This summer Penn Libraries added to its digital collections, American Consumer Culture: Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965, a rich trove of market research reports and supporting documents of Ernest Dichter, “the era’s foremost consumer analyst and market research pioneer,” and his Institute for Motivational Research. These materials derive from research commissioned by advertising agencies and global businesses from around the world. “Immensely influential, Dichter’s Freud-inspired studies put the consumer “on the couch” and emphasised the unconscious motives behind consumer behaviour. The Institute of Motivational Research employed trained social scientists and used established methodologies to conduct psychological research. Dichter’s career reached its peak after Vance Packard’s bestselling exposé The Hidden Persuaders (1957) presented Dichter as a mastermind manipulator who could exploit the emotions of consumers for the benefit of any advertising agency or big brand.” –from the Archive’s Nature and Scope section
I did a brand search on Volvo and retrieved two reports from 1969: Why Does an American Buy a Volvo? A proposal For a Motivation Research Study; and How To Make It Even Better—A Motivation Study of Ten New Opportunities for Marketing Volvo in the USA. Keywords assigned to the latter report are: automobile, marketing, car, brand choice, reputation, price, pricing, word-of-mouth advertising, corporate image, market segmentation, symbolism, name.