US Framework and VALS™ Types

VALS™ segments US adults into eight distinct types—or mindsets—using a specific set of psychological traits and key demographics that drive consumer behavior. The US Framework, a graphic representation of VALS, illustrates the eight types and two critical concepts for understanding consumers: primary motivation and resources. The combination of motivations and resources determines how a person will express himself or herself in the marketplace as a consumer.

VALS assigns individuals a VALS type on the basis of their responses to questions in the VALS Survey. VALS-typing populations of interest, such as customers or constituents, is the first step in a VALS approach to achieving strategic marketing and communication goals.

Using VALS provides clients with:

  • A fresh perspective by effectively "putting them inside the head" of their customers
  • Rich, customized, consumer profiles or personas
  • Distinctive communication styles of their best targets.
The VALS Framework Innovators Thinkers Achievers Experiencers Believers Strivers Makers Survivors

(If you would like to use the US VALS™ Framework in your book or other publication, you must first request permission to reprint VALS™ information.)

Primary Motivation: Ideals, Achievement, and Self-Expression

The concept of primary motivation explains consumer attitudes and anticipates behavior. VALS includes three primary motivations that matter for understanding consumer behavior: ideals, achievement, and self-expression. Consumers who are primarily motivated by ideals are guided by knowledge and principles. Consumers who are primarily motivated by achievement look for products and services that demonstrate success to their peers. Consumers who are primarily motivated by self-expression desire social or physical activity, variety, and risk. These motivations provide the necessary basis for communication with the VALS types and for a variety of strategic applications.

Resources

A person's tendency to consume goods and services extends beyond age, income, and education. Energy, self-confidence, intellectualism, novelty seeking, innovativeness, impulsiveness, leadership, and vanity play a critical role. These psychological traits in conjunction with key demographics determine an individual's resources. Various levels of resources enhance or constrain a person's expression of his or her primary motivation.