Fizziology employs Watson linguistic analysis to match endorsing athletes’ personalities with brands’

The matchmaking is based on social posts by brand advocates and by the athletes themselves.

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If you’re looking for a soulmate, personality matching via a dating site is one way to better the odds of compatibility.

And, if you’re a marketer interested in finding a good fit for your brand, social media research firm Fizziology has released results of its effort with the omni-resourceful IBM Watson to similarly employ personality matching between professional athlete endorsers and shoe/apparel brands.

How the personality matching works. In Fizziology’s endeavor, which it says is the first brand-to-celebrity matching employing the supercomputer’s linguistic analysis, Watson examines the social media posts of a given brand’s fans to determine the personality traits they assign to the brand, as well as the traits indicated by the athletes’ own posts. In both cases, the posts were made to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

While PR agents might generate all or some of the athletes’ posts, the idea is that the resulting declarations represent the image the athlete wants to present. The social media posts are unsolicited, consist of more than just athlete or brand mentions, and are positive in tone.

Watson Personality Insights, a linguistic analysis technology, categorizes the posts by several metrics. One category is Needs, which are those aspects of a celebrity or brand likely to resonate with a consumer, such as Closeness, Curiosity, Self-Expression and Harmony. Values are factors motivating a fan’s decision making, and then there are the Big 5 characteristics of personality traits: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Emotional Range and Openness.

Watson then matches the two personality types, in the hopes of creating a lasting endorsement marriage. The key question for the brand, according to Fizziology EVP/GM Rich Calabrese: Will the person the brand is signing connect with our brand advocates?

The match-ups. The results have been summarized in a free report from Fizziology, “Uncovering Brand Endorsers through Personality Analysis.”

Four brands were analyzed (Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour) and seven NBA players (Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Andrew Wiggins, Demarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward and Kelly Oubre Jr.) During the analysis period — February through August of this year — all seven had shoe and apparel deals coming up for re-negotiation.

Here’s a summary table of the resulting matchup, with 2 athletes aligned with each brand except Under Armour, which got one:


The study is intended as a case study of how Watson’s analysis can be used for this purpose. Calabrese said there is not yet evidence that this approach provides a better fit between athletes and the brands, and, to his knowledge, it has not been used by a brand to explicitly make its decision.

Why this matters to marketers. Connecting social influencers and celebrity endorsers to brands has become a major part of marketing, but much of the previous analysis has been based on audience reach — that is, the number of followers — and engagement metrics.

The matching between these two brands – influencer/celebrity and product maker – has been more seat-of-pants, sometimes by looking at previous interests or endorsement work of the person. If Watson or other analysis can reliably match personalities based on social posts, the selection process could become more routine but more accurate.

At the very least, marketers could fashion specific marketing that is geared to the perceived personality traits of the brand.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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