Can PR use Carl Jung’s Personality Types As A Marketing Tool?

Written by: Sonia Gupta, AAE of Bluestone Academy



As an ENFP (the Champion, according Jung), I am always making connections and seeing patterns between totally unrelated concepts in order to find better ways to do things. Lately, I have been thinking about how knowing Jung’s 16 personalities is basically a cheat-sheet for PR strategists.

His system organizes people based on how they receive, interpret, and make decisions from information given from the external world. Here is a 30 second summary to get you by for this article: people are either Introverted or Extroverted (energy from interaction with external world), Sensing or iNtuitive (facts come from face-value or patterns), Thinking or Feeling (decision making), and Judging or Perceiving (favor decisiveness or adaptability).  

This information on how their brain’s function can be applied to tailoring content and tactics to a segment or even different groups within a particular segment to see that the content really resonates with them.

myers-briggs-testDo the people in your segment trust the rules or do they want to stick it to the man (woo-hoo, ENFP)? Are they easy-going or super organized? Do they trust what is right in front of them or do they read between the lines? Do they prefer quiet time or want to be where the action is? Do they like the tried-and-true or are they always looking for the new thing? Are they always looking polished or do they look like they never quite finished getting dressed this morning? Are they following what others have done or do they evaluate against their own judgments?  

This is all vital information in profiling the culture you, as a PR professional, are catering to. I think that these concepts are the backbone to any type of our tactics and ploys because they show us what each type sees as trustworthy and self-similar content and source. That tells us what modes we should use and the moods we should set for our campaigns.

Nordstrom sells NARS and Estee Lauder cosmetics in the same place, but do you think the sweet ladies at Estee Lauder are lining up to buy the famous “perfect for every skin type” NARS Orgasm blush? NO. Everyone there obviously cares enough about their looks to drop $60 on a product that looks like it’s box can barely fit $50 bill inside it. It is easy to see who likes the classy or tried-and-true ways (who Jung labels Sentinels; SJ’s) and who favors challenging the system (Explorers; SP’s). Let’s also look at MAC, they are known for being very dramatic in their look (which appeals to those who prefer introverted feeling because they strive for self-authenticity; NF’s) yet named one of their lines the Barbie Edition.

This was a clever way to solidify the part of their market share that was not as edgy as the rest by playing to their nostalgia and sentiments of our culture (appealing to people who prefer their introverted sensing function which values tradition: SJ’s).

See how both types are equally dedicated to their make up and have same amount of disposal income yet are easily turned-off by each other’s core values (at a level they are not aware of unless they took the test also)? As an NF, seeing “because everyone else loves it/traditional/American” at the heart of the campaign will be an instinctual loser in my book before I’m fully aware of why. Where as SJ’s will instinctually appreciate the message of stability in that campaign because they will see “classy/lady-like/traditional/respectable.”

I know what some of you are thinking, “Freud gets sex, he is the only important guy,” but people forget that Freud TOLD us that psychoanalysis exists and it was Jung who fine-tuned what most of that sex stuff meant and tried to get Freud’s mind out of the gutter a little. He is also a main leader in analytical psychology. You studied his concepts of archetypes and a hero’s journey in your English-Lit class, you just did not realize it. Safe to say, you can trust this guy.       

So, being the “Campaigner/Motivator” type that thinks like Robert Downey Jr., Jennifer Aniston, and Dr. Seuss (yes, my people are awesome and VERY quirky), I have been wondering for a long time why PR does not utilize psychology and even anthropology as part of sizing up the target group before talks of the strategy even is. Jung’s personality-types work alone shows an awesome blueprint of individuals within the subculture of the targeted group.

Understanding that what individuals instinctually see as accountable, trustworthy, and valuable is actually ingrained into their particular prototype is at play with what forms of information are seen trustworthy, if they comprehend the information at face value or see a bigger picture, they are planners or impulsive, evaluate information against the norm or themselves, natural leaders or followers, live in the moment or live in their head, warm or aloof, sentimental or innovative, and how they see themselves compared to other people. I think I owe Jung a thank you for cutting my PR research for my next campaign in half.    


Carl Jung

Jung’s Theory of Temperaments


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