Marketing – Role of personality & self concept


Each person has personality characteristics that influence his or her buying behavior. By personality, we mean a set of distinguishing human psychological traits that lead to relatively consistent and enduring responses to environmental stimuli. Personality is often described in terms of such traits as self-confidence, dominance, autonomy, deference, sociability, defensiveness, and adaptability. Personality can be useful variable in analyzing consumer brand choices.

The idea is that brands also have personalities, and consumers are likely to choose brands whose personalities match their own. We define brand personality as the specific mix of human traits that may be attributed to a particular brand.

Stanford’s Jennifer Aaker conducted research into brand personalities and identified the following five traits:

1. Sincerity (down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, and cheerful)

2. Excitement (daring, spirited, imaginative, and up-to-date.)

3. Competence(reliable, intelligent, and successful)

4. Sophistication (upper-class and charming)

5. Ruggedness(outdoorsy and tough)

She proceeded to analyze some well-known brands and found that a number of them tended to be strong on one particular trait: Levi’s with “Ruggedness�; MTV with “excitement “; CNN with “competence�; and Campbell’s with “sincerity.�

The implication is that these brands will attract persons who are high on the same personality traits. A brand personality may have several attributes: Levi’s suggests a personality that is also youthful, rebellious, authentic, and American. The company utilizes product features, services, and image making to transmit the product’s personality.

Lifestyles and Values:

People from the same subculture, social class, and occupation may lead quite different lifestyles. A lifestyle is a person’s pattern of living in the world as expressed in activities, interest, and opinions. Lifestyle portrays the ‘whole person’ interacting with his or her environment. Marketers search for relationship between theIr products and lifestyle groups. For example, a computer manufacture might find that most computer buyers are achievement oriented. The marketer may then aim the brand more clearly at the achiever lifestyle. Marketers are always uncovering new trends in consumer lifestyles. Here’s an example of one of the latest lifestyle trends businesses are currently targeting:

Consumers who worry about the environment, wants product to be produced in a sustainable way, and spend money to advance their personal development and potential.

Life styles are shaped partly by whether consumers are money constrained or time constrained. Companies aiming to serve money constrained consumers will create lower-cost products and services. By appealing to the money constrained, Wal-Mart has become the largest company in the World. Its “everyday low prices� have wrung tens of billions of dollars out of the retail supply chain, passing the larger part of savings along to shoppers with rock-bottom bargain prices.

Consumers who experience time famine are prone to multitasking that is, doing two or more things at the same time. They will phone or eat while driving, or bicycle to work to get exercise. They will also pay others to perform tasks because time is more important than money. They may prefer bagels to breakfast cereals because they are quicker. Companies aiming to serve them will create convenient products and services for this group.

Much of the wireless revolution is fueled by the multitasking trend. Texas instruments recently unveiled a product design called WANDA, short for Wireless Any Network Digital Assistant, that allows users to talk on a cell phone while Web browsing over Wi-fi while conducting business via Bluetooth.

In some categories, notably food processing, companies targeting time-constrained consumers need to be aware that these very same consumers seek the illusion that they are not operating within time constraints. The food processing industry has a name for those who seek both convenience and some involvement in the cooking process the “convenience involvement segment.

We conclude by saying consumers choose and use brands that have a brand personality consistent with their own actual self-concept (how one views oneself), although in some cases the match may be based on the consumer’s ideal self-concept (how one would like to view oneself) or even others’ self-concept (how one thinks others see one) rather than actual self-image. These effects may also be more pronounced for publicly consumed products as compared to privately consumed goods. On the other hand, consumers who are high “self–monitors� that is, sensitive to how others see them are more likely to choose brands whose personalities fit the consumption situation.

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