We know relevance resonates. Content that addresses each audience interest, persona and situation performs better than generic content. So why not create content based on personality profiles?
My first “real job” (working since age 9) was for ADP. One year later I moved into sales. I had a good intuitive sense for my buyers. I could read their personality and peculiarities. But I had no idea how to use that information to help me sell.
My manager introduced me to DISC. DISC is one of many personality assessment models. The initial DISC model comes from Dr. William Marston, a physiological psychologist, in a book entitled Emotions of Normal People, published in 1928.
DISC Personality Model
This model uses four dimensions to characterize people:
I use DISC to quickly assess the person I’m meeting based on behaviors, speech patterns, and even their setting if I’m meeting in their office. It works, even within a few minutes. Then, it gives me ways to respond or handle situations that occur.
One advantage is its simplicity. This makes it a practical tool for sales people.
I developed a tool I use to this day to help me do this (graphic). I use this checklist to listen for personality indicators. It informs my communication. My checklist suggests words and phrases to use and avoid. I find it helps my sales conversations. People seem to feel more comfortable when I’m able to apply this. I avoid conversational pitfalls more often.
It’s important to be clear about the differences across personas, personality profiles and personal (or personalization).
Personas are a composite of characteristics of a group or type of individual.
Personality relates to behavioral characteristics and tendencies of a specific individual. Personal is even more specific. It relates to situational interests and priorities of that individual.
Said differently, in the real world, personas will be comprised of people with any of the 4 DISC personality profiles. Each personality will have different personal characteristics and interests.
Today I’m starting to create content using personality profiles on prospects. I get excellent guidance from the app, Crystal.
Crystal creates unique personality profiles for people with an online presence. This helps you speak or write in someone’s natural communication style.
Crystal is a plugin that leverages social profile information. It works inside LinkedIn, Gmail, Salesforce, Outlook and other applications.
When I select a contact in LinkedIn, the Crystal profile loads right at the top. It gives me their personality profile and characteristics, and more.
Email is the content I’m applying personality profiles to first.
Email is an important content type. We are forced too much to engage and communicate through email. Audiences are overwhelmed by it. If you’re not well known to buyers, only really effective emails work.
A quick check to Crystal helps me become aware of the personality of the person I’m emailing, or about to speak with. I like this checkpoint as a reminder of this consideration.
As I write an email in Gmail or Outlook, it suggests specific words to use and not to use.
This isn’t a promo for Crystal. Go here to see and learn more. This is an example of how the analytics trend is rapidly bringing new capabilities to improve content relevance. Today in email. Tomorrow?
Create Relevant Content Based on Personality Profiles
What does it mean to create content based on personality profiles? What does it take?
In any communication it’s useful to distinguish “what to say” (message points), from “how to say it” (language, tone, approach). Relevance benefits from getting both right.
Personal relevance requires specific understanding of each individual and informs what-to-say:
- Issues or interests
- Goals or objectives
- Motivations or incentives
Personality based relevance informs how to say it elements:
- Language and tone
Here’s an example. Referencing my DISC checklist and Crystal, I know different approaches to take for my email for each personality type:
Dominance — incredibly short, outcomes focused, actionable
Influence — short, fun tone, image oriented, new or different,
Steadiness — story language and tone, everyone will like it, easy to adopt
Consciousness — fact based approach, inform, provide access to more information
Learning and practice improve the ability to language to each personality type.
Why is This Important?
Today, personality profile tools like Crystal are a level one implementation of this idea. They show up in LinkedIn, Gmail, Outlook and Salesforce. They’re a good start.
Where might this lead?
The ability to provide relevance deeper guidance for all types of content? Integration within marketing automation and the ability to trigger more targeted responses to initial audience engagement? Another opportunity to differentiate and gain competitive advantage?
Here’s the rub. Technology is almost always ahead of people’s capacity to leverage it effectively:
- If you don’t know how to create content based on personality, this capability won’t help.
- If you don’t know how to create source content as modular, configurable elements, you won’t leverage this capability effectively.
- There’s a lot to learn. It will take time and experience to develop this competency.
- It will require different thinking, and a different approach to how you create content.
Those who neglect this may find themselves in the content equivalent of the expression: “the person who knows how to read but won’t is no better off than the person who doesn’t know how to read.”