The World According to Roper Starch

  • by April 2, 2001
The World According to Roper Starch

In a powerful global research project by Roper Starch Worldwide, carried in the current issue of American Demographics, an interesting model has been detailed that includes the relationship between personal values and consumer behavior. In a previous Brief we reviewed some of findings.

Roper's ultimate objective was to come up with a way to identify how people naturally "group" around certain sets of values, globally. Roper has identified six distinct values segments. This global solution works across all regions. Although the exact proportions vary, people in all six segments are found in all markets studied.

Values segments share certain behaviors, but have different motivations. Comprehending these segments helps explain actual consumer behavior across many different categories

Creatives These intellectual and curious people are actively involved in life in every way. They are enthusiastic about technology and optimistic about life in general. They are experiential, preferring time over money to pursue their many interests.

Fun Seekers Fun Seekers are essential hedonists. They play with life. They would rather be with friends than family. They are focused on external appearances and material things.

Intimates Intimates are social creatures, but their focus is more on family than friends and their pace more relaxed than energetic. Intimates are devoted and involved mates and parents. Intimates emphasize all sorts of relationship-oriented values. They describe their best brands as stable, familiar, and consistent.

Devouts Devouts are family-oriented, but in their case, it seems to be more of a responsibility than pleasure. Devouts are duty-bound traditionalists. Devouts are price-oriented shoppers who use preferred brands sparingly.

Altruists Altruists are similar to Devouts in their tendency to eschew "frivolous" pursuits. Their key values include justice, social responsibility, social order, and preserving the environment. They will respond well to "green" cause efforts.

Strivers The things Strivers care about most are the things most other people care about least --ambition, power, wealth, and status. These people don't have time to play. When they do make time to shop, it's to enhance their public image with prestige brand names and flashy cars. According to Thomas Miller, director of Roper's international research, even as educated and younger consumers explore other cultures, they retain pride in national traditions. "The English language may be the passport to “Global citizenship,'" says Miller, "yet non-American cultural and media products proliferate."

Consumers who feel very close to their own culture but no others are Nationalists, who make up 26 % of the global sample. This group makes up large portions of the populations of India, China, and Russia. People 40 to 65 tend to share this myopic view of the world, hold blue-collar jobs, possess lower earning power, or are traditional homemakers.

Multi-culturalists make up 15 % of the global sample. Australia and Hong Kong are home to large numbers of Multi-culturalists. People, ages 13 to 29 make up the largest portion of this group, with more education than Nationalists, as well as better incomes and standards of living, and white collar jobs.

Americans might have a firm notion of what American culture stands for. Sometimes this coincides with the way other people view American culture; sometimes it doesn't. Americans themselves rate freedom as their culture's number-one value (68 percent), even ahead of their own top personal value, protecting the family (64 percent).

Non-residents of the United States also seem to underestimate the importance of friendship to Americans. While Americans rank it third in importance as a cultural value (57 percent), the rest of the world doesn't even place friendship among America's top-ten values. These "culture gaps" are not restricted to "America vs. the World." Non-Brits tagged health and fitness as the U.K.'s second-ranking value; it did not make Britons' top-ten list for their own culture.

The Report concludes by suggesting that marketers need to assess both personal values and cultural values to finetune market positioning. Marketers should seek to align the values they convey in advertising with the culture that "owns" them in the target consumer's mind.

Read the complete review here.

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