CONSUMER PERSONALITY, TRAIT THEORY AND SELF IMAGES CHAPTER 5:

INDIVIDUAL DETERMINANTS OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

Understanding:

  • Consumer purchase as a reflection of Consumer Personality
  • Trait theory
  • Self Image

consumer psychology psychology  CONSUMER PERSONALITY, TRAIT THEORY AND SELF IMAGES CHAPTER 5:

Consumer Researchers who apply Freud’s psychoanalytic theory to the study of consumer personality believe that human drives are largely unconscious. Consumers are primarily unaware of their true reasons for buying what they buy. These researchers tend to see that consumer purchase and/or consumption situations as extension of consumer’s personality. Consumer’s appearance and possessions – grooming, clothing, jewelry, etc reflect the individual’s personality.

A Research Study

  • By: Alan Hirsch (Naperville, H. Sourcebooks 2001)
  • Title: What flavor is your personality
  • Conducted on: 19,000 consumers
  • Examines: The link between snack food perceptions and personality traits

Findings of the research


consumer psychology psychology  CONSUMER PERSONALITY, TRAIT THEORY AND SELF IMAGES CHAPTER 5:

Snack Foods Personality Traits
Potato Chips Ambitious, successful, high achiever, impatient with less than the best
Tortilla Chips Perfectionist, high expectations, punctual, conservative, responsible
Pretzels Lively, easily bored with same old routine, flirtatious, intuitive, may over
commit to projects
Snack Crackers Rational, logical, contemplative, shy, prefers time alone
Cheese Curls Conscientious, principled, proper, fair, may appear rigid, but has great
integrity, plans ahead, loves order
Nuts Easygoing, empathetic, understanding, calm, even tempered.
Popcorn Takes charge, pitches in often, modest, self conscious, but not a show off
Meat Snacks Gregarious, generous, trustworthy, tends to be overly trusting

consumer psychology psychology  CONSUMER PERSONALITY, TRAIT THEORY AND SELF IMAGES CHAPTER 5:

A personality theory with a primarily empirical/quantitative orientation. It focuses upon the measurement of personality in terms of specific psychological characteristics called traits

Trait

Trait is a distinguished relatively enduring way in which one individual differs from another. Trait theorists are concerned with construction of personality tests (or inventories) that enable them to pinpoint individual differences in terms of specific traits.

Single Trait Personality Tests

Single Trait Personality Tests measure just one trait (such as Self confidence) that are often developed specifically for use in Consumer Behavior studies.

These tailor made personality tests measure such traits as:

  • Consumer Innovativeness: how receptive a person is to new ideas
  • Consumer Materialism: the degree of consumer’s attachment to worldly possessions
  • Consumer Ethnocentrism: The consumer’s likelihood to accept or reject foreign products (Pakistan example)

Does personality link to how consumers make their choices and to the purchase of a brand product category rather than a specific brand? Researchers have found that personality links to how consumers make their choices and to the purchase of a brand product category rather than a specific brand.

Example

Research Study By: Gwen Carden (Naperville, H. Sourcebooks 2001) Title: Your favorite reveals your personality Published: Stone City journal, January 2, 2001) Conducted on: 1,000 US adults Examines: The link between favorite and personality traits

Findings of the Research

consumer psychology psychology  CONSUMER PERSONALITY, TRAIT THEORY AND SELF IMAGES CHAPTER 5:

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP LOVERS

  • Watch a lot of TV
  • Family oriented
  • Great sense of humor
  • Outgoing and loyal
  • Like daytime talk shows

TOMATO SOUP LOVERS

  • Passionate about reading
  • Love Pets
  • Like meeting people for coffee
  • Aren’t usually the life of a party

Brand/Product Personality

Consumers attribute various descriptive personalities like traits or characteristics to different brands in a wide variety of product category

consumer psychology psychology  CONSUMER PERSONALITY, TRAIT THEORY AND SELF IMAGES CHAPTER 5:

Consumers have a variety of enduring self images about themselves. The self images or perceptions about self are closely associated with personality in that individuals tend to buy product and services and patronize retailers whose images or personalities relate in some meaningful ways to their own personalities

The Makeup of Self Image

Each individual has an image of himself/herself as a certain kind of person, with certain traits, skills, habits, possessions, relationships and ways of behaving. The individual’s self image is unique – the outgrowth of a person’s background and experiences

Development of Self Image

Individuals develop their self images through their interactions with other people – initially their interaction with their parents and then with other individuals and groups with whom they relate over the years

Historically individuals have been thought to have single self image and to be interested in products and services that satisfy the single self

Our Multiple Selves

A single individual is likely to act differently in different situations with different people. A variety of different self images have been recognized in the consumer behavior literature for a long time:

  • Actual Self Image
  • Ideal Self Image
  • Social Self Image
  • Ideal Social Self Image

Actual Self Image

How consumers actually see themselves

Ideal Self Image

How consumers would like to see themselves

Social Self Image

How consumers feel other see them

Ideal Social Self Image

How consumers would like others to see them

Expected Self

How consumers expect to see themselves in at some specified future time (somewhere between the actual self image and the ideal self image)

Ought To Be Self

Consists of traits or characteristics that an individual believes it is his/her duty or obligation to possess

Marketing Contexts and Self Images

In different contexts consumers might select a different self image to guide their attitudes or behavior. For some actual house hold product consumers might be guided by their actual self image. For some socially enhancing or socially conspicuous product they might be guided by their social self image. When it comes to personal appearance they might be guided by their ideal self images

Self Image and Marketing Concept

The concept of self image has strategic implications for marketers: They can market their products on the basis relevant consumer self images, position their products or services as symbols of such self images. Such a strategy is fully consistent with the marketing concept. Marketer first assesses the needs of consumer segments (with respect to both a product category and to an appropriate symbol of self image) and then proceeds to develop and market a product or service that meets both the criteria.

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