ZMET (Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique)

In-depth Interviewipjune_img5Focus Groupipjune_img5Projective Technique



The team used ZMET as part of our qualitative research. Participants consisted of the 6 members of our focus group, as well as the 7 in-depth interviewees. Each individual was instructed to select 5 pictures online that answer the following question:

“What does the word LUXURIOUS mean to you?”

After the selection, they were instructed to pick the one image out of the 5 images that best represents their answers. The team then did a personal 1-on-1 interview by making use of laddering and story-telling techniques to understand their choices, as well as any hidden metaphors and meanings that respondents might have in relation to their choice. We also sought to discover any relevant associations of how consumers relate “luxurious” to Louis Vuitton. (Respondents top choice and reason will be shown at the end of the page)

CM Capture 12

Key Findings

Brand Performance
Well-known cars such as Maserati, Porsche and Ferrari as well as several branded handbags (Chanel, Burberry and Prada) were chosen in relation to luxurious. Delving deeper, we analysed that these brands shared common traits – superior product quality and performance, established brand names and premium prices, similar to that of Louis Vuitton. It is however, interesting to note that out of all the brands selected, Louis Vuitton products or symbols were not part of their choice. However, the attributes of the chosen images can represent the visual appeals and performance of Louis Vuitton products as well. For instance, the design of the handbags could affect respondents’ perception on whether Louis Vuitton is luxurious or not. As one of the underlying metaphors is travel, we analyse that consumers would likely have a positive perception to LV’s brand performance since it’s known for its travel bags and handbags, which fit the occasion when one decided to go on a holiday to Paris (which is where Louis Vuitton originated too) or Maldives.

Brand Perception (Imagery/Feelings/Judgement)
Brand personality: It is identified that respondents associate luxurious to sophistication in brand personality which is represented by images that express the glitz and glamour (e.g. elegant dining rooms/house) of upper social class lifestyles (e.g. Porsche, Prada).

User profiles: When one think of luxurious, they would immediately think of upper income group and one that leads a prestigious lifestyle. It also signifies power and ego.

Brand feelings: Social approval and self-respect
Leading a luxurious lifestyle is perceived to be something that gathers social approval from others. For instance, in both Jasmine’s and Amira’s top choices, they identified the renowned car brand as luxurious because of the expression of status as well as these brands are socially accepted or known by others. This shows the importance consumers place on the social status associated with using a brand. On top of that, images such as holidays or the luxurious bathroom symbolises the respondents expectation of a luxurious brand to provide indulgence and a sense of being pampered.

From the top choices that respondents has selected (as shown below), the team managed to identify several similarities which is shown in the consensus map.

Respondents associate luxurious with four main attributes: status, wealth, travel and lifestyle.

Although the ZMET does not directly show relation to Louis Vuitton, the team identified that consumers are likely to have a positive brand perception towards Louis Vuitton in terms of brand recall and performance. In addition, the brand’s core value revolves around “Journey” which is closely related to respondents’ representation of travelling and indulgence. However, drawing support from focus groups and discussions, the team identified that although Louis Vuitton does symbolises high social status; current customers or potential customers (especially the younger generation) of LV does not have a fully positive brand perception in relation to social status or social image which is shown in their brand feelings which signifies the importance of being socially accepted. The main reason for this is probably the issue of counterfeits which consumers might not want to be associated with.  This will be further supported by the ZMET collage in which selection includes brands that are lower in imitation possibilities (e.g. Chanel, Prada and Burberry), which meant higher exclusivity. Thus, there is a need for Louis Vuitton to reinforce the brand’s value and value proposition to create a more favourable perception as compared to its competitors.

ZMET Collage


Consensus Map


CM Capture 12

Top Choice

ZMET Top Choices

Suhailah: “When I think of luxurious, I think of wealth. Gold bars perfectly represent wealth because gold does not depreciate in value, and with money you can buy many things. Gold bars also have to meet manufacturing standards similar to luxurious products.”

Cherlene: “This is because everyone has been going through and hectic life. Maldives is somewhere people yearn to go. It is somewhere whereby you rest and relax. Just lying down on the beach not thinking about work. Peaceful mindset! Simplicity can be luxurious…”

Hidayah: “When I think of l luxury I think of a person’s house as it defines the person, who they are. The house is a reflection of someone’s ego and personality, thus, to be able to own a house like this symbolises prestige and luxury that a person dare to express. Owner would likely to be someone that owns luxury products (such as Prada), goes for fine dining and lead a tai-tai lifestyle.”

Jasmine: “The brand and logo of the car is well-known and easily recognizable by others, and this is important because, well… if you have it, why not flaunt it? The stylish design of Maserati simply represents an individual’s personality too.”

Amira: “It’s a statement. If you were to drive a Ferrari, people will watch you go by. With the sound of the engine and the brand name, as well as the known performance of the brand, it reflects great personality and status. Don’t you just feel luxurious when everybody stares at you with envy while you proudly drive your red Ferrari pass the streets.”

Nish: “As a female, I love to spend most of time in a bathroom dressing us and pampering myself. With such a spacious and elegant looking bathroom, I can pamper myself and be stress free. Luxurious to me is being pampered and relaxing.”

Lawrence: “The price and value of the house that I chose seems like highest and the grandest. I associate social status with grand homes because your home is your sanctuary, and the condition of your home reflects your lifestyle habits and personal style.”

Julian: “This picture encompasses many things that I associate with luxurious living – personal chauffeur, expensive car, private jet, sophisticated clothes and designer-looking travel bags, and an exotic travel destination.”

Robert: “To me, luxurious is being able to travel to places I desire and be with the one I love. Relaxing and indulging in life can be luxury.”

Cheryl: “Paris is well known for its top of the end trendy fashion as well as good food (World renowned/ revered Michelin Star originates from France). To be able to fly down to Paris (or any part of the world) at a moment notice to enjoy such extravagance is the utmost form of luxury to me. Just admiring the other parts of the world without any worry is what I desire luxury to be.”

Ryan: “Personally, I like gold, and to me, the ultimate luxury will be the ability to adorn and create whatever I want in gold (toilet bowl, doors, pen, pencils, cutlery). When you see everything in a house is made of gold, you associate it to wealth and power.”

Sydney: “To be able to jet around in your private plane exudes class and it’s a luxury not many people can afford. It’s a status only for the rich and powerful and a convenience in a luxurious style.”

Victor: “I chose the picture of this rooftop bar as it represents luxury for me – being able to have a good glass of Macallen while chilling out and looking out at the city skyline. Best lifestyle ever.”



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