Marketing and specifically brand related research has recently (over the past two decades) became more | culture centric | as evidenced by articles in publications like The Journal of Consumer Research. Semiotic research investigates how consumers construct their reality by means of discourse [Oswald, Laura R. Creating Value: The Theory and Practice of Marketing Semiotics Research. OUP Oxford.]
In my experience as an advertising researcher it is foolish to do any research without a solid understanding of the semiotic context.
Conjoint analysis is a statistical technique used in market research to determine how people value different attributes (feature,function, benefits) that make up an individual product or service.
The objective of conjoint analysis is to determine what combination of a limited number of attributes is most influential on respondent choice or decision making. A controlled set of potential products or services is shown to respondents and by analyzing how they make preferences between these products, the implicit valuation of the individual elements making up the product or service can be determined. These implicit valuations (utilities or part-worths) can be used to create market models that estimate market share, revenue and even profitability of new designs.
Syntagm Research has been managing SawTooth Conjoint Value Analysis solutions for advertising over several decades.
I am also a trained, experienced and practicing Semiotician. If you don't understand semiotics skip the next bit.
The broader research insights I have (dubious as they might be) apply to the place I live in too.
We've been around a few decades and reinvented a couple of times. More recently synAPPS has been creating bespoke mobile applications [incorporating NFC technology] mainly for use in Agriculture.
That said, Conjoint Analysis and other multivariate statistical tools and Strategy facilitation still remains the larger part of the core competencies offered.
We connect Physical Objects to the Digital World and Brands to the cultural world.
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