Word associations are a form of projective techniques in which participants are tested for their unstructured responses. A brand name can be used to find out what one’s first impression of the brand it, as well as other traits or experiences that they associate the brand with. This method can be used as an indirect way of investigating the feelings, beliefs and attitudes that participants have with a brand, but might otherwise be unable to express while filling out a survey. Such a technique will allow us to uncover how well the brand resonates with the user, as well as their interpretation of the brand.
To carry out our Word Association test, participants were given a blank piece of paper with the words “Tiffany & Co.” on it. They were asked to write down words that they thought represented the brand and also, note down the strength of these associations using color coded lines. We allowed participant to have 3 levels of associations. The following colours were used in order of strength – Robin Egg Blue, Pale Pink and Grey.
After they had completed their association maps, we went a step further by asking participants to explain their wordings to us. This was so that we could understand where these associations were coming from, and see how we could either strengthen or improve them.
A total of 15 participants were interviewed and their responses grouped according to similar words. To ensure that our participants were representative of our target audience, we interviewed both males and females, ranging from ages 18-45.
Finally, we created a summary map to show the more common associations and to also paint a more conclusive picture of the associations that Tiffany & Co has in the minds of our participants.
To test the strength of the associations, we tabulated the responses from all participants and placed the mean of each association on the map above.
- A mean of less than 0.5 showed a weak association
- A mean between 0.5 and 0.8 shown a significant association
- A mean of more than 0.8 showed a strong association
In addition, most of the participants further associated special occasions to comprise of the following:
- Valentines Day
Most of the participants listed the following as part of Tiffany & Co’s jewelry range:
- Lock & Key Pendants
- Cuff Links
Although the participants gave us a list of products that Tiffany & Co sells, the list does not showcase all of Tiffany’s products. This is because the brand does not carry its full product list in Singapore. However, participants did show a high level of awareness of Tiffany’s main products.
Overall Tiffany & Co. received mixed responses from our word association participants.
It seems that while Tiffany’s brand attributes remain strong, there is room for improvement with regards to the brand image in Singapore. While brand salience can be considered high, not many truly resonate with the brand. Some participants viewed the brand as expensive and not value for money. Some reasons cited were that Tiffany products were not exclusive enough and that similar designs could be obtained at other jewelers for a lower price.
We received mixed views with regard to what the brand represented. Some mentioned that Tiffany & Co was over commercialized and that the pricing in Singapore was more expensive than countries such as Hong Kong. Also, because the designs were easily imitable (such as the 6-prong design), they felt that the products, especially the engagement rings were not value for money as the gift buyers could buy similar products for a lower price, or could purchase better products with the same size (eg, larger diamond size).
On the flipside, there were those who mentioned that that value of the brand was more important that the prices. Some participants stated that owning a Tiffany ring has been their childhood dream. Additionally, with regards to Tiffany’s engagement rings, some males mentioned that buying an engagement ring is a once in a lifetime event and what matters is that the girl likes the brand. This is in line with Tiffany’s promotion and brand image of promoting true love. It can be seen that the brand image of Tiffany and Co still plays an important role in the minds of consumers, especially females.
There were also mentions about the brand’s long history and how the designs of certain products have lasted through time. Most girls associated this with long-lasting true love spending an eternity with their loved ones.
Thus, there is a need for us to address the negative image of the brand to bring about a better perception of the brand.