WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.
Both brands and individuals have personality styles. These are defined by methodology like Myers-Briggs, HBDI, DISK, and a whole alphabet soup of other instruments. But a big part of it comes down to sensitivity vs. insensitivity and emotional vs. rational.
Everyone has the tendency to overvalue one’s own personality and undervalue the personalities of others. Without getting into the argument over whether one personality is actually superior to another (even though I would love to got there some time), it is unfruitful to think of them in superiority | inferiority terms. It is, however, useful to know how to read personality styles and how to communicate with them. This, in fact, is one of the signs of emotional maturity.
Most really good creatives are emotional creatures. Many successful business people are rational creatures. This creates a potential conflict. The way to get the best out of the best creatives is to communicate in ways that rational types consider foolishness. Rather than, “that won’t work,” it may be better to say something like, “I LOVE the look of that. I’d be curious about your thinking behind it. But I’m not really sure it will achieve our objective.”
For creatives, it’s important to get out of the mindset of an artist and into the mindset of a business person (this is easy, since we are superior people to whom empathy comes naturally). Rather than saying, “This is so cool, it will blow you away,” it may be better to say something like, “Considering your objective of appealing to moms of small children, this appeals to the conflicting maternal and sensual influences that could make for a really hip ad, that reaches her on both an emotional and rational level.”
Our old pal, Mike Mondado, used to talk about selling to the various personalities.
To a classic executive, it’s three bullets points and a bottom line. “It does this, this, and this, which are things you asked for, and it costs this…with life-cycle cost of this.”
To an administrative type, it’s reassurance that it “fits” in their system. “It will be delivered via UPS, on tuesday, will come in its own case, that fits in the second shelf of the tech closet, and we will send you a reminder email for re-orders every three months.”
For social | musical types, it’s…um…social and musical. “Everybody you know is using this. And they love it. You’ll be the first on your block, and they will think you’re awesome.”
And for conceptual types it’s, “This is the coolest thing ever.”
Mike used to say he could read a prospect’s personality by his | her wristwatch. Shoes are a tell too.
There’s a lot to say about personalities. I could go on. But I’m not gonna. At least not today.