Why-ology Library

Go beyond the what to the why of consumer behavior.

We invite you to view or download any of the following materials that are of interest. Please keep in mind that these materials are for your information only, and that by viewing or downloading them, you agree to the following limited use terms:

  • You may not use any of these materials or include them—in whole or in part—within a larger document that you intend to publish until you have completed and submitted a VALS™ Reprint Permission Form and have received permission to do so.
  • You may not resell these materials in whole or in part to a third party.
  • All intellectual-property rights of materials that you view or download are owned by Strategic Business Insights.

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White Papers


  • October 2017

    Faces of Innovators Women
    Even though women are making gains on every front, women continue to be underrepresented in top positions.

  • October 2017

    Facebook under Fire
    Special council Robert Mueller explores Russian-troll-farm ads placed on Facebook and their influence on voters in the 2016 US presidential election. VALS explores which consumers are most likely to have been affected.

  • October 2017

    Game of Thrones
    In an ever expanding sea of viewer choice, for which consumers has Game of Thrones achieved cult status?

  • October 2017

    The Vietnam War
    More than 40 years after the Vietnam War's end, Ken Burns (American Experience/PBS) reports on the profound ways the war changed United States history. Who's most likely to have interest and watch?

  • October 2017

    Hispanic-Americans by VALS
    As discussion and debate swirl around US immigration policy, a look at some facts about Hispanic Americans is enlightening.

  • August 2017

    Paying with Your Phone
    Many shoppers use their mobile phones to compare prices, to take pictures of items for later consideration, or simply to call home from the grocery store aisle. Now, some US consumers are also beginning to use smart phones as a payment method, instead of cash or credit.

  • August 2017

    A Retail Tale
    Excessive retail space in the US and the rise in online shopping are changing the marketplace. A comparison of two giants—Walmart and Amazon.com—highlights retail's evolution.

  • August 2017

    The Experience Economy
    Marketers are talking about consumers' desire for experience and the need to increase consumer engagement in the new economy. The question is, for which consumers is experience the new product?

  • April 2017

    Understanding Survey Sampling
    The failure of survey organizations and pollsters to predict the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election resulted in renewed interest in questions of representation.

  • April 2017

    Who Hails Taxis? Who Taps Apps (for Ridesharing)?
    On an average weekday, who hails a taxi and who taps an app for ride sharing? Which VALS types might be the next to shift?

  • February 2017

    Trade-Offs: Eating Out
    Since 2014, grocery spending is in decline. Who is trading off preparing food at home for eating food away from home? Restaurant visits are increasing unevenly across restaurant types and consumer groups.

  • February 2017

    Millennials versus Boomers
    As young adults, Millennials differ from Baby Boomers of the 1980s. Fragmentation of social values during the 1980s was disruptive. The long-term effects of today's constrained economic environment faced by Millennials may prove to be equally disruptive to society.

  • November 2016

    Defining Happiness to Build Brands: Personality
    The fourth in a series examining definitions of happiness to build brands, this report explores how future happiness branding may profit from a differentiation of happiness definitions by different consumer groups who have different set points for happiness, but also experience happiness differently.

  • October 2016

    Environment and Human Character
    People change their perception of environments on the basis of their own physical characteristics and abilities. Can such research help to promote desirable behaviors?

  • October 2016

    Go Boldly into the Future
    On the 50-year anniversary of Star Trek, VALS examines how the series contains a valuable lesson for how businesses can think about going boldly into their future more reliably.

  • September 2016

    Defining Happiness to Build Brands: Happiness or Meaning?
    The third in a series examining definitions of happiness to build brands, this report explores the shift in happiness for people who give time compared to people who give money.

  • August 2016

    Use VALS™ to Position a Brand
    VALS enables marketers to understand that their brand doesn't have to be all things to all people, but rather what things are important to their best prospects.

  • August 2016

    Student-Loan Debt
    Student-loan debt continues to inhibit Millennials' desire and ability to buy homes, vehicles, and other necessary products as households form and they establish families.

  • July 2016

    Defining Happiness to Build Brands: Experiential versus Material Happiness
    The second in a series examining definitions of happiness to build brands, this report explores the psychological costs of living in a materialistic society by framing consumption as a series of life experiences, rather than a series of acquisitions.

  • May 2016

    Defining Happiness to Build Brands: The Basics
    This report is the first in a series examining definitions of happiness to inform brand managers about how to measure and define the concept flexibly over time.

  • June 2015

    Navigating Outside Influences on Brands
    Modern branding involves a complex interplay between strategic objectives and consumer acceptance.

  • October 2014

    Smartphone Personalities
    Not everyone uses smartphones in the same way or for the same reasons.

  • May 2014

    The Psychology of "Somewhat": Challenges for the Interpretation of Survey Data
    Certain methods of data analysis of seemingly straightforward survey questions can lead organizations to draw profoundly misleading conclusions.

  • November 2012

    Social-Media Use for Focus Groups
    Companies should distinguish carefully the roles people play in social-media venues and the roles they ultimately play as customers of the firm.

  • February 2010

    Garbage In, Garbage Out: Survey-Question Design
    Gathering valid survey data that can be acted upon with confidence requires a careful approach to survey question design.

  • December 2008

    The Use of Focus Groups in Research
    This white paper points out several key considerations for companies conducting focus-group research, and provides some words of caution.