Understanding Your Audience Using Personality Type

understanding your audience using temperament

Understanding Your Audience Using Personality Type

In 1998, David Keirsey introduced the book Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, a look into the psychology of personality. Since it’s release, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has become one of the most popular personality tests in the world. It’s used by millions of businesses and individuals around the world to help them better understand their personality and the personalities of their coworkers, friends, and family members. 

While the MBTI is made up of 16 personality types, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter simplifies the system by sorting the personalities into four groups, or temperaments: rationals, idealists, guardians, and artisans. As a marketer or blogger, it’s important to know the personality of your audience in order to produce the most effective content for them.

Rationals

Who they are: Rational people are all about strategy. They love anything that they can dissect, examine, and improve. Around 15% of the population falls into the category, but rational types are most commonly found in the fields of science and technology.

What they want: Logic. They seek information that is going to help them solve problems and are drawn to systems. At the same time their thinking is abstract, so they’re also drawn to concepts and ideas.

How to talk to them: Rationals are logical people, so you’ll need logical facts in order to convince them to try your product or service or consume your content. They value efficiency and are drawn to new and intriguing ideas that promote simplified solutions to complex problems. But they aren’t easily won over by salesman charm and flashy new products — they also want to know all the facts and details before making a decision.

Idealists

Who they are: Like rationals, idealists are abstract thinkers, but instead of systems they prefer to focus on relationships. They are diplomatic and future-oriented. They make-up 17% of the population but are heavily seen in non-profits, education, and advocacy groups.

What they want: Meaning. Idealists are on a constant conquest to understand themselves and the world around them. They want to know that what they’re doing has a purpose and will ultimately benefit the world in some way. They’re drawn to concepts and ideas and aren’t as concerned with concrete facts and figures.

How to talk to them: Idealists are quick to see past inauthentic, business talk. They want personal and authentic communication. They are often touched by cause-related efforts and attracted to content that evokes emotion.

Understanding Your Audience Using Personality Type

Guardians

Who they are: Unlike rationals and idealists, guardians are focused on the here-and-now and take pride in contributing to society and implementing rules, systems, and regulations. They make up nearly half (46%) of the population and are often in professions such as teaching, law enforcement, and business management.

What they want: Security. Nothing is more important to a guardian type than to know that they are able to provide for themselves and their families. They also want to feel like they have an established place in society and have confidence in their professional abilities.

How to talk to them: Guardians are concrete thinkers and communicators, so the best way to communicate with them is by providing as many factual details as possible to help them in the decision-making process. They are detail-oriented individuals, so it’s important to be able to know how to answer all the questions they may have.

Artisans

Who they are: Artisans are the quintessential live-in-the-moment types. They seek action, adventure, and any type of sensory stimulation. They are often social, spontaneous, and adaptable. They make up 22% of the population and are often in professions such as entertainment, sports, and sales.

What they want: Excitement. They want to know that whatever they spend their time and energy on is going to stimulate their senses. Easily bored, artisans often keep busy with many hobbies and interests outside of family and work, such as music, art, and exercise.

How to talk to them: Don’t tell them how your product or business is the best for them, show them. Artisans are the most hands-on of the four temperaments, so to really persuade you’ll need to physically show them how the product works, or let them test it out for themselves.

What temperament best fits your own personality? What about the majority of your audience? Do you take personality type into consideration when creating content for your brand?

13 Comments
  • Marlene
    Posted at 16:44h, 18 April Reply

    I think this will help me find my audience. Right now I am trying to build one from the ground up. Thanks for sharing this

    • Megan
      Posted at 16:52h, 18 April Reply

      Glad that it will help! Thanks for reading!

  • Holly merritt
    Posted at 16:55h, 18 April Reply

    I have always loved learning new ways of relating to and communicating with others. As a social worker, I use it daily. I appreciate your insight here, thanks for sharing!

  • Shannon Burlingame
    Posted at 17:09h, 18 April Reply

    This is really interesting! I’ve heard of different personality types and how to find yours but I never thought of applying it to my blogs audience. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing! Looks like I’ve got some work ahead of me! 🙂

    • Megan
      Posted at 17:14h, 18 April Reply

      Thanks! It’s definitely something worth considering when researching your audience! I think it’s really interesting how you see more similar personality types in different career fields, etc.

  • Christine
    Posted at 17:32h, 18 April Reply

    I love this personality stuff!! There is a great book, Keys to Personal Success True colors, by Don Lowry, that I would recommend that fits in with your post. I created a professional development workshop for teachers based on this book, to help teachers better know themselves, their colleagues and their students. One of my favorite reads! Thanks for sharing your post. Love it!!!

    • Megan
      Posted at 17:35h, 18 April Reply

      I agree it’s so fascinating. I’ve read a few other personality theory books but Please Understand Me II is my favorite so far. I’ll definitely have to check out the one you recommended!

  • Whimsy
    Posted at 18:15h, 18 April Reply

    Such awesome advice, I love it! I needed this, thank you!

  • stephanie ziemer
    Posted at 18:16h, 18 April Reply

    Insightful post. Very interesting! I would say I’m an Artisan with a dash of Guardian and Rational thrown in. I would venture to guess the majority of my audience falls into the Artisan category. Makes sense that a large company with a similar customer base just released an interactive app where customers can see how a Vintage Light or sofa will look in their space. Thank you for the post!

    • Megan
      Posted at 18:28h, 18 April Reply

      Wow, that’s a great example of a company really understanding their customers’ personalities and needs!

  • McKayla Butcher
    Posted at 18:25h, 18 April Reply

    Great post! I love to learn about different personaility types! It’s crazy how different people are from one another.

  • Lucie
    Posted at 04:36h, 19 April Reply

    Recently, I’ve done MBTI test and it’s a game changer. Anyway, how could you find out which of these types is common in your audience? Thanks.

    Lucie | http://www.inbluebox.com

    • Megan
      Posted at 14:47h, 19 April Reply

      Hey, Lucie! It was a game changer for me as well. You could send out a survey to your audience to gauge personality preferences. You can also get a better understanding by talking to them on social media and looking at what kind of content they’re engaging with most. If you’re still building your audience, you can focus on whatever types best fit your niche by connecting with them where they already are and creating and sharing content relevant to their interests.

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