I take great pride in my birth year of 1993. I came of age in the time of cat-eye glasses, the Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Limited Too, Linsey Lohan, bell bottoms, glittery plastic accessories, and Mathew McConaughey rom coms, what’s not to love.  

This likely explains my shameless satisfaction with The O.C. It lovingly represents the world I aspired to live in as a soon-to-be teen. This is a long-winded preamble to say, I’ve recently wondered how much I am like Seth Cohen. For anyone unfamiliar with The O.C., this character has a rather strong self-absorbed yet adorable streak running through him. 

I pray I don’t talk about myself like he does, but I do adore a good personality test, and I’ve always wondered if there’s something semi self absorbed about loving questions like why am I the way I am. Either way, I can’t shake my obsession. Personality tests, the study of personal brands, that’s all very much up my alley. 

With this context, it should come as no surprise that I HAD to take a wine personality test. 

Reading the results, I didn’t disagree. As an ENFJ on the Myers Briggs spectrum, I was paired with Malbec and the following description:

Charismatic, inspiring leaders who are able to mesmerize their listeners.

You’re smooth like chocolate, just like Malbec. Like this rich, dark fruit flavored red with a smooth chocolatey finish, you intoxicate the people around you and always have them asking for another glass. Glass Half Full Blog

Well thanks wine test, I’ll take it! As a marketing strategist, it’s my job to inspire a room and make big ideas happen, so I’m glad to hear my wine pairing is equally bold and persuasive. 

This quiz also had me thinking about the role of product recommendations and personality tests. I’ve long thought, there have to be better ways for us to find the things in life that truly make us come alive. As adults, most of us have little free time. And when we do experience our precious free time, we want to buy and experience things that are truly worthy of our unique interests and tastes. This had me further wondering, what does personality marketing look like? How common is it, and is it effective? 

According to HBR, “personality marketing can create a better match for products, services or experiences…[and] offers the chance to empathize with individuals, and engage them with the message, advertisement, or content in a way that is more likely to resonate with them.” 

So in short, it’s proven to be effective. Okay, that checks out. In terms of what it looks like, I found this rather intriguing, though not at all surprising: Initially, personality marketing started with quizzes. As the assessment of psychological traits has progressed, Facebook has studied people’s digital footprints to see if online behaviors could accurately predict personality traits without quizzing people. The discovery? “Computer algorithms were better at judging a person’s personality than their co-workers, friends, and even family members.” Facebook isn’t the only tech company exploring this space, IBM Watson’s Personality Insights API scrapes internet content to make personal inferences and recently came up with a list of The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World with their Personality Insights tool. 

Personality marketing is no doubt novel and entertaining, but how popular is it becoming? Judging by the rise in positions like data science, the study of consumer behavior and personal taste is likely only increasing in both popularity and complexity. So from a marketing perspective, I understand the appeal, but how appealing is personality-based marketing to a consumer? 

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I don’t want to have to wade through bad options. Alternatively, I want a say in how I’m summed up. Furthermore, I want to shop based on the aspirational me more than the day-to-day me. I wonder if bypassing personality quizzes means we lose some of that aspirational evaluation. 

I wouldn’t say that all day every day I’m a Malbec, but I sure do like the idea of it, so for any marketing leaders out there – Let’s advocate for personality marketing, but with more direct consumer input (more quizzes, etc!) before brands make their assessments. 

Raise a glass if you agree! 

Image source: Ok. Wines

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