NEW YORK — BCW has launched a global R&D arm, BCW Movatory, to help clients and brands reach and engage audiences with new tools, thinking and research.

BCW Movatory’s first project has been to produce research into how values drive audience behavior, and develop an analytics tool to underpin the agency’s new values-based approach to client work.

The tools and research signal BCW’s new global approach to helping clients reach and engage their audiences – an evolution of its long-time ‘moving people’ proposition’–  which combines behavioural science, research, data analytics and digital trend mapping, rather than traditional demographic and psychographic targeting models.

BCW’s new approach is based on academic-led research into how audiences prioritise their values when making purchasing decisions, combined with insights into the cultural landscape from its new proprietary real-time analytics tool, BCW Values Intelligence, to understand how brands and organisations can move people to action.

Rebecca Grant, BCW’s global chief brand officer, based in London, told PRovoke Media that the launch of Movatory and the new approach, tool and research represented 18 months of work by the agency: “It’s been a cerebral challenge and I’m phenomenally proud of the team, their thinking and collaboration. I’m excited about the potential of values and the richness and science we’ve got behind this, and looking forward to working with clients to roll out the thinking and the consultancy – there’s so much potential for how it can evolve.”

She added: “The data and the perspective we can offer on values will help clients navigate complexity and change because values are a constant: they are formed in adolescence and gently evolve but remain pretty stable, and that’s why we found them so interesting. If you know audiences will respond to and be motivated by values, and you can align with them, you can engage on a more superior level.”

BCW’s ‘Age of Values’ research into how people prioritise their values is based on a study of more than 36,000 people across 30 countries, yielding around 30 million data points. This enabled the agency to identify seven archetypes that cut across geography, income and generations, rather than the commonly-held perception that Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers can be marketed to as homogeneous groups.

By analysing these data points, the new BCW Values Intelligence tool identifies trending themes and opportunities that can align with the interests of a particular archetype. It then uses analytics to organize the data into logical clusters to uncover subtopics and identify communications opportunities.

The research revealed seven ‘Values Archetypes’: the ‘Success Seeker’ is drawn by a desire for power and personal achievement; the ‘Adventurer’ seeks stimulation and new experiences; the ‘Good Neighbor’ prizes the welfare of friends, family, and community; the ‘Conformist’ wants to fit in and avoid confrontation; the ‘Visionary’ is someone who prizes personal freedom and creativity; the ‘Protector’ prioritizes people and planet; and the ‘Traditionalist’ focuses on safety, stability, and harmony.

Each Archetype comprises some of the 11 universal values identified in professor Shalom Schwartz’s “Theory of Basic Human Values”, a widely-used academic study: power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism – societal, universalism – nature, benevolence, conformity, tradition and security.

Four archetypes are heavily represented in Generation Z – the Success Seeker, the Adventurer, the Good Neighbor and the Conformist. BCW Movatory global chief strategy officer Lisa Story said this revealed a more nuanced approach to targeting this group would be effective: “Generations have become the default for businesses around the world to group their audiences.

"The belief that people are best understood primarily by age is the foundation for many communications strategies, especially when it comes to Generation Z. Alongside this assumption is a narrative that often pits generations against each other, whether around social attitudes or economic priorities. But our findings suggest this view is myopic and fails to fully appreciate people’s true motivations and behaviors.”

There were other surprises in using the new approach: BCW examined climate change and the drivers of pro-environmental behaviors and found that values are more influential predictors of these behaviors than demographics. BCW’s research showed that when it comes to buying an electric vehicle (EV), stimulation, power and achievement values were stronger motivators than universalism – nature, indicating that EV marketers need to appeal to people’s desire to showcase status, perhaps more so than their concern for the environment.

Grant told PRovoke Media: “This is a good illustration of how values thinking can be quite counterintuitive. You might expect that if you trying to sell electric vehicles you might focus on sustainability messages – we’re not saying don’t include those, but it’s also about people enjoying the status of having the technology.”