Consumer Psychology

Smart Psych: Twitter Trait Tattoos and The Future of Advertising (Infographic)

What’s your ‘Trait Tattoo’?

I’m a i120-O80-C41-E83-A63-N1. And that means I’m likely to be influenced by ads for BMW’s latest Mini.

But Twitter probably knows that already.

Your ‘trait tattoo‘ is simply your psychological profile on the  ‘Big Five‘ personality dimensions (the standard Five Factor OCEAN model (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism) preceded by your IQ). And new software developed by IBM now predicts the trait tattoo of your personality based on your public tweets (building on similar research at Cambridge University and on Facebook, Facebook Likes and blogs).

What brands and advertisers need to do now is combine IBM’s new software with insights from the psychology of signalling (we signal our personality through our purchases), to create a potentially very powerful solution for ad personalisation and targeting.

In essence, all that needs to be done is use elementary projective techniques to measure the trait tattoos of brands, and plug those into IBM’s software that predicts trait tattoos from tweets and target accordingly.

Will it work? Well measure your own trait tattoo here, and then see if it predicts which car brands you like from the list below (from Dr. G. Miller. psychologist and author of Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior)…

  • High Intelligence: Acura, Audi, BMW, Lexus, Infinit, Smart, Subaru, Volkswagen
  • Low Intelligence: Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hummer
  • High Openness: Lotus, Mini, Scion, Subaru
  • Low Openness: Buick, Lincoln, Oldsmobile, Range Rover, Rolls Royce
  • High Conscientiousness: Acura, Honda, Lexus, Volvo, Toyota
  • Low Conscientiousness: Ferrari, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Pontiac
  • High Extraversion: Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Mini, Porsche
  • Low Extraversion: Acura, Hyundai, Lexus, Saab, Subaru, Volvo
  • High Agreeableness: Acura, Daewoo, Geo, Kia, Saturn
  • Low Agreeableness: BMW, Hummer, Maserati, Mercedes, Nissan
  • High Neuroticism: Volkswagen, Volvo
  • Low Neuroticism: Acura, Porsche, Scion


Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

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