Traditionally, and quite understandably, companies tend to build their product development and marketing strategies based on the market outlook at the time. Then, they go to the drawing board and start thinking about the brand. So it’s fair to say it’s an inwards process: Look at the market, create the brand.
Although this approach has worked incredibly well for many brands in the past, there are still some issues:
- It doesn’t focus enough on the reasoning behind the behavior of potential customers and their psychological profile;
- At times, it leads brands to misunderstand consistency and limits them with iron-clad guidelines created to fit all;
- It requires companies to invest in complex brand architectures and develop sub-brands which can confuse consumers without adding much value.
What is adaptive marketing?
Adaptive marketing is an approach that enables brands to create more personalized and authentic relationships with their customers, based on the feedback coming from various data points. It allows marketers to adapt not only their messaging but also the product and services. The reward? More sales, long-lasting loyalty, and sustainable growth.
What is psychographic branding?
Using psychometrics, the psychographic branding method can foresee how different personality types would interact with a brand and its product/service, create a mix of tailored micro-messages based on universal personality types, and bring a marketing strategy closer to the individual level.
Unlike most marketing tools designed to answer the standard questions (how, when, who, and what), psychographic branding can find answers to the question “Why?”. Without violating the privacy of people, it can be used in a good and ethical way in marketing by helping brands to define sub-target groups based on their personality type.
When integrated at a much deeper level inside a business, it can help create a bespoke marketing consistency that is almost exclusive to each sub-group, rather than a one-size-fits-all type.
How to use psychographic branding?
The way to build an adaptive marketing strategy with psychographic branding is a 2-step approach, in which you establish what your brand means to people and then deliver messages that they can easily receive and process.
1. Define your ‘brand meaning’
Every brand represents a common meaning to its audience and that meaning is actually the brand itself. Not your logo, not your experience, and not even your product － they are all just agents that remind people of what your brand means to them.
To find out what your brand meaning is, you have to understand why people use your product/service and how does it translate into their psychology.
A brand meaning is actually the ultimate value that you offer to your customers and how it makes them see you. If you are an accessory brand, selling expensive and high-quality shoes, your brand meaning could be ‘style-driven social status’. Or if you are a fin-tech company, providing people with a more transparent experience, it could be ‘personal control over finances’.
2. Tailor your message for each personality type
As I said, every brand represents a meaning to its audience. However, this audience can be divided into smaller groups that share a connection with a brand for different reasons, mainly affected by their personality type.
The personality type would give direction to how people receive and process your message to create this meaning and make their ultimate decisions － whether or not to trust and whether or not to buy.
According to the most commonly accepted psychometric tool DISC, there are 16 universal personalities: 4 primary and 12 combinations of these. To make things easier, we will focus on the 4 primary ones.
Dominant types tend to focus on results, ignore method, and want to make the final decision.
The way to attract these people is to embrace a direct approach, focusing on tangible aspects of your product.
Your strategy should embrace a direct communication style and ensure to keep things short in any form of content that is delivered to dominants. No process explanations, no exciting stories about how you will make the world a better place, etc. You can attract their attention by being direct.
Influencers get hyped by exciting visions of the future and like their environment to be positive.
This means that the use of negative messages to trigger fear, also known as scaremongering, may not work well on these people.
You should focus on things that they can achieve using your product or service and help them be a part of the bigger vision. They will only consider the price if they feel excited about your brand. Your strategy should include visual marketing tactics to help reinforce and clarify the messages and help influencers visualize the future in their minds.
The steady type likes a methodical course of action and looks for supportive, consistent, and loyal individuals.
When approaching the steady type, your brand needs to show some empathy and friendliness. Your strategy should allow you to avoid overwhelmingly-strong language. Try to build trust through warm and meaningful conversations. This type of audience could form a big part of your loyal customers.
The calculating type group usually consists of skeptical people, interested mainly in facts and figures, enjoying long, thorough analysis and prefer to avoid small talk.
That means, opposite to dominants, you have to provide them with as much information as you can, and enough space for them to analyze it.
They can quickly change their minds and it’s less likely that you can influence their decisions by interrupting their decision-making process. They like security, so giving assurances and evidence on the claims that your brand is making would be incredibly convincing. You should make sure that your messaging is reassuring and includes plenty of figures, facts, and statistics.
And here’s why it matters…
A smart marketing strategy should take into consideration and be adaptable to different personality types in order to attract more customers. This can be done thanks to the psychographic branding approach.
Once you adopt this method for your marketing strategy, you will soon start receiving feedback and insights that would help you understand which message drives more growth and adjust your messaging accordingly. Thanks to this adaptive psychographic method, you will also be able to determine what personality type dominates your audience.
This knowledge will allow you to:
- Adapt your product design and its features accordingly;
- Lower your market risks and costs;
- Avoid the risks of rebrand failures.
This is a much more human approach to marketing, which helps brands to treat their customers like individuals and not just a faceless mass called “the audience”. Your customers will surely notice and appreciate it, no matter what personality type they represent.
Image source: Jimmy Fermin