Values Segmentation Drives Successful Campaigns, says Greenpeace

GP’s East Asia communications officer Catherine Fitzpatrick shares how targeted messaging can compel people to act 

When looking to create successful campaigns that compel people to act, organizations need to speak to their audiences’ values.

That’s the message Greenpeace East Asia communications officer Catherine Fitzpatrick shared as part of Web of Change’s session on Messages that Win Sept. 6.

According to Catherine, while it’s a common belief that people act as rational human beings, new research is demonstrating the importance of values in influencing behavior.  She points to a recent report that finds 98 per cent of people’s decisions are based on values.

“A lot of us think we’re quite rational beings. We’re not. Almost everything we do is based on values, whether we’re aware of it or not,” Catherine tells the more than 100 digital leaders attending the plenary session.

It’s this understanding, and a bit of soul searching by Greenpeace at its inability to engage more people in climate change, that compelled the global organization to begin piloting campaigns using values segmentation.

Greenpeace is basing its work on a values model that segments people into three broad profiles: settlers, prospectors and pioneers. The model outlines basic values that each group holds, allowing campaigners to understand and speak to these beliefs when designing messaging.

“Our objective is to not change people’s values because it’s very difficult. Our objective is to engage more people in our issues and one way to do that is to speak to their values,” says Catherine. 

“It’s really helped more of us work more effectively.”

Catherine points to a Greenpeace example in Brazil where the organization wanted to prevent offshore oil drilling. Greenpeace identified the local community as fitting the “settler” profile, and sought to create resonating messages that spoke to their values of family and personal safety. They also looked for community leaders to share their message, knowing that settlers value authority and group identity.

Another good value segmentation example is a United Kingdom group called Global Cool. The website is set up to communicate with “prospectors” about climate change. Prospectors identify with achievement, looking good and having fun. The website is all about eco-fashion and celebrities acting on climate change, says Catherine.

“I would just really encourage organizations to just try it. If your audience you think is a group of settlers, target your message and see what happens.”

To learn more about values segmentation, Catherine recommends the book What Makes People Tick by Chris Rose. 

The annual Web of Change conference took place Sept. 5-9 at Hollyhock Lifelong Learning Centre located on Cortes Island, British Columbia.

-- Axiom News

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