Horvath Mitev SIG Design 2010

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    COLLAGE OF COLLAGES

    ELECTRONIC COLLAGES FOR GENERATING NEW PRODUCT IDEAS

    Dra Horvth, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

    Ariel Mitev, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

    Corresponding author:

    Dra Horvth

    Corvinus University of Budapest,

    Institute of Marketing and Media

    Budapest

    Fvm tr 8.1093

    Hungary

    Email: dora.horvath@uni-corvinus.hu

    Tel.: + 36 1 482 5490 ; + 36 30 297 5276

    mailto:dora.horvath@uni-corvinus.humailto:dora.horvath@uni-corvinus.hu
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    COLLAGE OF COLLAGES

    ELECTRONIC COLLAGES FOR GENERATING NEW PRODUCT IDEAS

    Dra Horvth, Corvinus University of Budapest, HungaryAriel Mitev, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

    ABSTRACT

    According to Max Ernst a collage is created when two different entities are placed together in

    a new space. Independent elements together create new meanings, where the collective

    meaning is not the sum of meanings of the different elements, but forms a compounded new

    meaning. In our methodological paper we present a new approach to interpreting consumer

    collages which contributes to better understanding of authentic consumer content.

    It is not universal meanings, but the actual interpretations of a created composition that weinvestigate and show their power in exploring relating consumer attitudes. In our paper we are

    going to present collage technique as a postmodern research technique as an adequate data

    collection tool today in order to explore new in-depth consumer content and show that

    researchers de-composition and re-composition of consumer collages gives a new

    perspective into exploring authentic consumer content.

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    1. Introduction & objectives

    There are several authors in the marketing literature who used paper-based collages for

    exploring product associations and product concepts (Costa et. al, 2003; Havlena & Holak,

    1996), however hardly any article has considered the philosophical, psychological and artistic

    background of the collage, they use the recorded collages as illustrations on their own. In ourpaper we show that collages cannot only be approached on their own, but together, where the

    collage of collages forms a new and very clear meaning of product, brand related attitudes

    and associations that can be a reliable starting point for generating new product ideas. Leading

    design oriented companies such as Alessi or Apple indicate that consumers cannot express

    their new needs, it is designers who can envision the future. However, when consumers are

    asked to create a composition of their own, they would freely project their associations and

    thoughts. Our series of consecutive research projects where we tested the technique through

    different industries: telecommunications, postal services, press products, high tech products

    show that consumer insights indeed can give inspiration and input for future projections and

    new product concepts.

    2. Theoretical background: collage as a research tool

    2.1.Collage in Art

    The word collage comes from the French language meaning glueing or pasting, therefore

    collage means a pasted picture. In art the pasted material could be anything and applied

    anywhere on wood, canvas, paper with newspaper pieces, bus tickets, litter or photographs

    by the artist. The appearance of the collages is attributed to the cubists, and since then it is

    present in the art. The technique was made recognized by Picassos Still-life with Chair

    Caning (1912) and Georges Braques Violin and Pipe (1913-1914). The technique later

    appeared in dadaism (Kurt Schwitters) and surrealism (Max Ernst). Gauguin wrote in hisletter from Tahiti, that he feels he has to return to the beginning of the beginning, to the

    rocking-horse of his childhood. Dadaist wanted to return to being a child (childish syllables

    dada refer to playfulness), denying the Grand Art (Gombrich, 2002:601).

    Visual metaphor is the basis of the child-drawing (Schuster, 2005:94), furthermore it remains

    a suitable exploratory research methodology, thatgives a relieving freedom for respondents ata later age too. Practical market research uses press products and their pasted collages.

    2.2. Collage as a postmodern technique

    Collage in art is for expressing a fragmented world view. The technique contradicts classical

    art approaches, where parts of reality become part of the piece of art. Fragmented view is a

    postmodern specialty. According to the postmodern there are no universal truths, grandnarratives are irrelevant, which are linguistic games, there are no criteria that would indicate

    the truth. According to Daniel C. Dennett (1998) narrative approach of the self helps to

    create peoples own worlds, which creates ones own narrative gravitational world.

    Everything that happens to the one is saved in terms of tiny narratives. Ones personality is

    the sum of his own stories. In market research collage technique gives a quasi experience of

    creation.

    Fragmentation determines one's construction of identity. If we talk about that consumer

    groups are fragmented, this does not only mean that there are fragmented segments, but the

    self is fragmented as well. The self is created and recreated by product and brand contacts.

    From all postmodern characteristics, fragmentation best describes todays consumers.

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    According to postmodern approaches consumer behaviour changes through time and space. In

    a world full of choices there are no constant motives and consumption habits. In several areas

    where consumer culture is most recordable (fashion, travelling, art), it is clear that consumers

    do not create identifiable patterns, experiences are multiple. These experiences evolve

    narratives, where narratives are subject to change, none has an exlusive position, therefore all

    narratives are acceptable (Venkatesh, 1999).

    Symbols create meanings, which are transfered to consumers through the media, cultures or

    families. Meanings constantly change, and simultaneously, consumer practices change.

    Postmodern marketing and consumer research relies on the assumption that text (advertising,

    press, books, pictures, etc.) are not stable, and may be interpreted in several ways (Brown et

    al., 1999; Scott, 1994). Instead, they state that text is instable, its interpreation maybe

    multiple, which is dependent on the reader. It is the interpeters personal, cultural and gender

    identity, context that will determine the creation of meaning, therefore one text is interpreted

    in numerous ways.

    2.3. Three dimensional collage: bricoleur

    In cultural anthropology bricolage refers to tools, that help people to react on their

    surrounding world. These spontaneous or thrown-together structures (that we might call as

    bricolage) are ad hoc responses to the environment, and their role is to explain the

    surrounding world. (Hawkes, 1977). The bricoleur, a person who tinkers, is the one who puts

    scenery together from different stylistic elements. (Hebdige, 1995).

    Object and meaning create a sign together, and these signs are summed in the newer and

    newer communication representations in different subcultures. As a result, when the bricoleur

    relocates the former object to a new position, or uses the same system of signs, or the object is

    put into another form: a new message is formulated. (Clarke, 1976). To illustrate, if we takethe usual signs of the business world - e.g. suit, tie, collar, short hair - these might be used by

    other subcultures, who deprive these from their original meanings - e.g. performance,

    ambition, conformity - and they create new meanings, objects that are valued for their own

    virtue or just become empty fetish.

    Visual media gets an emerging central role: that is knowledge about fashion. The postmodern

    paradigms frequently referred products are television (especially music channels), video and

    style magazines, which all have a strong visual influence (Muggleton, 2005). In the

    postmodern reality there are multiple even eclectic styles present simultaneously that spread

    very fast, which give a way for active consumers to manifest in a creative and aesthetic

    manner. This results in the emergence of the do-it-yourself style, which is identical topostmodern appearance management" and the collage technique (Kaiser et al., 1991).

    According to the observation of Willis (1990) the youth behave as bricolers when they shop.

    The postmodern paradigm requires that relation between companies and consumers be

    changed. Managers and consumers are to act as partners in the process of fulfilling needs, in

    constructing realities. This process is to be made available for consumers to participate.

    Fulfilling consumer needs is a modern marketing objective, postmodern empowers the

    consumer, which implies that marketing is the tool of consumer communities, which is for

    creating their own lifestyles and experiences. (Firat s Dholakia, 2006).

    Overall, collage can be considered a feasible tool for portraying todays consumers thoughts

    and views. The collage is not a strange or unfamiliar tool as we encounter collages every day

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    in the media, in dressing and in the environment. It is a tool for creating ones