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Writing these annual notes for my friends at Lasso is like writing in an annual diary. “Dear diary, what a year it’s been.”

In the last year, we’ve seen the entire planet change behaviors almost overnight. And as always happens when stress and anxiety rule the day, we are seeing people double-down on what matters to them most. For some it’s family. For others it’s friends. Or health. Or a renewed focus on happiness. Or financial security. One thing we know for sure, how anyone is behaving or whatever anyone is feeling it’s because of what they value. Understanding what your target audience values, and focusing on that, is more mission-critical now than it’s ever been before. And it’s a secret weapon that will make you stand out from the crowd. Here’s an example of what I mean.

We profiled the values of apartment renters for a rental management company. They launched a suite of services and support for the renters in the towers they look after based on what their renters care about the most. You’ll never guess what happened next. They had unsolicited fan mail from tenants! Think about that: who writes fan mail saying thank you to their rental management company? Renters who feel their values are being respected and honored, that’s who.

Want to know what the values of your target audience are? A good thumbnail-back-of-the-napkin-rough-guesstimate way to start is to just ask them. Every time a company does a survey they ask the same two kinds of questions. First, they ask about demographics: what age are you? Do you have kids? How much money do you make? Not sure how you are supposed to do anything with that, but we seem to think it’s very important. And second, they ask questions about themselves: do you like my product/service brand? How much? Will you buy more? Will you tell a friend to buy some?

But what we never seem to ask is what our target audience or customer base actually cares about. What is on their mind? What do they think of the world right now? What are they worried about? A great way to phrase these questions is to ask what are called secondary questions: ask what your customer thinks other customers are worried about or feeling about the world right now. That gives them the “out” they need to be really honest, because they are not talking about themselves.

Why ask these questions at all? Because you will start to see some patterns in the responses. You will start to see that your customers are really focused on family, or health, or money, or something else. Once you know that, you can tailor your offering and your messaging to connect the dots between what you have to sell and what they want to hear.

It also means you can stop wasting time talking about/doing things they don’t care about at all; because no one is interested in what you want to say or do unless it relates to what they value.

Biggest take away for the coming year? Stop focusing on demographics and past behaviors/feelings/emotions. Start focusing on what people value. If you want stats to back it up, we’ve got 500,000 surveys in a global database that can do just that: follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe for reports at and we’ll keep sharing what we know.

Until then, Happy Holidays and stay safe!


About the author…

David Allison ValuegraphicsDavid Allison
Consumer Behavior Expert, Marketing Advisor, Valuegraphics Data Pioneer

Best-selling author, international speaker, and Valuegraphics pioneer David Allison has spent his career thinking about how to impact consumer behavior for clients around the world. He has worked in sectors as diverse as finance, tourism, technology, and retail… through to real estate development, cultural institutions and luxury brands.
In 2015 he sold his real estate development strategic communications firm, and began the research and data-analysis behind Valuegraphics. In 2018, his fourth book, We Are All the Same Age Now, was published and topped the global marketing and consumer behavior best-seller lists within 24 hours of its release.

Douglas Coupland says, “David can see the patterns in the noise and tell us what the real signal is.” Dorian Carroll, VP of Mobile Shopping for Amazon says, “David knows how to understand, reach and motivate target audiences more effectively and efficiently.” Inc Magazine named his book one of the ten “Leadership Books to Watch” in 2018.

Through his company David Allison Inc, he provides research and advisory services to companies around the world. His speaking engagements are managed by the Global Speakers Agency and the National Speakers Bureau. He has exclusive representation in several key sectors, including the alternative investment and broadcast media industries. More information can be found at


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