For macho guys (and “macho wannabes”) Mostly in the United States Who want to join a gang of cowboys In an era of decreasing personal freedom. This was shortened for external marketing purposes to: American by birth. Rebel by choice. For more on positioning statement development from Brandspeak please contact

Pre-placement refers to the practice of ‘placing’ stimulus material relating to the forthcoming research, usually some days in advance of the research actually taking place. This is so that respondents will be able to provide informed feedback during the research.

This refers to the practice of giving respondents tasks to perform prior to taking part in research. Tasks may include studying stimulus material or keeping a diary of relevant, daily activities (food consumption over the course of a day or week, for example). The purpose of the pre-task is to ensure respondents are thinking about the subject area – and their own needs and behaviours in relation to it – before the research begins. This enables subsequent discussion to be more focussed and detailed than might otherwise be the case.

Pre-Testing or Advertising Pre-Testing
Pre-testing relates to the evaluation of highly finished advertising material prior to launch. Ad pre-testing can be qualitative or quantitative in nature and may involve neuroscience techniques such as facial coding. Its purpose is ensure that the ad concept that performed well in initial research has been translated successfully in to the ‘finished product’ and that there are no production issues that might be obscuring clarity or impact.

Pricing Research
The term refers to research configured specifically to determine price elasticity and how the demand for a product or service will change according to its price point.

Primary Research
Primary Research is research that is conducted directly with the subjects of the study – rather than using relevant information from studies that are already in existence (known as secondary research). The term is a catch-all, referring to both qualitative and quantitative approaches including focus groups, surveys, field tests and observation.

Product Positioning Research
Product positioning research is undertaken either to help identify the optimal territory for brand positioning (after which positioning options may be created and tested in further research) or to test and enhance a brand positioning that has already been created. For more on product positioning research from Brandspeak please contact or +44 (0)203 858 0015

Projective Technique
Projective techniques are used in focus groups when respondents might otherwise struggle to articulate their thoughts and impressions in relation to a brand – or where they might feel inhibited in doing so. Respondents may, for example, be asked to imagine Brand X as a type of vehicle, tree or animal. They could be asked to write a brand obituary. Or they may be asked to imagine the brand as a person holding a party. They would then be required to describe the party – the location, mood, conversation, music and different guests.

Proposition / Value Proposition
The role of the proposition or value proposition is to communicate the brand’s value – in terms of its most compelling features and benefits. These will include any Unique Selling Points (USPs). A compelling proposition will include both functional and emotional benefits. For example, the functional benefit of a particular car brand may be that it has more safety features as standard than any other vehicle. The corresponding emotional benefit is that it provides a degree of peace of mind that is unrivalled. The brand proposition works in conjunction with the brand’s positioning. For more on propositions please contact or call +44 (0)203 858 0015

A way of grouping individuals who may otherwise be very different, in terms of their similar, psychological characteristics (such as their attitudes, values, outlook and fears). For example, it is possible that people of quite different ages, social groupings or life stages may share an adventurous nature that means they all share a liking for off-the-beaten-track holidays and exotic foods. As long as these psychological characteristics can be accurately identified they can form the basis for segmentation and targeting.