Graeme Trayner

Why Values Matter – How Public Relations Professionals Can Draw on Moral Foundations Theory

New thinking in psychology and the changing public information space means information alone is not enough to change opinion. Facts and figures on their own, no matter how compelling, can either get lost in the ether, or at worse, be seen as self-justifying attempts to make a case. What is critical is to connect a case or perspective to people’s deep-seated values and to forge an emotive connection.

Drawing on insights from voter behavior and moral psychology, this session will explore how communicators can map out attitudes against core values. It will look at how communications research needs to move beyond the rational and explicit, and look to understand the intuitive and implicit.

As businesses and brands deal with increasingly emotional and aggressive criticism, and are dragged into “culture wars”, understanding core values allows for more resonant and robust communications.


Graeme Trayner is a Vice President at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, where he runs the firm's brand and communications practice. Drawing on his background in politics, branding and opinion research, he has developed programs to advance corporate strategies, and helped manage and frame issues including regulation, mergers and acquisitions, foreign direct investment and social responsibility.

Trayner has advised companies globally on how to build and manage reputation, and has worked across sectors including financial and professional services, energy and utilities, consumer industries, healthcare and telecoms.

Prior to joining GQR, Trayner was a Partner in the London office of Brunswick Group, the international financial communications consultancy. At Brunswick, he created and led the group's insight practice, and drove its expansion across Europe, North America and Asia. His roots lie in progressive politics, having worked as a senior aide to British Labour Party pollsters Philip Gould and Deborah Mattinson.

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