Karen’s clinical approach to interviewing allows her to undertake each project with an open-minded, “clean slate”.

Her understanding of group dynamics and ability to establish rapport with respondents while listening with a “third ear” to probe what is unspoken, as well as what is spoken, ensures informative discussion that will give you the results you need.

Karen calls on a variety of verbal and non-verbal techniques to obtain information.


Deep Dive Exploration: Engaging consumers in an open-discussion of their day-to-day life, goals, dreams and values as a context for the category and brand.

Clinical Motivational Analysis: Detailed analysis of the most recent product usage occasion(s), probing deeply to analyze consumer thoughts and feelings immediately before, during and after usage, as well as to understand the context of usage, including the setting, activity and presence of others. Relaxation exercises and imagery are used to access thoughts and feelings.

Guided Imagery: Following a brief relaxation exercise, guided imagery is used to translate the experience of using the product/service, including thoughts and feelings, into a scene or image. The projected scene is discussed, using all sense modalities (sight, sound, kinesthetic), to fully understand consumers’ experience. Consumers’ imagery is then used as a context for “blue sky” exploration.

Free Associations To Brand, probing underlying reasons for positive and negative associations.

Brand Personification and User Imagery, using detailed, in-depth clinical analysis of appearance, personality dimensions, relationships and lifestyle.

Projective exercises, such as:

  • Animal Projection: Translate product/experience into an animal, with an in-depth exploration of “why” in terms of animal’s appearance and projected personality dimensions.
  • “The brand dies. What was the cause of their death? Write their obituary. They are re-born. Write their birth announcement.”

Product Sorts to understand competitive sets and dimensions used to define differences and similarities between brands, including product attributes, functional and end benefits and imagery.

Triadic Sorts to “force” similarities and differences between product attributes, benefits and emotional end benefits: “How are these two products similar to one another, but different from this third product?”


Collages: Consumers select visuals from magazines that capture the “essence” of the category/brand or feelings experienced while using the category/brand. Consumers generate verbal descriptors to the visuals. After individual collages are discussed, the group uncovers common denominators.

Drawings: Respondents draw a scene, image or object that represents their (1) feelings when needing the product/brand (e.g. pain, sleeplessness, etc), or (2) how using the product/brand makes them feel (e.g. relief from pain, sleeping through the night). Verbal descriptors are then generated and probed, uncovering common dimensions in the group.

Picture Sort: Consumers select photos from among a pre-selected range of pictures that characterize the category, brand personality, user personality, etc. Following photo selection, respondents are asked to define common dimensions in the group.

Ethnographic observation in home of product usage. While behavior is observed, thoughts and feelings are probed.

Karen Fischer is a master at putting respondents at ease and probing deeply, beneath the surface. We always learn so much from her interviews and projective techniques. Karen’s thorough and creative analyses are far-reaching, with implications that always extend beyond our immediate objectives.

Manager, Market Research, Consumer Healthcare Company