Labels tend to fit people like a cheap suit. They lose shape and form, cloaking curves and nuance that hide information and miss vital details along the way. As any good marketer will tell you, that’s precisely why consumer personas are so much more enlightening than mere labels. And to build the most complete and insightful personas possible, marketers must harness the many subtleties within personality types and consumer behavior to truly engage their target audience and propel their brand.
Of course, personalities are fluid and innately complex, evolving with time and the surrounding environment. When constructing personas, however, personality traits are merely a single component of a much larger picture. Still, the better a brand understands the personality types within its target audience, the more powerful the resulting personas and, if part of an effective campaign, the conversions to match.
A Focus on Personas
Oculus 360 (O360) provides brands with solutions for understanding personas and personalities by mining the vast digital environment for insights garnered from consumer commentary that would otherwise remain in the binary shadows. Brands can utilize O360’s Consumer Portraits tool to create more accurate, reliable personas and, in turn, construct and deliver engaging messages to a highly segmented audience with splintered affinities.
To give context to our innovative solutions, however, it’s important to look at how personality types play into the larger persona, how O360 recognizes those personality types through online commentary, and what marketers can do with the results. Understanding even the most specific and demanding audience segments isn’t insurmountable as long as the information used to build customer personas – personality types amongst other data points – is accurate, insightful, and timely.
Why Personality Types Matter to Your Personas
With over 7 billion people on the planet, each comprised of a unique combination of interests, passions, foibles, and fears, how is a brand supposed to construct customized messages that engage at an individual level? That's where personality types enter the fold. Marketers can only build accurate personas when they understand their audience, and that understanding, in part, is dependent on the benefits like the following that personality type insights are uniquely capable of providing:
- Unlike static demographic labels, personality types are a far more pliable way to group individuals by similarities
- Personality types are useful for constructing and delivering an engaging narrative that's highly personalized
- Personality types give campaigns critical insights into consumer behavior, audience engagement, and overall campaign effectiveness
- They allow brands to gain market share by distinguishing themselves from the competition
- Psychographics like personality types make it easier for marketers to attach the brand to virtues and belief systems that directly appeal to their target consumers
Of course, like many aspects of digital marketing, understanding personality types to construct more accurate personas is easier said than done. Marketers dependent on unreliable sources of information, antiquated demographics, or outdated psychology models are setting themselves up for failure.
Likewise, consumers are notoriously reticent to share personal information about themselves, particularly in the digital environment when such scrutiny is placed on the unscrupulous data collection practices of a select few companies. Fortunately, O360 has a more efficient and effective method to gather critical personality data from publicly available information.
Online Commentary Is a Window Into Personality Types
Unprompted, unbiased online commentary and reviews provide a wealth of information about consumer personalities without being skewed by intrusive data collection procedures, reluctance to provide personal information, and countless other factors that generate inaccurate results. In fact, as long as brands leverage the right technologies and expertise when scouring the online environment for consumer insights, brands can glean significant amounts of information regarding personality types through often subtle verbal cues.
For instance, patterns identified in online messages like overall readability, the frequency of foul language used, and the ability to stay on topic all directly speak to an individual's personality traits. Technology can now analyze those patterns in online user-generated content to identify predictive trends and signals, using them as a window into consumer behavior that, ultimately, help marketers determine an individual's specific personality type. From there, those findings are used to develop complete personas that reveal affinities for other products and categories that can extend a brand’s reach and appeal to new audience members or expand cross-selling to existing customers.
The OCEAN Personality Model and Consumer Behavior
While O360’s particular approach in leveraging consumer commentary to identify personality types is unique, the study of personality types and their impact on consumer behavior has played a significant role in marketing for decades. To choose the most effective method amongst the many developed in over the years, O360 uses a combination of psychographics and demographics to construct complex personas that integrate the personality traits, values, and morals that define an individual.
The psychographics component of our methodology is where we integrate personality types, specifically using the OCEAN Personality Model which consists of five key factors that, collectively, distinguish an individual's personality – openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism -- and five to six subtype measurements within each key factor. Each of these five factors and twenty-nine subtypes are gauged within a person and play a unique role in developing a better understanding of an individual's personality, the personality type they fit in, and their buying behavior.
- Openness: Imaginative and insightful, eager to discover new things and enjoy unique experiences. Within Openness, we measure subtypes of Imagination, Emotionality, Intellect, Artistic Interest, Adventurousness, and Liberalism.
- Conscientiousness: Reliable and prompt, usually very methodical and detail oriented. Within Conscientiousness, we measure subtypes of Self Efficacy, Dutifulness, Self Discipline, Orderliness, Achievement Striving, and Cautiousness.
- Extraversion: Feed off of others for energy, generally in a highly outgoing and assertive manner. Within Extraversion, we measure subtypes of Friendliness, Assertiveness, Excitement Seeking, Gregariousness, Activity Level, and Cheerfulness.
- Agreeableness: Empathetic and kind, displaying warmth and compassion towards others. Within Agreeableness, we measure subtypes of Trust, Altruism, Modesty, Morality, Cooperation, and Sympathy.
- Neuroticism: A general barometer of emotional stability, usually typified by moody, tense behavior and negative emotions. Within Neuroticism, we measure subtypes of Hostility, Self Consciousness, Vulnerability, Depression, and Immoderation.
The OCEAN Personality Model does not fill every information void involving personality since individuals are exceptionally complex and continually evolving according to both internal and external factors. However, it is a powerful tool in providing insights that would otherwise go either undiscovered or insufficiently understood. In fact, the five factors included in the model are especially useful in the way they overlap many related traits and characteristics which, when aggregated, provide a solid foundation to identifying the personality types that help build personas in the context of the category being analyzed with O360.
Technology's Place In Identifying Personality Types
O360 combines the different factors and models we discussed with specific technologies to uncover, interpret, and leverage personality types from consumer commentary spread across the digital world. Although gaining the same understanding without technologies like machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) are, at least in theory, still possible, the resources involved with a more manual approach would overwhelm even those brands with significant resources to dedicate to such a task.
O360 can automate the process, utilizing AI-based systems to quickly and efficiently interpret consumer commentary and place individuals in personality types that help form accurate and thorough personas. NLP is invaluable in this process, deciphering subtleties in language that feed directly into tools like the OCEAN Personality Model to properly categorize personality types. Given the nature of the technologies themselves, accuracy and impact only improve with additional iterations, meaning the more marketers use our insights, the more precise and informative those insights become.
With tools like O360s Consumer Portraits, brands don't have to rely on antiquated labels and outdated demographics to better understand their audience. Instead, our dynamic solutions are tailor-made for an ever-changing audience with complex personalities and constantly shifting affinities. Personality type, along with the many other components of a consumer persona, have been given a new sense of precision and impact thanks to AI-based technologies, and O360 is proud to lead the effort.