Part 3: Planning messages
Psychographics refer to all the psychological variables that combine to form a person’s inner self. Even if two people share the same demographic or geographic characteristics, they may still hold entirely different ideas and values that define them personally and socially. Some of these differences are explained by looking at the psychographic characteristics that define them. Psychographic variables include:
Motives – an internal force that stimulates someone to behave in a particular manner. A person has media consumption motives and buying motives. A motive for watching television may be to escape; a motive for choosing to watch a situation comedy rather than a police drama may be the audience member’s need to laugh rather than feel suspense and anxiety.
Attitudes – a learned predisposition, a feeling held toward an object, person, or idea that leads to a particular behaviour. Attitudes are enduring; they are positive or negative, affecting likes and dislikes. A strong positive attitude can make someone very loyal to a brand (one person is committed to the Mazda brand so they will only consider Mazda models when it is time to buy a new car). A strong negative attitude can turn an audience member away from a message or product (someone disagrees with the political slant of Fox News and decides to watch MSNBC instead).
Personalities – a collection of traits that make a person distinctive. Personalities influence how people look at the world, how they perceive and interpret what is happening around them, how they respond intellectually and emotionally, and how they form opinions and attitudes.
Lifestyles – these factors form the mainstay of psychographic research. Lifestyle research studies the way people allocate time, energy and money.
This chapter is an adaptation of Chapter 4.7 “Audience segments: Psychographics” in Information Strategies for Communicators by K. Hansen and N. Paul and is used under CC-BY 4.0 International license.