Values, Campaigns & Change

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Chris Rose’s site Campaign Strategy is one I always find myself going back to, and one to whom I have referred many people. Chris has a substantial background and track record in campaigning and changemaking, and his work is informed by direct experience and practical research.

Bringing about change is easy (alright – easier) with people who are on the same wavelength as ourselves. It’s all those tiresome people who don’t see things our way who make change difficult, right?

two people standing at opposite ends of an optical illusion - one sees three wooden beams, the other sees four

If it sometimes seems that you are talking a different language, or at least a different dialect, in conversation with others, bear in mind that you seem just as difficult and unfathomable to them!

There are some who say that what we need to do is bring about a shift in values – and over the long term, that’s what does need to happen for humanity. Will we all ever hold the same values, or a shared expression of those values? Hard to say.

In the meantime, right now, we are working in societies where a diversity of values are held, and we need to understand what the  motivators are for different values groups in order to ‘frame’ our conversations and communications – which ‘dialect’ to speak.

What does THAT mean, in tangible terms?

Extensive research undertaken with the British public by Chris Rose and Pat Dade of Cultural Dynamics Strategy and Marketing (CDSM) is presented in their overview, Values Campaign Planner, which maps people’s responses in accordance with grouped values, characterised as ‘Settlers’, ‘Prospectors’ and ‘Pioneers’.*

Compiled over decades of research from questions put to thousands of people, the authors describe the Value Modes database as ‘…like a nationally representative database of hundreds of cross-indexed focus groups.’

The purpose of the Values Planner is to show what values motivate different groups of people, and how communications need to be adapted to create that resonates with each group.

This planner integrates the model of CDSM (aka Values Modes) with the work of Professor Shalom Schwartz of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to provide an outline guide of motivations which can be used to match the design of offers or asks to audiences, according to motivation.

In essence, it’s like a Myers-Briggs for sustainability.

There are of course overlaps, as people tend not to fall exactly inside the lines of such typographies, however in summary the three main segments are:

  • Settlers (sustenance driven) – oriented to safety, security, identity, belonging
  • Prospectors (outer driven) – esteem-seeking, success-oriented people
  • Pioneers (inner driven) – oriented toward self-actualisation, ethical living, global issues

The three overarching segments reflect Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and each segment has four subgroups. For example, subgroups of each modes group include:

Settlers: Smooth Sailing

…want routines of convenience, routines that they don’t have to think about. Rules help them do this. They dislike new ideas and ways of thinking – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. They know, deep down, they have to look after themselves first and that they will always put their own needs before others, whatever they may choose to say in any given situation.

Prospectors: Now People

…have probably the greatest need for the approval of others and this drives their wonderful set of empathetic social skills. They attract others to them, and the high energy they create, like a magnet. They look for the flash and intensity in all situations.

Pioneers: Concerned Ethicals

…need to live a life with a sense of purpose. They attempt to see the world in a holistic way, rather than as a set of disparate issues. They have a strongly pronounced ethical view on all aspects of their lives. They have passion for anything they become involved in, yet sometimes lack compassion for others. They can be seen as interesting and formidable rather than caring and compassionate.

The authors caution against trying to ‘sell’ opposing values to those held by people – making people ‘wrong’ by telling them they hold the ‘wrong’ values is more likely to get an adverse reaction than further engagement. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ category – just different categories.

An example of how this approach could be used with respect to climate emissions in the report Research Into Motivating Prospectors, Settlers and Pioneers To Change Behaviours That Affect Climate Emissions by Rose, Dade and John Scott of Keen-Scott Brand Research.

There is also another good example of the application of this framework by Integral Strategies, which shows how the same local campaign might be framed to resonate with different segments.

cover of 'Three Worlds' book, with three connected cogs, yellow, blue and red

The Values Planner on its own is more than enough food for thought, however Chris recently released a book, ‘Three Worlds: What Makes People Tick’, based on this research, if you would like to investigate this framework further. You can also buy the book direct from the Campaign Strategy site.

Have you ever tried to ‘sell’ a message to an individual or group that just wasn’t receptive to the values contained in that message? What happened?

Did you find a way to tap into the underlying values of that individual or group in a way which enabled constructive discussion to emerge?

* Please note: the Values Planner is for use by non-profits and campaign groups. It may not be used for commercial purposes without the permission of the authors.

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