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Theories of Personality & Self concept and how they

affect ones consumption patterns

By: Sandipan Kumar Das.
Some theorists prefer to view personality as a
unified whole.
Others focus on specific traits.
Those inner psychological characteristics that
both determine and reflects how a person
responds to his or her environment.
Nature Of Personality
Personality reflects individual differences
Unique combination of inner characteristics
No two individuals are exactly alike
Venturesome (scuba diving, rock climbing) to some
others who are not venturesome.
Personality allows marketers to divide people into
different groups based on their traits.
Nature Of Personality
Personality is Consistent & Enduring
Mother child has been impulsive from the day he
was born enduring & consistent.
Marketers cannot change consumers personalities
to meet their products.
But understanding which specific characteristics
bring in required responses, can help marketers to
appeal to these traits in their target audience.

Nature Of Personality
Personality Can Change
May be altered by major life events birth of a child,
death of a loved one, personal tragedies accident,
health problem, divorce, significant career
Personality changes can also be part of maturing
Womens personality in general has been changing
faster. (Indica V2 Ad)
Theories of Personality
Freudian Theory

Neo Freudian Theory

Trait Theory
Freudian Theory
Personality consists of three interacting systems.
Id related to physiological or impulsive needs to
which one seeks immediate satisfaction.
Super Ego individuals internal expression of moral /
ethical codes of conduct; sociocultural forces.
Ego The individuals conscious control. Functions as
an internal monitor that attempts to balance the
impulsive needs and socio cultural constraints.
Freudian Theory
Built on the premise that unconscious needs or
drives, especially sexual and other biological drives
are at the heart of human motivation ulterior
System 1
System 3
Super Ego
System 2
Although Ego is capable of resolving many of
the conflicts that arise between the
personality components, ------- there are
certain occassions when no solutions could be
achieved, leading to tensions within
Defense mechanisms are unconsciously
determined techniques for avoiding or
escaping from such high levels of tension.
Defense Mechanisms
Repression: resolving conflict by minimizing aspects
of the conflicting situation.
(conflict about watching sporting event which brings in
violent and entertaining aspects. As ego cannot reach the
compromise, the individual will work to reduce the violent
aspects of the sport in his mind).

Projection: feelings generated by individuals id or
super ego is ascribed to another person or group;
(a persons disdain for others who constantly purchase
products and display them can be from their own desire to
engage in same behavior).
Identification: the individual unconsciously
imitates the behavior of another person who has
successfully handled a similar conflict.
Vijay Mallya appearing in ads which says, I
enjoy my drink, but I never drive after I drink.

Reaction Formation: unconscious feelings held
toward others are consciously expressed as
opposites. a partner who is un-loyal might
actually purchase many gifts for the other
Neo Freudian Personality Theory
Social relationships are fundamental to formation of
personality (Freud - impulsive and sexual in nature)
Three personality Groups
1. Compliant Individuals those who move towards
others (desire to be loved, wanted and appreciated).
2. Aggressive Individuals those who move against
others (desire to excel / win admiration).
3. Detached Individuals- those who move away from
others (desire independence, self reliance, self
sufficiency - freedom from obligation)
Trait Theory
Departure from qualitative measures that
typify the earlier theories.
Quantitative or empirical in approach.

Measurement of personality in terms of
specific psychological characteristics called

Checks personality traits related to how
consumer makes his choices ----
The trait theory is based on three
1. Individuals possess relatively stable
behavioral tendencies.
2. Different people differ in the degree to
which they possess these tendencies.
3. When identified and measured, these
relative differences between individuals are
useful in characterizing their personalities.
Personality Traits
1. Consumer Innovativeness:
Nature and boundaries of a consumers willingness to
2. Dogmatism:
Trait that measures the degree of rigidity (vs. openness)
that they show toward an information that is contrary
to their own established beliefs.
3. Social Character:
Ranges from inner-directedness to other directedness.
Inner directed consumers tend to rely on their own
inner values while evaluating new products. While
outer-directed tend to look for others opinion.
Personality Traits (contd.)
4. Need for uniqueness: for such people, conformity
to others expectations or standards either in
appearance or in their possessions is something to be
5. Optimum Stimulation Level: Some people prefer a
simple, uncluttered and calm existence (whereas
others prefer complex and unusual experiences).
High OSL is linked to greater willingness to risks, try
new products .
6. Sensation Seeking: characterized by the need for
varied, novel and complex experiences and
willingness to take physical and social risks.

Brand Personality
Consumers attribute various descriptive personality
like traits to different brands in a wide variety of
product categories.
Volvo representing safety / family orientation
Levis 501 jeans dependable, rugged & American
BMW - performance driven
Nivea Mild and caring
Nike - the athlete in all of us.
Brand Personality
Brand Personality
Upper class
Is defined as the totality of individuals thoughts and
feelings having reference to him/ her as an object.
Life style, in many ways, is an outward expression of
ones self-concept.
Self Concept - Theory
Holds that an individuals have a concept of self based
on who they think they are (the actual self )
and a concept of who they think they would like to be
(the ideal self ).
Related to two key concepts of psycho-analytic
theory, the ego and the super ego.
Ego is similar to ones objective reality, so its similar to
actual self.
Superego is defined by the way things should be and
hence can be seen as a reflection of ideal self.
Actual Self
There is no one actual self.
Consumers have various role identities
mother, wife, working woman, volunteer etc.
One of these roles is dominant in specific
situations. This particular role affects the
behavior (dressing style, talking, way they
conduct etc)
The amalgam of individuals roles makes up
the individual self.
Studies have confirmed that consumers buy products
related to their self concept.
Dolich studied buying of beer, cigarettes, soaps and
tooth paste and found that respondents tend to
prefer brands they rate similar to themselves.
The same is in the case of automobiles too.
Marketing takeaways: the concept of actual self,
says that image consumers have of themselves
influences their purchases.
They attain self consistency, by buying products
they perceive as similar to their self-concept
Relationship Between Self Concept & Brand Image
(self concept)
self concept &
brand image

Seek products and
Brands that
improve/ maintain
self concept.

Contribute to
Desired self

Reinforces Self-Concept
Ideal Self
Concept of ideal self relates to ones self esteem.
The greater the difference between the actual
self and the ideal self, the lower an individuals
self esteem.
Dissatisfaction with actual self, will end up in
purchases of such products that they think will
enhance their self-esteem.
A woman who would like to be more modern,
efficient and imaginative will use different
perfumes, deodorant or shop at different stores
than a woman who want to be warm/attractive.
(Marsh L Richins) advertising themes and
images often increase the discrepancy between
the real and ideal selves.
Ads that features beautiful models and
luxurious life styles leaves a sense of
inadequacy based on a comparison of their
real self with idealized self.
Average fashion model is 59 tall and weighs
55 kgs. But the average Indian Woman is 52
tall and weighs 65 kgs.

The desire for both self consistency and self
esteem can be conflicting.
Generally consumers buy products that conform
to their actual self image. But if they are lower in
their self esteem they are more likely to be swayed
by appeals to fantasy that portray an idealized self
... the alluring woman, the lone biker on Bajaj
Discover or well groomed male in Vimal suiting.
Buying to achieve an unrealizable self image can
lead to compulsive purchasing behavior (frequent
buying to overcome the discrepancy between the
real and the ideal self).

Dimensions Of Self Concept
Actual Self
Ideal Self
Actual Self
How I actually
see myself
Ideal self
How I would like
to see myself
Social Self
How others
actually see me
Ideal Social Self
How I would like
others to see me.

In different contexts, consumers behavior
might be guided by different self concepts.
Daily use items including consumer durables
purchase will be more guided by actual self
Socially conspicuous products or status
products will be guided by social self image.
Fantasy products cosmetics, fashion items or
accessories will be guided by ideal self image
or ideal social self image.
Extended Self
Not only does our self image influence the
products we choose, but the products (of
symbolic value) we possess frequently
influence our self image.
Extended self incorporates some of our more
important possessions into our self concept.
We are what we wear, and what we use.
People seek, express, confirm and ascertain a
sense of being through what they have.
The symbolic role that products play in
shaping the consumers self concept.
Marketers have understood the role of product
constellations in projecting an image.
Advertising for jewelry might show fashionably
dressed models or expensive automobiles ..
And ads for clothing might show jewelry.
This brings in opportunity for co-branding
Life style, in many ways, is an outward expression of
ones self-concept.
Life style it can be viewed as a unique pattern of living
which influences and reflected by ones buying habits.

Psychographics may be viewed as the method of
defining lifestyle in measurable terms.
The Nature Of Lifestyles
Lifestyle variables are defined by how people spend their
time (activities), what they consider important in their
environment (interests), and what they think of
themselves and the world around them (opinions).

Activities:- Work, Hobbies, Social Events, Vacation,
Entertainment, Club Membership
Interests:- Family, Home, Job, Community, recreation,
Opinions:- Personal Relations, Social issues, politics,
Business, Economics, Education