P2PIQ: Tell us more about behavioral science.
Allison: Behavioral science is a very broad term. It includes all kinds of fields of scientific inquiry like psychology, sociology, neuroscience … any one of the scientific fields that has to do with understanding why humans do the things they do. That's what human behavior science and behavioral science is all about. Behavioral science itself has become a sort of specialty area that sort of dives into all these other fields and kind of collects stuff about that particular piece, and then uses that as a way to help people understand what's going on with the people that they're interested in understanding.
P2PIQ: Let’s get back to your database. It focuses on values?
Allison: What we've done is, with this database … we can go in and prove how terrible demographics are, but more importantly we have a replacement system. It's easy to poke holes in things. It's much harder to say, here's something better. So, while understanding that demographics are not a really great way to know how people make decisions and, therefore, how we can influence those behaviors.
What does work, and what all the different fields of behavioral science – psychologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists – agree on, is that what we value determines everything we do. All of our feelings, emotions and behaviors are rooted in what's most important to us.
If the most important thing in your life is your family, and something comes along that it's going to be great for your family, you're going to chase that you're going to want more of that. And you're going to do everything you can to get that product or that service, attach yourself to that brand, be part of the tribe of that person, whatever it takes.
Now, if something comes along that might be bad for your family, you're going to run away from that and do everything you can to avoid it. That's not the product you will choose on the shelf that day. It doesn't feel like it's going to help your family.
You don't even know you're doing this half the time. It's not a conscious thought. You don't walk into the grocery store and go, “Which static soup is best for my family?” But if family is the most important thing in your life, you are choosing a can of soup, whether you realize you're doing it or not, because somehow something about that moment where you're looking at the shelf is saying that's the one, that's the one.
You make a decision, somehow, and what behavioral science teaches us is that the way you made that decision is based on what's important to you. It might be status, it might be the environment, it might be your family, but whatever it is, you're going to make those purchase decisions based on what you care about and what brand … what store are you in. You choose a store for a whole lot of different reasons, but they all have their roots in something that's important to you that you care about.
P2PIQ: So, that’s what you’ll be talking about at Path to Purchase Live?
Allison: What the value graphics database allows us to do, and what we're going to do for the Path to Purchase Live event, is we can profile a target audience for anything, anywhere in the world.
So if we go out and say, all right, let's talk to the people who make food purchase decisions in the U.S. What do they care about more than anything else in their life? What's the most important set of values that they're using? What they have in common so that a food retailer can say to that group of people, “Oh, that's what you care about. Well, let me tell you how my product, my service, my online store, my brick-and-mortar store … how it will give you what you're looking for.”
You know what to say. You know what part of your story is going to connect for the brands that are represented in those stores. If you're a big company that manufactures cookies, for example, you know the people that are going into these stores. They care about this and this and this more than anything else. Your cookies need to be, somehow, the ones sitting on the shelf that are going to talk to those things that those people use as the roadmap for their life.
We're going to profile two audiences. I'm going to share the data on this one group of people who are the folks who shop and prefer to shop online, and others who are the ones who make their food purchase decisions in real life that enjoy being in the store.
Suddenly, we're going to have a bunch of people who don't have any intention of ever going back into a store, and we have a bunch people who can't wait to get back into a store. We, as food retailers and food manufacturers, have to understand both kinds of people, because they're not going to be the same.
You can't just carry on doing same old, same old. You need to understand what makes these people different. There's going to be some overlap to what you could be saying that will work for both groups.
Caption: After 600,000 surveys in 152 languages around the world, The Valuegraphics Project has created a global map of what it says everyone cares about. This chart shows how the top values of Americans compare to the rest of the world. For example, Americans love their "possessions" and place a lot more importance on "health & well-being" compared to the rest of the world. In his keynote for Path to Purchase Live, David Allison will reveal the data that pinpoints the most magnetic values for food shoppers – the behavioral science truths that trigger all food shopping decisions in the U.S.