Value systems: demographics for the 21st Century?

Chrissie Wells and Mandy Atkin
Leapfrog Research and Planning

INTRODUCTION – MAKING SENSE OF HUMAN DIVERSITY

Since the beginning of our industry one of our main pre-occupations has been with how to distinguish between individuals in meaningful ways. In a marketing context this means identifying types of people more likely to demonstrate particular behaviours.

We started by using those aspects of individuals which it is most easy to identify and work with: age and gender. Occupation-based social grade, originally developed by Government statisticians, became the third major factor. The latter has been extensively examined and debated over the years. Is it best regarded as an indication of wealth, social status, education – or of a combination of all three? In order to provide a better indicator of commercial value, personal or household income has replaced social grade in many contexts.