MSL UK Launches New Data-Driven Technology Platform, MSL Belief Stack

Publicis Groupe Agency introduces new UK positioning ‘We Build Belief’

Communications consultancy MSL UK has launched a new data-driven insights tool, the MSL Belief Stack, the cornerstone of its new UK positioning ‘We Build Belief’.

The MSL Belief Stack uniquely measures audiences’ deep-held Beliefs and Values, as defined by the world-renowned academic Professor Shalom Schwartz, combining these Beliefs with over one million data points provided by the leading target audience company GlobalWebIndex (GWI).

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MSL UK’s ‘We Build Belief’ positioning reflects an increasing focus and importance from audiences, companies and brands on the values and emotions that drive people’s decisions, not simply old-fashioned trust and logic.

The new positioning and MSL Belief Stack form an integral part of MSL UK’s consultancy, providing insights into the communications and growth challenges faced by companies, and the different Belief strategies they can develop to target new and existing audiences and stakeholders. The tool can compare audiences, allowing brands to differentiate from competitors and discover fundamental belief gaps on which to focus growth and communications.

MSL UK has been under new leadership since Chris McCafferty joined as UK Group CEO in September 2019, joined by new UK Managing Director Jo Grierson in January 2020. New brands to have chosen MSL in the last year include PUMA, Subway, Fossil, AXA, Bank of America and Oreo.

Chris McCafferty, Group CEO, MSL UK comments:

“Think of a business you trust. Now think of a movement you truly Believe in. Which is more powerful? The world’s most progressive brands are tapping into the emotions, motivations and tactics of Belief-led thinking to drive growth.

“The MSL Belief Stack moves us beyond simple ‘What and How’ insights into understanding the ‘Why’. In an increasingly values-led world, we believe this is a powerful lever in creating change and preference, something all clients strive for. We also believe this is a unique data-driven tool that is a leap beyond the industry’s existing insight methods.”

Annette King, CEO, Publicis Groupe UK, said: “The MSL Belief Stack has been designed for forward-thinking clients seeking to understand their customers’ beliefs and values, to help grow their brands and their influence. This new tool is the result of a collaboration from people with different skills and capabilities from across Publicis Groupe UK who have come together to innovate, find and interpret the data, and make a great idea happen.”

The MSL Belief Stack has been built in partnership between MSL UK, Publicis Data Practice, GWI, and world-renowned academic Prof. Shalom Schwartz. It is based on Prof. Schwartz’s Theory of Universal Human Values, which boils down all human values into 19 Shalom Universal Values: beliefs about how the world should be.

These 19 values are universal across cultures and demographics and are highly predictive of people’s behaviour and how they respond to brands. They are components of a single human value model, and these values are inter-related within four value quarters: self-transcendence; conservation; openness to change; and self-enhancement.

“GWI is delighted to be working with MSL on this exciting initiative. The depth of our world-leading research and our ability to run uniquely customised studies, combined with the Shalom Schwartz approach will enable MSL to zero in on their target audiences based on their beliefs and values. This is a great example of our data being used in innovative ways, to produce a practical and powerful solution” said Anne Giulianotti, Director of Custom Research, GWI.

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The MSL Belief Stack is fuelled by up-to-date data from 40,000 representative people provided by GWI. This includes their belief scores mapped across the 19 Shalom Universal Values, combined with insights into their demographics, attitudes, and brand affiliations.

By using this data, the MSL Belief Stack analyses the values held by consumer audience groups – audiences that can be defined by attitudes and preference, demographics, geography, or any other data available in GWI. By subsequently analysing the values held by that brand’s target audiences, a Belief Score is calculated, based on the alignment of the two.

In addition to the Belief Score for a brand’s audience, MSL Belief Stack can also define the Belief Gap – the difference between a brand’s score and true Belief or advocacy.

“To be able to measure a brand’s Belief Score through a scaled data-driven approach is powerful. To then understand the specific Beliefs we need to target to reduce a Belief Gap, or maintain leadership in Belief, is a first for the industry,” says Jo Grierson.

“The insights at the extremities of Belief are proving to be the most powerful. What do a brand’s true Believers believe? What about its non-believers? These insights are leading to rich creative briefs and powerful creative work for our clients.”

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