The Value of Personality Open Ends

Shakespeare once wrote “What is in a name?” If we had to answer him, we’d tell him “if it’s a brand name, it’s everything.” Remember the Cola Wars and the Pepsi Challenge? Baylor University did and in 2004 they did a more scientific taste test using a machine to monitor brain activity. When respondents didn’t know whether they were drinking Coke or Pepsi, they were equally likely to pick Coke or Pepsi as their favorite. For these respondents, the brand name would have been the only differentiator.

However, when they tested two samples, both filled with Coke, respondents preferred the sample that was labeled Coke over the unlabeled sample. They also noticed that the part of the brain that responds to rewards lit up, and other regions involving memory and cognitive control lit as well, when respondents were drinking the labeled Coke. This indicates that the brand name has established itself as a specific identity in the minds of consumers.

Neuro-science can help us identify when consumers are excited, but we still need to talk to people to figure out why. To understand a brand’s essence, we recommend a throwback … we ask respondents to think outside the box and qualitatively describe a brand, product, or retailer as a person. It’s the easiest way to understand the brand’s definition away from the product’s attributes.

We don’t stop there. We’re always sure to probe individual personality attributes to delve into whether the personality of your brand helps create a connection with your customers. We may even probe to tie traits back to the functional or emotional benefits of your brand, creating a laddering effect and figure out what attributes drive the strongest and most meaningful emotional connections.

We think this is the simplest way of communicating in the language of your customer and truly understanding your brand identity.


  • Andrea Joss

    Andrea loves Quester – and not just like she loves ice cream – real love, in her heart. To AJ, Quester is special because it’s full of people with giant brains who care deeply about their work and each other. Every day is different, there’s always something going on and there are always big ideas. AJ also feels it’s important to note that the people of Quester are - individually and collectively - hilarious.As Senior Vice President of Research, she makes sure that the work we do is great, that we stay creative in our designs and tools, that our approaches are top notch, and that we have all of the fun (and also snacks. Including ice cream).AJ’s fun fact is that she has four kids who are seventeen years apart in age – she finds them unique, inspiring and amazing and she will absolutely tell you all about them whenever she sees you (glad you asked!). She also has a fantastic husband who lets her pretend to be the nice one but is really the most patient man in the Greater Metro Area. She secretly aspires to write a novel in her free time, but watches Property Brothers instead.

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