Quality In, Quality Out: Preparing for a Driver Analysis

Posted by  Derek Jones

POSTED ON  January 12, 2022


New to driver analysis? In short, driver analysis involves researching how people choose one brand/option in a category over another, by measuring the relative importance of brand/option attributes (drivers) in making choice. Learn more in our full introduction to driver analysis.

Determining which drivers to include

It’s important to take the time to consider how we create our driver lists to be included in our analysis regardless of the method we use. This is a critical step and must be taken seriously if you want to avoid spurious results (i.e. garbage in, garbage out).

Think of the drivers as simply as a set of attributes describing product or brand features, benefits and/or reasons to believe these – these are usually expressed as statements. For example, if the category was cars, some of the attribute drivers might be:

  • It has a high safety rating
  • It is affordable
  • It is stylish

These seem pretty obvious and there are always obvious drivers in every category, usually rational in nature. But even if we sat down with our marketing team and workshopped a list of driver attributes, in reality, we are likely to miss some without having spoken firstly in-depth to consumers within the category across a number of different brand preferences.

This truly is the realm of exploratory or qualitative research and is an imperative step in undertaking a valid and reliable driver analysis. Think of it as the archaeological dig where you discover what all the possible attributes might be and then you do a head count (quantitative) to size each of these in terms of importance. Keep in mind often what seems quite small and unspoken in a dig stage (qualitative) can turn out to be a key driver in the head count (quant) stage and vice versa.

You must also consider that brand decisions are not only made on rational drivers alone. It is important to discover what the potential emotive drivers might be, too, if you are to conduct a quality driver analysis. In the car category for instance, these might be, “It is prestigious” or “It is a car I feel good about being seen in”, etc.

In summary, make sure you do a thorough qualitative assessment before undertaking a quantitative driver analysis. Let’s now talk about the different methods you can use in the quantitative stage

So how do we do driver analysis?

There are many methods for measuring the importance of attributes (drivers) in making choice. The most common is a simple stated importance measure using simple rating scales – i.e. simply asking category consumers to rate the importance of different attributes on, say, a 1 to 10 importance scale. Another common method is ranking – getting category consumers to rank attributes from most to least important – however both of the above methods have limitations.

More complex techniques are also available, such as regression, MaxDiff and derived importance methods including our own proprietary Im-Ex Quadrant and Polygraph methods. These should also be considered as they can add significant improvements to the actionability of the analysis by being more discriminative.

All the methods fall broadly under two categories – we’ll call them “explicit” and “implicit”. In our next blog post, we’ll delve into explicit methods and discuss their merits and their flaws. Stay tuned!

For a detailed guide to the methods used in driver analysis – and the pros and cons of each – download our FREE printable Driver Analysis Guide by completing the form below!

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