Uncovering and understanding how and why people think, feel, and behave as they do on a deep level.

Worthy Strategy Group, LLC, is a research and behavioral science consulting group specializing in uncovering and understanding how and why people think, feel, and behave as they do on a deep level.

Leveraging the best in behavioral science, Worthy delivers insights in the policy and political space that support initiatives to make the world a better place. Worthy serves nonprofits, political organizations, causes, and candidates.

WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON NOW

The American Leadership Project

The American Leadership Project was created after years of research by the Worthy Strategy team to uncover what Americans are looking for in their leaders, beyond the conventional wisdom. Our findings showed that women were often completely missing from key categories considered essential for leadership at the highest level.

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We spent the last 2 years asking progressive to moderately conservative voters to show us images representing the type of leaders they sought for political leaders, including the president. We found that women were considered as ideal leaders only 22% of the time.

This illuminated both a challenge and an opportunity for women seeking or holding higher office and for those who support them. And it let us know that it was time to act.
The team behind the American Leadership Project is made up of seasoned collaborators who’ve worked on some of the biggest movements today – from global nuclear disarmament to working on messaging regarding Ukraine, gender equity and reproductive rights, marriage equality, advancing healthcare for marginalized populations, pushing for gun safety laws, and more. The team, led by Worthy Strategy Group in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute and Movement Advancement Project, represents decades of work to move the needle on the issues that count.

History doesn’t just happen — it’s made. And to help more women reach higher levels of leadership, we must take an active role in changing the game.

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Recent Projects of Note

Studying Latinos

Worthy worked with English and Spanish-dominant Latino populations in the southwest to uncover what was driving the Latino vote. More...

Political Work

Discovering an unconscious framework that helped drive youth voter turnout for the 2020 election, leading to this ad, among others. More...

Nuclear Threat

Working with the Nuclear Threat Initiative to locate the core narrative that is most effective to activate the public to nuclear threats. More...

AAPI

Worthy is proud to be currently engaged in supporting a DC-based institution in exploring Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) culture to support the creation of an exciting AAPI experience. More...

Jewish Experience

Working in support of the Jim Joseph Foundation, Worthy explored the Jewish experience and identity in America. Our study examined the personal meaning of being Jewish. More...

Understanding Immigration

Immigration has long held a grip on the American psyche, with many set in their corners and political progress shut down. More...

Political Violence and Young Men

Why and how are young men and boys in the United States susceptible for recruitment to political violence, and how might we reduce or eliminate their joining groups that promote ultranationalism and commit political violence? More...

Mark Riddle

“Gretchen and her team ask questions no one else is asking through their innovative methodologies to get to insights no one else has. They see the world differently and because of that, their insights have been a game changer. I highly recommend Worthy Strategy Group’s transformative work.”
— Mark Riddle, Democratic Strategist

Simon Rosenberg

“Gretchen’s research goes deeper into the understandings of American voters than most political research can go. Her work adds a third dimension to a two-dimensional image, uncovering a look into the American voter that we haven’t seen before, and has been game-changing for Democrats. I find her work compelling, and fascinating.”
— Simon Rosenberg, Democratic Political Strategist

What Worthy Does

Our “why” at Worthy has always been to support worthy causes, doing work that makes a positive difference in the world with the best behavioral science research and strategy. We pride ourselves in asking the tough questions and going deeper to uncover the root cause of what’s happening while assembling strategies that move the needle.

Cultural Think Tanks

Convening thought leaders, researchers, and stakeholders in important conversations around problems which affect us all to illuminate new paths forward.

Research Consulting and Design

Advising on everything from how to tackle research problems to what kinds of research questions should be asked and how.

Deep Metaphorical Research

In-depth Interviewing and online ethnographies to uncover deep insights about how people think, feel, and behave and how to connect, persuade, and move them to action.

Narrative Analysis and Development

Understanding larger cultural narratives and designing messaging campaigns.

Behavioral Science Workshops

Workshops on brain and behavioral science, persuasion theory and communication strategy, custom-tailored for your needs.

Team

Gretchen Barton, Principal

Gretchen Barton is the founder of Worthy Strategy Group, LLC, and former Research Director at Future Majority. She is a deep-listening researcher and strategist who has designed and led research initiatives in the political and policy space across America on poverty, the youth vote, global nuclear weapons disarmament, immigration, gender in America, what Americans need in their next President, how Americans know what’s true, what the Democratic and Republican party brands mean, and more. She recently completed deep-dive studies of American swing-state voters across the nation and in Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Rural Wisconsin/Iowa/Minnesota, and Virginia, along with a deep dive into how Americans know what’s true. She’s worked on presidential to mayoral campaigns and is currently leading an initiative called What it Will Take, laying the narrative groundwork for the first female president, and advising on History Wars, a Johns Hopkins research initiative looking to unpack a way to bring Americans together around a shared future, if not a shared history. Gretchen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Planning Campaigns with distinction in research from Cornell University. She has written for the Journal of College Student Development and the American Journal of Health Behavior, and co-authored, Prevalence and Profiling: Hazing Among College Students and Points of Intervention. She is the co-author of “The Science of Winning with Stories: Using Agency, Urgency, and Community,” a reflection on the most effective messaging to engage and move a populace, and is the author of Making Americans the Hero of the Story: A Quick Guide to Greatness.

Kirk Cheyfitz, Board Member

Kirk Cheyfitz is a narrative strategist and writer helping progressive candidates, nonprofits, and causes persuade and activate people with research-driven storytelling. Previously, Kirk was an award-winning newspaper journalist, a successful publishing entrepreneur, and a senior advertising executive. A communications innovator, he was a pioneer of content marketing and the rise of stories in advertising, particularly online. He built the world’s first global content agency for McCann Worldgroup, took it private in 2005 as Story Worldwide, and led the agency until selling it in 2015. The next year, he founded Kirk Cheyfitz / Political Narrative, based in New York City.

Kirk Cheyfitz, Board Member

Kirk Cheyfitz is a narrative strategist and writer helping progressive candidates, nonprofits, and causes persuade and activate people with research-driven storytelling. Previously, Kirk was an award-winning newspaper journalist, a successful publishing entrepreneur, and a senior advertising executive. A communications innovator, he was a pioneer of content marketing and the rise of stories in advertising, particularly online. He built the world’s first global content agency for McCann Worldgroup, took it private in 2005 as Story Worldwide, and led the agency until selling it in 2015. The next year, he founded Kirk Cheyfitz / Political Narrative, based in New York City.

Catharine Hays, Board Member

Catharine Findiesen Hays is a pioneering marketing and sales strategist. She co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Wharton Future of Advertising Program from 2008 – 2018. There she cultivated and convened a network of over 500 executives, innovators, and academics to make the future of marketing and advertising markedly better for brands, people, and society. Catharine has developed and led research collaborations with Google, Facebook, Deloitte, Yahoo!, Hearts & Science, P&G, and others. She has also keynoted and led executive sessions at Cannes Lions, Forbes CMO Excursion, Deloitte’s Next CMO Academy, and more. Previously, she led marketing, strategy, and sales teams during a 16-year career at AT&T. Catharine, a proud mother of two exceptional daughters now resides in her home state of Vermont, which she returned to in May 2020 to lead the Bixby Memorial Free Library as Director. Catharine co-authored Beyond Advertising: Creating Value Through All Customer Touchpoints, Wiley 2016.

Gregg Hurwitz, Strategic Narrative Advisor

Gregg Hurwitz is the internationally bestselling author of 24 thrillers including the Orphan X series. He currently serves as the Co-President of International Thriller Writers (ITW). Additionally, he’s written screenplays, television scripts, and comics for AWA, DC, and Marvel. Gregg is actively works against polarization in politics and culture. To that end, he’s penned op eds for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Bulwark and others, and has produced several hundred commercials which gathered a hundred million views on digital TV platforms.

Gregg Hurwitz, Strategic Narrative Advisor

Gregg Hurwitz is the internationally bestselling author of 24 thrillers including the Orphan X series. He currently serves as the Co-President of International Thriller Writers (ITW). Additionally, he’s written screenplays, television scripts, and comics for AWA, DC, and Marvel. Gregg is actively works against polarization in politics and culture. To that end, he’s penned op eds for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Bulwark and others, and has produced several hundred commercials which gathered a hundred million views on digital TV platforms.

BLOG

The Science of Winning with Stories

The Science of Winning with Stories

By Worthy Strategy Group & Kirk Cheyfitz | Sept 18, 2020Using Agency, Urgency, and Community The Democratic Party has been relying on a largely outmoded approach to communicate with voters. The...

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Killer Metaphors

Killer Metaphors

How A Metaphor Can Kill You (or Save Your Life) In 2015, Sarah Kliff and VOX news conducted a remarkable investigation into the different ways hospitals think of, prepare for and respond to medical...

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In The News

Featured on he Common Good Podcast!

In this episode of the Common Good Podcast, titled “Why Politicians Should Make Americans the Hero of the Story,” hosts Doug Pagitt and Robb Ryerse engage in a compelling conversation with Gretchen Barton of Future Majority and Worthy Strategy Group. They explore the influential power of narratives in politics and discuss the significance of positioning Americans as heroes in political messaging.

Listen to the episode here

Joe Biden recently positioned his campaign with Americans as the hero of this story.

We’re proud to have been part of the thinking that led to this strategic positioning. Our research shows that the hero story runs deep in America and that voters, not politicians, should be centered in everything.

For more on the thinking behind this positioning, click to learn more about Making Americans the Hero of the Story ›

Featured on Latest Podcast Episode!

I’m thrilled to share that I was a guest on a recent podcast episode. We discussed the nuances of leadership perceptions, especially for women in politics, and explored key insights on the 2024 Electoral College predictions. Plus, discover what UVA students think about political leadership. Dive in, and I’d love to hear your feedback!

Listen to the episode here

To win in 2024, Democrats must become the party of economic renewal

To win in 2024, Democrats must become the party of economic renewal by connecting President Biden’s achievements with improvements to voters’ well-being, and focusing on domestic production and good-paying jobs as per Rep. Ro Khana’s concept of Economic Patriotism.

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at thehill.com ›

Murderous Putin is sure of his own impunity. He could not be more wrong

The Russian dictator believes himself to be above international law but there are many ways to make him pay for his war crimes. With every atrocity that goes unpunished, Russia’s aim of furthering an age of utter impunity, where dictators can slaughter civilians and wipe out whole nations as they please, comes closer.

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at theguardian.com ›

There’s a solution to the labor shortage — and it’s the undocumented workers who are already here

The United States is in a transitional economic moment, moving from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic through a period of recovery to a more traditional economic expansion.

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at Salon.com ›

How a zombie apocalypse is informing a new wave of Dem ads

Wide Angle Research, a nonprofit firm, has conducted extensive, cutting-edge research on voter behavior. And they’re turning it into animated ads for the close of the midterms.

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at Politico.com ›

Reach Out

See something interesting? Want to discuss something more? Contact us.

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