On Consumers:

A new bivariate model of consumer perspective

Here's a quick thought, inspired by recent research into the testosterone-estrogen and dopamine-serotonin systems in the brain. The research was performed through the lens of interpersonal attraction and proposes four hormonal systems (occupying two categories) which influence attraction. 

This research is ripe for application to other areas beyond attraction, for two reasons. Firstly, humans quite often anthropomorphize the things around them, and thus laws of attraction could be applied to anything that a person can anthropomorphize. Secondly, the specific mechanism through which the four attractive systems operate is unknown; it may naturally extend far beyond attraction already. 

Without rolling the dice on the mechanism, I used the first line of reasoning to break down consumer perspectives of products into two bimodal variables. This is a happy union, because consumers are courted by companies, who play the role of "partner" here. Consumers also seek out attractive products on their own, making this a fair analogy to a romantic pursuit between two people. 

Obviously, this model best applies to sectors such as entertainment, wherein the product could be an actual person. Products which are less "alive" may have more hocus-pocus to do to ensure that all variables are covered. Or, if points of contact are ever studied in the future (to measure the cognitive topology of the subject of attraction), perhaps exactly the opposite will be true. Perhaps a product without an inherent nature on this bivariate spectrum will have an easier time passing as something it's not. 

So what is the bivariate model? I approximated the dopamine and serotonin systems as assertiveness and passivity, respectively. I then approximated the testosterone and estrogen systems as objectification and subjectification, respectively. These two categories work independently and simultaneously to form a quadrant. 

In the study on human attraction, it was emphasized that each category of hormone can be expressed as a spectrum. However, to maximize a product's surface area on the quadrant, I considered each as a binary variable. Therefore, a consumer can be assertive-objectifying, passive-objectifying, assertive-subjectifying, and passive-subjectifying. An assertive consumer exerts themselves on a product, and is more likely to think of a product as a tool to be used. A passive consumer receives experiences given off by the product with minimal input. An objectifying consumer will dissociate a product's context, including its history, from its function. He will not hesitate to consume a product where it doesn't typically "belong" and ignore the product's guidelines, history, and intention. A subjectifying consumer will value a product for its context and consider the intentions behind the product. She will use a product when and where it resonates with its intended use, and she will view the product as intentionally-crafted and possessing origins and a future. 

Therefore a passive-objectifying consumer may view a car as a means to get around, and is most likely to use an app like Uber or Lyft. An assertive-objectifying consumer may enjoy driving the car for the sensation that it brings or the utilities it offers. A passive-subjectifying consumer may enjoy watching NASCAR races or car shows. And an assertive-subjectifying consumer may enjoy collecting rare cars. These four types mark the edge-cases of the quadrants; a full analysis would involve quantifying each variable, parsing compound products (products within products, like merchandise for a basketball team which also has a famous player on it), and so forth. However, the edge-cases are useful tests to maximize potential: if a consumer of each category would enjoy the product, then the product is unrestricted by a consumer's demeanor. 

Of course, the telescope looks both ways. If a consumer is aware of their placement on the axes, they can seek out products that fit their demeanor. We may all have a "type" in far more than romantic partners. And it may be no coincidence that certain genres of music do well on streaming platforms, which lean toward passive consumers, than did well on active media such as CD and tape cassette.