Personalized persuasion: tailoring persuasive appeals to recipients' personality traits

Psychol Sci. 2012 Jun;23(6):578-81. doi: 10.1177/0956797611436349. Epub 2012 Apr 30.


Persuasive messages are more effective when they are custom-tailored to reflect the interests and concerns of the intended audience. Much of the message-framing literature has focused on the advantages of using either gain or loss frames, depending on the motivational orientation of the target group. In the current study, we extended this research to examine whether a persuasive appeal's effectiveness can be increased by aligning the message framing with the recipient's personality profile. For a single product, we constructed five advertisements, each designed to target one of the five major trait domains of human personality. In a sample of 324 survey respondents, advertisements were evaluated more positively the more they cohered with participants' dispositional motives. These results suggest that adapting persuasive messages to the personality traits of the target audience can be an effective way of increasing the messages' impact, and highlight the potential value of personality-based communication strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality*
  • Persuasive Communication*