MSL said the move reflects the increasing importance among audiences, companies and brands on the values and emotions, rather than just trust and logic, that influence people’s decisions.
The agency's data-driven insights tool, the MSL Belief Stack, measures audiences’ deeply held beliefs and values. These are based on Professor Shalom Schwartz's Theory of Universal Human Values, which boils down all human values into 19 beliefs about how the world should be.
The measurements are combined with more than one million data points from a sample of 40,000 representative people via market research firm GlobalWebIndex. By analysing the values held by a brand’s target audiences, a 'belief score' is calculated, based on the alignment of those values with the values held by consumer audience groups.
A 'belief gap' – the difference between a brand’s score and true belief or advocacy – can also be identified.
The idea is to help clients develop 'belief strategies' to target new and existing audiences and stakeholders.
MSL UK chief executive Chris McCafferty said: “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.”
He added: "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. 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.”
MSL UK has been under the leadership of McCafferty since he started his role in September 2019. He was joined by UK MD Jo Grierson in January 2020. The agency's new clients in the past year have included Puma, Subway, Fossil, AXA, Bank of America and Oreo.
Last week, PRWeek's sister title Campaign reported that MSL owner Publicis has held talks about a possible sale or transaction with a private equity investor.