In market research, word association is a method of testing respondents' opinions and perceptions by giving them a word or phrase and requesting that they respond with the first word that comes in to their head when they hear or see it.
Word association can have several applications, although it often used to test potential brand names or names for new products. For example, James Vicary carried out research for a brewing company in the 1950s which showed that people associated the word 'lagered' with both beer, and also with being tired or dizzy. The company did not choose to use the word in its advertising following the results.
DJS Research have successfully used word association techniques in branding and advertising projects, and in several other applications.
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