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  • Jesse Basset

What brands can learn from New Year’s Resolutions

Updated: Jan 26



Many people fail in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions as the weeks pass and old behaviours return - this is an example of a more general failure to stick to well-intentioned plans. There is a good psychological reason for this failure. By setting themselves goals that go against the grain of their personality they have set up themselves to fail, even before they begin.


The same is true of brands looking to influence consumer behaviour. If they can build on and not conflict with personality types, they are more likely to convince people to buy their brand - this is because the brand has tapped into deeper motivations.


It could be a sports brand promoting running, but the audience might be those more interested in general fitness, competitiveness, or even social activity - different personality types have different motivations for running. For this reason, different communications are needed for each personality type in order for brands to maximise marketing and sales effectiveness.

For newbie runners who may be feeling nervous about setting out on their new activity, you can set them a clear first goal. Run your first full mile this month - keep it small and manageable, and maybe start with running to the end of the road, and then the next road, and so on, until a full mile is achieved.


Knowing the personality-based motivational structure of the target audience should inform marketing. For example:

  • Agreeable people respond best to cues of social harmony; they value being around affable people and activities. For this personality type, a brand could communicate that running brings out the positive side of life, as you feel better and act better when you exercise.

  • Sociable/extraverted people will want to feel part of a social group (whether actual or imagined) - they are motivated and rewarded by other people and they abhor isolation. So advertising that they can become part of a running community would appeal to them.

  • Conscientious people welcome challenging goals, as they allow them to come up with a detailed plan of action which they find most motivating. They would respond well to a brand setting and helping track a training schedule that matches their ability and the time they have available.

  • High openness to experience people are motivated by intellectual stimulation and the exploration of novel experiences - as they get easily bored with the more practical aspects of everyday life, their curiosity needs feeding. A brand could urge them to run somewhere different today, whether it be a different part of town or some countryside they’ve never visited before.

Not knowing the personality and related motivation of the target audience is overlooking crucial information and insight - now, why would any brand really want to do that?


At Well Behaved we have tools and techniques rooted in science that can determine your target audience’s personality type and help you shape communications that drive lasting change. By running detailed factor analyses we can determine your audiences’ personality in relation to the brand and category. We can then audit you and your competitor marketing activity to see which behavioural nudges are most applicable to drive change which leads to your brand being noticed and purchased. We can help you ensure that when people resolve to make a change and buy your brand, they are in it for the long haul.




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