Yesterday I published details on Anne Sorock’s Research Report: #BlackLivesMatter more about radical social upheaval than “Black Lives”.

I mentioned in the post how Anne uses the Deep Values methodology she learned while interacting with the Food & Brand Lab at Cornell University while getting her MBA. Deep values research seeks to understand not just what consumers like or want, but what deeply held values lead to such decisions.

At the Frontier Lab, Anne has applied deep values methodology to numerous political topics, including  why people decide to become politically activeOccupy movement participants’ motivations, and why Republicans won’t call themselves Republican, among others.

I also mentioned that Anne had applied that methodology several years ago to understanding why Legal Insurrection readers read Legal Insurrection, and that I might share those findings with you.

Well, I’m in a particularly good mood, so here are some of Anne’s findings.

The research took place starting at the very end of 2012 into 2013. I selected 12 readers who were consistent commenters or had communicated with me directly. There was no attempt to obtain a cross-section of all people who read Legal Insurrection, or to profile people based on demographics, income and other marketing factors. If you want that, check out our public Quantcast stats.

Rather, these were people who were “fans” of Legal Insurrection, and we wanted to understand the deep values behind the decision to keep coming back to Legal Insurrection among the thousands of political websites. As Anne described it, the Objectives were:

  • Prototype core LI reader
  • Uncover key motivating values

Here are some of the slides Anne provided to me reflecting the finding of the hour-long reader interviews. Most of the slide are self-explanatory, but I’ve added my own commentary as part of this post.

The first slide is a summary of the findings, referred to as a “brand champion” prototype. So if you are too lazy to read on, this slide serves as a cheat sheet to what follows. Is this you?

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Brand Champion Prototype

Most important to me in the Pattern of Use was that we provide readers with intellectual ammunition. Although it’s not on the slide, one of the readers interviewed mentioned that he (or was it she?) felt s/he obtained information that could be used against liberal relatives at holiday dinners. Holiday Dinner Insurrection.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Pattern of Use

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Getting Into The Battle

You may need to click on this Map of Hierarchical Values to read the fine print. The top line valued were Hope – Connection – Empowerment – Self-Worth.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Hierarchichal Value Map

We occupied a niche focused on quality.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - LI Niche

It will come as no surprise which other websites readers were visiting.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Other News Sources

Over the years I have become friends with several Legal Insurrection readers, in a real world sense. I’ve also developed the acquaintance of many more. It’s one of the most satisfying aspects of this website. Particularly when people buy me coffee.

Equally important, even if we’ve not communicated directly, I do feel there is something special about Legal Insurrection that creates a personal connection.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Personal Connection to Prof

This personal connection leads readers to take pride in our success. Whenever I’m mentioned on radio, I immediately get emails from readers telling me I was just mentioned.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Intertwined Brand Alignment

Okay, party over. The comments section. I still think we’re more of a community than most places, but based on my review of the comment section and reading my inbox the past year, things have deteriorated. I have no answers at this point. My goal for 2017 is to “Make the Comment Section Great Again!”

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Community

Since this project was conducted shortly after the 2012 elections, it’s no surprise Liz Warren was on peoples’ minds. Our research on Warren broke new ground in many ways, and is the type of thing I’d like to do more of, if only I had 34 hours in a day.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Warren Case Study

Here are maps of interviews of several of the readers, with the quoted language a quote from the interview. Click on the image to enlarge.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Reader 1 Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Reader 2 Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Reader 3 Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Reader 4

None of these findings surprised me.

In some respects, 2012-2013 were years in which the mission of Legal Insurrection was being fulfilled. It’s a melancholy reflection for me, because I’m not sure that’s still the case. There are many reasons for that, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Instead, I’ll just take this opportunity to thank the readers. Dexter thanks you too.

Dexter reading Legal Insurrection