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FutureM Presentation: Using Big Data to Reveal Consumer Values and Inform Storytelling

Last fall, I did this talk at FutureM, a conference on the future of marketing, on behalf of both Ranker and Zenzi.  The talk was specifically on how online data can be used to understand the deeper values and motivations of customers.  We are inundated with graphs of data (e.g. social graphs, interest graphs, opinion graphs). In this talk, I discussed how one can mine actionable insight from graphs of data, which when studied correctly, can allow you to go beyond the specific interests of your customers and begin to understand their deeper motivations. By understanding their lasting motivations, brands can begin to find customers who will resonate with their strengths and tell value-specific stories that will turn customers into advocates.

Interested in learning more about how to put these ideas into action for your organization?  Learn more about our services and contact us at info@socialvalues.com.

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Chipotle's Values Based Marketing Campaign - A Case Study in Successful Purpose Seeking

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Chipotle's Values Based Marketing Campaign - A Case Study in Successful Purpose Seeking

Chipotle is a fast-growing casual restaurant chain that has a very specific value-laden marketing message, "Food with Integrity".  I personally like the taste of their food and their prices are not bad either, but neither of those attributes of Chipotle are given prominence in their marketing campaigns.  A recent campaign aimed at illustrating the difference that Chipotle's sourcing makes in a satirical way, mentioned Chipotle itself only once, in an effort that executives described as "values integration", as opposed to "product integration".  If you visit Chipotle's website, you'll notice that "Food With Integrity" is the title tag of their page, in red in the navigation menu, and is featured as the very first slogan.  From their website, the describe "Food with Integrity" as follows:

It means serving the very best sustainably raised food possible with an eye to great taste, great nutrition and great value...  It means that we support and sustain family farmers who respect the land and the animals in their care...  And it means that we source organic and local produce when practical...  Food With Integrity is a journey that started more than a decade ago and one that will never end.

According to some studies, Chipotle is among America's Favorite Fast Food chains, and Chipotle ranks 3rd out of 61 fast food chains on Ranker's list of Top Fast Food Brands.  Chipotle has been a remarkable success story, due to their phenomenal growth that is more typical of the technology sector rather than the food sector.  As a result, their stock is up over 500% in the past 5 years.  Clearly, a marketing campaign that places values at the forefront can produce big dividends for a company.

Perhaps what is most remarkable about Chipotle's marketing campaign is that their brand taps into Purpose Seeking values that are often associated with liberals, without turning off conservatives.  Indeed, if we examine the correlates of Chipotle fandom on Facebook, Twitter, and Ranker, there is very little overtly political content, meaning that Chipotle fans can be both liberal and conservative, even as their sustainability and animal welfare message is one that is often associated with liberal causes.  Indeed, according to Ranker data, Chipotle fans are also likely to be fans of liberal Michelle Obama, socially conservative Chick Fil-A, politically agnostic Mark Zuckerberg.  Chipotle appeals to younger consumers, also according to our Ranker data, and younger consumers are more likely to put shared values as a reason for buying products.  Yet purpose seeking is not a uniquely liberal trait.  Research has shown that conservatives and liberals alike are likely to donate time and volunteer.  Other research has shown that people, especially liberals, tend to exaggerate perceived differences in liberal vs. conservative values.

While Chipotle's messaging and customer base may lean liberal, they have managed to focus on a Purpose Seeking message that generally appeals to the aspirational consumer in all of us.  In the same way that Michelle Obama's active lifestyle campaign crosses political lines, so to does Chipotle's focus on food, health, and caring for animals, which are goals that we all can share.  Chipotle illustrates how such values-based messaging can resonate beyond typically liberal enclaves and how a values-based approach allows a brand to innovate and achieve enviable growth in an established industry.

- Ravi Iyer

 

 

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Hasbro Brings Nostalgia and Traditional Values to their Marketing

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Hasbro Brings Nostalgia and Traditional Values to their Marketing

Hasbro’s strength is in the nostalgia that its brands inspire.  These days, anyone can produce a game and distribute it to millions of others through their mobile phones. New games like King’s Candy Crush Saga, can reach millions instantaneously and create wealth for game developers at speeds that inspire thousands of imitators.  With this in mind, Hasbro has been consciously attempting to tie together their individual games around the theme of a “family game night”.

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Love. It’s what makes Subaru’s marketing successful

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Love. It’s what makes Subaru’s marketing successful

Marketers are most effective when they are successful at aligning a product, brand, and/or message with consumers’ inner most values. Values are the driving force behind what people feel, think, believe, desire, consume, experience, and share. These characteristics go deeper than the demographic segmentation that marketers have been doing for ages. Researchers at Zenzi’s Social Values Project have worked to collect unique insights relating to people’s individual social values and how it relates to their buying behavior and preferences.  After extensive research and testing, the team has classified six distinct orientations of values across which most people are distributed.

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Your Values Predict the Stories You Choose

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Your Values Predict the Stories You Choose

Human beings are storytelling animals. A key communications strategy for the post-modern world is learning to tell a company story that resonates with one’s clients deeper motivations. How can research on values help you do that? One of the central tenets of the research we do is that values are not monolithic. Different people value different things and these values predict the kinds of stories that one enjoys. People who value Power, Achievement, Spirituality, Tradition, Conformity, and Security seem to prefer stories that are closer to them, which they can relate to. In contrast, individuals who value Universalism, Self-Direction, Stiumulation, and Hedonism report a greater preference for stories that provide more of an escape from their everyday existence.

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