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American Psychographic: the US VALS

Harry Caufield

At Scott's suggestion, I added the US VALS Survey to my list of personal assessments today.

This survey is intended to be a psychographic test for different market segments. It ends up a bit more like an MBTI in that its questions address dichotomies and the final product is a particular classification. It's a short survey and not terribly satisfying. Here's my result:

Diamonds: they're like squares, from a New Angle.™

Diamonds: they're like squares, from a New Angle.

I'm primarily an Innovator and secondarily an Achiever. According to the market segments, this means my life is characterized by variety and my favorite things are the following:

  • A rewarding experience
  • Problem solving
  • Personal challenges
  • Authentic products
  • Recognition and rewards
  • Peer-group acceptance
  • Material possessions
  • Rules following that leads to success

So what does this tell me? At first glance, not much, as the survey is intended to categorize people rather than psychoanalyze them or inventory all their motivations. It does tell me how others (in this context, marketers, but perhaps everyday contacts as well) may see me. 

I know that some of these traits apply to me and others don't. I enjoy new experiences, problem solving, and challenges. Recognition and rewards are appreciated but usually not my primary motivation. The same goes for material possessions: I tend to use things until they break and stuff doesn't motivate me. If someone gets the impression that I'm a bona-fide Achiever, will their assumptions about me match the truth? Will those assumptions influence their relationship with me? Let's just predict No and Yes. I'll have to make up the difference through my own actions.