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Identify 2 of your favorite brands. If each “came to life” as a person, what kind of person would he or she be? Describe the brand personality of each-on what basis do you infer these traits?

chapTer 6
113. Lucy Vine, “Lindsay Lohan Gets Naked and Streaks in London’s Selfridges
Laughing Hysterically,” Mirror (June 23, 2014), http://www.mirror.co.uk/
3am/celebrity-news/lindsay-lohan-gets-naked-streaks-3746464, accessed
March 22, 2015.
114. Quoted in Mark J. Miller, “Selfridges Will Go Gender-Free in Latest
Retail Experiment,” Brandchannel (January 29, 2015), http://www
.brandchannel.com/home/post/2015/01/29/150129-SelfridgesGender-Free.aspx?utm_campaign=150129-Selfridges-Agender&utm_
source=newsletter&utm_medium=email, accessed February 25, 2015.
115. Sandra L. Bem, “The Measurement of Psychological Androgyny,” Journal
of Consulting & Clinical Psychology 42 (1974): 155–162; Deborah E. S.
Frable, “Sex Typing and Gender Ideology: Two Facets of the Individual’s
Gender Psychology That Go Together,” Journal of Personality & Social
Psychology 56, no. 1 (1989): 95–108.
116. Geoffrey A. Fowler, “Asia’s Lipstick Lads,” Wall Street Journal (May 27,
2005), www.wsj.com, accessed May 27, 2005.
117. Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda, “Big Primpin’ in Tokyo,” Wired (May 2007): 46.
118. Leila T. Worth, Jeanne Smith, and Diane M. Mackie, “Gender Schematicity
and Preference for Gender-Typed Products,” Psychology & Marketing 9
(January 1992): 17–30.
119. Rupal Parekh, “Gender-Bending Brands an Easy Way to Increase Product
Reach,” Advertising Age (March 2, 2009), www.adage.com, accessed March
24, 2015; Sarah Mahoney, “Best Buy Opens Store Designed for Women,”
Retail Customer Experience (October 6, 2008), http://www.retailcustomer
experience.com/news/best-buy-opens-store-designed-for-women/, accessed
March 24, 2015; Kevin Helliker, “The Solution to Hunting’s Woes? Setting
Sights on Women,” Wall Street Journal (October 1, 2008), http://online.wsj.com/
Article/Sb122281550760292225, accessed October 2, 2008; Stephanie
Clifford, “Frito Lay Tries to Enter the Minds (and Lunch Bags) of Women,”
New York Times (February 24, 2009), http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/
business/media/25adco.html?, accessed March 24, 2015; Karl Greenberg,
“Harley Says Guys Ride Back Seat in May,” Marketing Daily (February 3, 2009),
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120. Lauren Coleman-Lochner, “Old Spice Attracting Women in GenderBending Hit for P&G,” Bloomburg Business (March 12, 2015), http://www
.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-03-12/old-spice-attracting-womenin-gender-bending-hit-for-p-g, accessed March 20, 2015.
121. Projections of the incidence of homosexuality in the general population
often are influenced by assumptions of the researchers, as well as the
methodology they employ (e.g., self-report, behavioral measures, fantasy
measures). For a discussion of these factors, see Edward O. Laumann,
John H. Gagnon, Robert T. Michael, and Stuart Michaels, The Social
Organization of Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1994).
122. Frank Newport and Gary J. Gates, “San Francisco Metro Area Ranks
Highest in LGBT Percentage,” Gallup (March 20, 2015), http://www.gallup
.com/poll/182051/san-francisco-metro-area-ranks-highest-lgbt-percent
age.aspx?utm_source=Social%20Issues&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_
campaign=tiles, accessed March 20, 2015.
123. For an academic study of this subculture, cf. Steven M. Kates, “The Dynamics
of Brand Legitimacy: An Interpretive Study in the Gay Men’s Community,”
Journal of Consumer Research 31 (September 2004): 455–464.
124. Justin McCarthy, “Same-Sex Marriage Support Reaches New High at 55%,”
Gallup, http://www.gallup.com/poll/169640/sex-marriage-support-reachesnew-high.aspx, accessed March 22, 2015.
125. Stuart Elliott, “Banana Republic Ads With Real-Life Unions Include
a Gay Couple,” New York Times (February 20, 2014), http://www.ny
times.com/2014/02/21/business/media/banana-republic-ads-withreal-life-unions-includes-a-gay-couple.html?_r=1, accessed February 21,
2015.
126. Quoted in Meghan Neal, “Oreo Sees Support, But Also Backlash and
Boycott, for Gay Pride Rainbow Cookie, “New York Daily News, July 27, 2012,
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/oreo-sees-support-back
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127. Julia Baird, “Neither Female Nor Male,” New York Times (April 6, 2014),
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/opinion/neither-female-nor-male
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128. Matthew Chapman, “Benetton to Feature Trans-Sexual Brazilian Model in
Spring/Summer Campaign,” marketingmagazine.co.uk (January 23, 2013),
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2015.
129. Sreekar Jasthi, “The Economic Impact of Gay Marriage: A $2.5 Billion
Question,” Nerd Wallet (November 12, 2014), http://www.nerdwallet
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The Self: Mind, Gender, and Body
239
a Bride, Businesses Respond,” New York Times (July 15, 2010), http://www
.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/us/16marriage.html?emc=eta1, accessed
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130. Sheila Shayon, “Levi’s for Women: Shape, Not Size, Matters,” BrandChannel
(September 17, 2010),http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2010/09/
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us.levi.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=3146849&AB=CMS_Home_
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131. http://www.spanx.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=2992553&clickid
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132. Abe Sauer, “How Unilever is Translating the Dove Real Beauty Campaign
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home/post/2013/07/15/Dove-Real-Beauty-China-Campaign-071513
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133. Ibid.
134. Samantha Murphy, “No, You’re Not Fat—Facebook Just Makes You Think
You Are,” Mashable (March 30, 2012), http://mashable.com/2012/03/30/
facebook-makes-you-feel-fat/?WT.mc_id=en_social-media&utm_campaign=
Social%2BMedia&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter, accessed
January 11, 2013.
135. Samantha Murphy Kelly, “Job Site Wants Only Beautiful Candidates,”
Mashable (June 2, 2013), http://mashable.com/2013/06/02/beautifulpeople-job-site/?WT.mc_id=en_my_stories&utm_campaign=My%
2BStories&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter, accessed January
30, 2015.
136. Daniel S. Hamermesh, “Ugly? You May Have a Case,” New York Times
Magazine (August 27, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/
opinion/sunday/ugly-you-may-have-a-case.html?ref=opinion, accessed
March 22, 2015.
137. Nina Mandell, “Padded Swimsuits for All? Abercrombie and Fitch Marketing
Padded Tops to Young Girls,” New York Daily News (March 27, 2011), http://
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to_young_gi.html, accessed April 10, 2011.
138. Emily Flynn, “Beauty: Babes Spot Babes,” Newsweek (September 20, 2004):
10.
139. For some results that provide exceptions to this overall phenomenon,
cf. Elizabeth Cashdan, “Waist-to-Hip Ratio Across Cultures: Trade-Offs
Between Androgen- and Estrogen-Dependent Traits,” Current Anthropology
49, no. 6 (2008): 1099–1107.
140. Abigail W. Leonard, “How Women Pick Mates vs. Flings,” LiveScience
(January 2, 2007), www.livescience.com/health/070102_facial_features.
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141. Corky Siemaszko, “Depends on the Day: Women’s Sex Drive a Very Cyclical
Thing,” New York Daily News (June 24, 1999): 3.
142. Amanda B. Bower, “Highly Attractive Models in Advertising and the Women
Who Loathe Them: The Implications of Negative Affect for Spokesperson
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143. Austin Considine, “A Little Imperfection for That Smile?” New York Times
(October 21, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/fashion/injapan-a-trend-to-make-straight-teeth-crooked-noticed.html,
accessed
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144. Basil G. Englis, Michael R. Solomon, and Richard D. Ashmore, “Beauty
Before the Eyes of Beholders: The Cultural Encoding of Beauty Types in
Magazine Advertising and Music Television,” Journal of Advertising 23
(June 1994): 49–64; Michael R. Solomon, Richard Ashmore, and Laura
Longo, “The Beauty Match-Up Hypothesis: Congruence Between Types
of Beauty and Product Images in Advertising,” Journal of Advertising 21
(December 1992): 23–34.
145. Lois W. Banner, American Beauty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1980); for a philosophical perspective, see Barry Vacker and Wayne
R. Key, “Beauty and the Beholder: The Pursuit of Beauty Through
Commodities,” Psychology & Marketing 10 (November–December 1993):
471–494.
146. Mark J. Miller, “Macy’s Introduces Marilyn Monroe Collection to a Racier
Generation,” Brandchannel (March 6, 2013), http://www.brandchannel
.com/home/post/2013/03/06/Macys-Marilyn-Monroe-030613.aspx,
accessed March 23, 2015.
147. Elaine L. Pedersen and Nancy L. Markee, “Fashion Dolls: Communicators
of Ideals of Beauty and Fashion,” paper presented at the International
Conference on Marketing Meaning, Indianapolis, IN, 1989; Dalma Heyn,
“Body Hate,” Ms. (August 1989): 34; Mary C. Martin and James W.
Gentry, “Assessing the Internalization of Physical Attractiveness Norms,”
Proceedings of the American Marketing Association Summer Educators’
Conference (Summer 1994): 59–65.
240
SecTiON 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
148. Lisa Bannon, “Barbie Is Getting Body Work, and Mattel Says She’ll Be
‘Rad,’” Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition (November 17, 1997).
149. Lisa Bannon, “Will New Clothes, Bellybutton Create ‘Turn Around’
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150. “Report Delivers Skinny on Miss America,” Montgomery Advertiser (March 22,
2000): 5A.
151. “Study: Playboy Models Losing Hourglass Figures,” CNN.com (December 20,
2002), www.CNN.com.
152. Anthony H. Ahrensa, Sarah F. Etua, James J. Graya, James E. Mosimanna,
Mia Foley Sypecka, and Claire V. Wiseman, “Cultural Representations of
Thinness in Women, Redux: Playboy Magazine’s Depiction of Beauty from
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153. Quoted in Will Lassek, Steve Gaulin, and Hara Estroff Marano, “Eternal
Curves,” Psychology Today (July 03, 2012), http://www.psychologytoday
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154. Jane E. Brody, “Personal Health,” New York Times (February 22, 1990): B9.
155. Christian S. Crandall, “Social Contagion of Binge Eating,” Journal of
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156. Charlotte Alter, “What Does It Mean to ‘Break the Internet’?” Time
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157. Nilüfer Z. Aydinoğlu and Aradhna Krishna, “Imagining Thin: Why Vanity
Sizing Works,” Journal of Consumer Psychology 22, no. 4 (2012):
565–572.
158. Erin White, “Dove ‘Firms’ with Zaftig Models: Unilever Brand Launches
European Ads Employing Non-Supermodel Bodies,” Wall Street Journal (April
21, 2004): B3.
159. David Goetzl, “Teen Girls Pan Ad Images of Women,” Advertising Age
(September 13, 1999): 32; Carey Goldberg, “Citing Intolerance, Obese
People Take Steps to Press Cause,” New York Times (November 5, 2000),
http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/05/us/fat-people-say-an-intolerant-world-condemns-them-on-first-sight.html, accessed September 1,
2011.
160. Shirley S. Wang, “Diet Pepsi’s ‘Skinny Can’ Campaign Riles Eating
Disorders Group,” Wall Street Journal (February 15, 2011), http://blogs
.WallStreetJournal.com/health/2011/02/15/diet-pepsis-skinny-cancampaign-riles-eating-disorders-group/, accessed April 10, 2011.
161. http://www.bigisbeautiful.nl/, accessed March 22, 2015.
162. Quoted in Daiane Scaraboto and Eileen Fischer, “Frustrated Fatshionistas:
An Institutional Theory Perspective on Consumer Quests for Greater
Choice in Mainstream Markets,” Journal of Consumer Research 39, no. 6
(2013): 1234–1257.
163. Sheila Shayon, “Target Launches First Plus-Size Collection Following Blogger
Boycott,” Brandchannel (January 21, 2015), http://www.brandchannel
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campaign=150121-Target-Plus-Size&utm_source=newsletter&utm_
medium=email, accessed February 3, 2015.
164. Stephanie Clifford, “High Fashion, No Airbrushing,” New York Times
(October 19, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/business/rentthe-runway-uses-real-women-to-market-high-fashion.html?ref=
todayspaper&_r=0, accessed January 11, 2013.
165. Stephen Mihm, “Why C.E.O.s Are Growing Beards,” New York Times (November 28, 2014), http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/opinion/sunday/whyceos-are-growing-beards.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar
%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A9%22%7D&_r=0, accessed January 30,
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166. Jill Neimark, “The Beefcaking of America,” Psychology Today (November–
December 1994): 32.
167. Richard H. Kolbe and Paul J. Albanese, “Man to Man: A Content Analysis
of Sole-Male Images in Male-Audience Magazines,” Journal of Advertising
25 (Winter 1996): 1–20.
168. Douglas Quenqua, “Muscular Body Image Lures Boys into Gym, and
Obsession,” New York Times (November 19, 2012), http://www.nytimes
.com/2012/11/19/health/teenage-boys-worried-about-body-image-takerisks.html?hp, accessed January 11, 2013.
169. Ruth P. Rubinstein, “Color, Circumcision, Tattoos, and Scars,” in Michael
R. Solomon, ed., The Psychology of Fashion (Lexington, MA: Lexington
Books, 1985): 243–254; Peter H. Bloch and Marsha L. Richins, “You Look
‘Mahvelous’: The Pursuit of Beauty and Marketing Concept,” Psychology &
Marketing 9 (January 1992): 3–16.
170. Sondra Farganis, “Lip Service: The Evolution of Pouting, Pursing, and
Painting Lips Red,” Health (November 1988): 48–51.
171. Michelle Hancock, “High Heels: The Agony and the Ecstacy,” The Telegraph
(April 1, 1986), http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2209&dat=19
860401&id=xp4rAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NfwFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6255,163038,
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172. Andrew Adam Newman, “Dove Tells Women to Love Their Armpits,” New
York Times (February 27, 2014), http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/
business/media/dove-tells-women-to-love-their-armpits.html, accessed
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173. Anne-Kathrin Klesse, Caroline Goukens, Kelly Geyskens, and Ko de
Ruyter, “Repeated Exposure to the Thin Ideal and Implications for the Self:
Two Weight Loss Program Studies,” International Journal of Research in
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174. Andrew Adam Newman, “Celebrating Black Beauty and Advocating
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.com/2013/04/19/business/media/celebrating-black-beauty-and-advo
cating-diversity.html, accessed February 2, 2015; Thomas Fuller, “A
Vision of Pale Beauty Carries Risks for Asia’s Women,” International Herald
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175. Sherry L. Pagoto, Stephenie C. Lemon, Jessica L. Oleski, Jonathan M.
Scully, Gin-Fei Olendzki, Martinus M. Evans, Wenjun Li, L. Carter Florence,
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US College Campuses,” JAMA Dermatology 151, no. 1 (2015): 59–63,
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Cancer Risks, Teenagers Learn,” New York Times (January 10, 2015), http://
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176. John W. Schouten, “Selves in Transition: Symbolic Consumption in Personal
Rites of Passage and Identity Reconstruction,” Journal of Consumer Research
17 (March 1991): 412–425; Janet Whitman, “Extreme Makeovers Blur
Line Between Medicine and Cosmetics,” Wall Street Journal (January 7,
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177. William Neuman, “Mannequins Give Shape to a Venezuelan Fantasy,” NewYork
Times (November 6, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/world/
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February 3, 2015; Simon Romero, “Chávez Tries to Rally Venezuela
against a New Enemy: Breast Lifts,” New York Times (March 14, 2011),
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html?scp=1&sq=breast&st=cse, accessed April 10, 2011.
178. Alexandra Stevenson, “Plastic Surgery Tourism Brings Chinese to South
Korea,” New York Times (December 23, 2014), http://www.nytimes.com/
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179. Natasha Singer, “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini Bottom,” New York Times
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180. Catherine Saint Louis, “This Teenage Girl Uses Botox. No, She’s Not
Alone,” New York Times (August 11, 2010), http://www.nytimes.com/
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181. Dannie Kjeldgaard and Anders Bengtsson, “Consuming the Fashion
Tattoo,” in Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, eds., Advances in Consumer
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182. Tiffany Hsu and Don Lee, “At 50 Years Old, Barbie Gets Tattoos—And a
Megastore in China,” Los Angeles Times (March 6, 2009), http://articles
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183. Dana Blanton, “Fox News Poll: Tattoos aren’t just for rebels anymore,”
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184. Mona Chalabi, “Dear Mona, How Many People Regret Their Tattoos?”
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187. Vivian Manning-Schaffel, “Metrosexuals: A Well-Groomed Market?” Brand
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Growing Beards to Protest Recession,” Advertising Age (April 2, 2009),
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188. Jenny Darroch, “Marketing to Women: What to Do/What Not to Do … Without
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chapTer 6
189. Quoted in Lauren Indvik, Mashable (July 3, 2012), http://mashable.com/2012/
07/03/seventeen-real-girls-petition/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_
medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29,
accessed January 11, 2013.
190. Jesse Chandler and Norbert Schwarz, “Use Does Not Wear Ragged the
Fabric of Friendship: Thinking of Objects as Alive Makes People Less
Willing to Replace Them,” Journal of Consumer Psychology 20, no. 2 (2010):
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The Self: Mind, Gender, and Body
241
191. Claire Cain Miller, “LeanIn.org and Getty Aim to Change Women’s
Portrayal in Stock Photos,” New York Times (February 9, 2014), http://
www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/business/leaninorg-and-getty-aim-tochange-womens-portrayal-in-stock-photos.html?_r=1, accessed February
25, 2015.
Chapter 7 Personality, Lifestyles,
and Values
Chapter
Objectives
●
When you have finished reading this chapter you will understand why:
7-1 A consumer’s personality influences the way he or she
responds to marketing stimuli, but efforts to use this information in marketing contexts meet with mixed results.
7-4 It can be more useful to identify patterns of consumption
than knowing about individual purchases when organizations craft a lifestyle marketing strategy.
7-2 Brands have personalities.
7-5 Psychographics go beyond simple demographics to help
marketers understand and reach different consumer
segments.
7-3 A lifestyle defines a pattern of consumption that reflects a
person’s choices of how to spend his or her time and money,
and these choices are essential to define consumer identity.
7-6 Underlying values often drive consumer motivations.
J
ackie and Hank, executives in a high-powered Los
Angeles advertising agency, are exchanging ideas
about how they are going to spend the big bonus
everyone in the firm is getting for landing a new account.
They can’t help but snicker at their friend Rose in accounting, who avidly surfs the Internet for information about a
state-of-the-art home theater system she plans to install
in her condo. What a couch potato! Hank, who fancies
himself a bit of a daredevil, plans to blow his bonus on
a thrill-seeking trip to Colorado, where a week of outrageous bungee jumping awaits him (assuming he lives to
tell about it, but that uncertainty is half the fun). Jackie
replies, “Been there, done that…. Believe it or not, I’m
staying put right here—heading over to Santa Monica to
catch some waves.” Seems that the surfing bug has bitten
Source: Alfgar/Shutterstock
her since she stumbled onto Jetty Girl, an online resource
for women who surf.1
Jackie and Hank marvel at how different they are from Rose, who’s content to spend her downtime watching sappy old movies or actually reading books. All three make about the same salary,
and Jackie and Rose were sorority sisters at USC. How can their tastes be so different? Oh well, they
figure, that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.
242
Chapter 7
OBjeCtive 7-1
A consumer’s personality
influences the way
he or she responds
to marketing stimuli,
but efforts to use this
information in marketing
contexts meet with mixed
results.
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
personality
Jackie and Hank are typical of many people who search for new
(and even risky) ways to spend their leisure time. This desire
translates into big business for the “adventure travel” industry,
which provides white-knuckle experiences.2 In the old days, the
California beach culture relegated women to the status of landlocked “Gidgets” who sat on shore while their boyfriends rode the
surf. Now (inspired by the female surfers in the movie Blue Crush
and then by Bethany Hamilton, the woman documented in the
movie Soul Surfer who lost her left arm to a shark and returned
to the sport), women fuel the sport’s resurgence in popularity. Roxy rides the wave with
its collections of women’s surf apparel; it even includes a feature on its Web site that lets
users design their own bikinis.3
Just what does make Jackie and Hank so different from their more sedate friend Rose?
One answer may lie in the concept of personality, which refers to a person’s unique psychological makeup and how it consistently influences the way a person responds to his or
her environment. Do all people have personalities? Certainly we can wonder about some
we meet! Actually, even though the answer seems like a no-brainer, some psychologists
argue that the concept of personality may not be valid. Many studies find that people do
not seem to exhibit stable personalities. Because people don’t necessarily behave the same
way in all situations, they argue that this is merely a convenient way to categorize people.
Intuitively, this argument is a bit hard to accept, because we tend to see others in a limited
range of situations, and so they do appear to act consistently. However, we each know that
we ourselves are not all that consistent; we may be wild and crazy at times and serious and
responsible at others. Although certainly not all psychologists have abandoned the idea of
personality, many now recognize that a person’s underlying characteristics are but one part of
the puzzle, and situational factors often play a large role in determining behavior.4 Although
we may undergo dramatic changes as we grow up, in adulthood measures of personality stay
relatively stable. Studies of thousands of people’s scores on the widely used measurement
instrument the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) confirm that our
personalities tend to stabilize by the age of 30. For example, most of us become less interested
in thrill seeking as we focus more on self-discipline. Enjoy it while you can!5
Consumer Behavior on the Couch: Freudian theory
The famous psychologist Sigmund Freud proposed that much of one’s adult personality
stems from a fundamental conflict between a person’s desire to gratify his or her physical
needs and the necessity to function as a responsible member of society. This struggle plays
out in the mind among three systems. (Note: These systems do not refer to physical parts of
the brain.) Let’s quickly review each.
Freudian Systems
The id is about immediate gratification; it is the “party animal” of the mind. It operates
according to the pleasure principle; that is, our basic desire to maximize pleasure and
avoid pain guides our behavior. The id is selfish and illogical. It directs a person’s psychic
energy toward pleasurable acts without any regard for consequences.
The superego is the counterweight to the id. This system is essentially the person’s
conscience. It internalizes society’s rules (especially as parents teach them to us) and
tries to prevent the id from seeking selfish gratification. Finally, the ego is the system that
mediates between the id and the superego. It’s basically a referee in the fight between
temptation and virtue. The ego tries to balance these opposing forces according to the
reality principle, which means it finds ways to gratify the id that the outside world will
find acceptable. (Hint: This is where Freudian theory applies to marketing.) These conflicts
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SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
occur on an unconscious level, so the person is not necessarily aware of the underlying
reasons for his or her behavior.
How is Freud’s work relevant to consumer behavior? In particular, it highlights the
potential importance of unconscious motives that guide our purchases. The implication is
that consumers cannot necessarily tell us their true motivation when they choose products,
even if we can devise a sensitive way to ask them directly. The Freudian perspective also
raises the possibility that the ego relies on the symbolism in products to compromise between
the demands of the id and the prohibitions of the superego. People channel their unacceptable desire into acceptable outlets when they use products that signify these underlying
desires. This is the connection between product symbolism and motivation: The product
stands for, or represents, a consumer’s true goal, which is socially unacceptable or unattainable. By acquiring the product, the person vicariously experiences the forbidden fruit.
“Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar”: products as Sexual Symbols
Most Freudian applications in marketing relate to a product’s supposed sexual symbolism.
For example, some analysts speculate that owning a sports car is a substitute for sexual gratification (especially for men going through a “midlife crisis”). Indeed, some people do seem
inordinately attached to their cars, and they may spend many hours lovingly washing and
polishing them. An Infiniti ad reinforces the belief that cars symbolically satisfy consumers’ sexual needs in addition to their functional ones when it describes one model as “what
happens when you cross sheet metal and desire.” Other approaches focus on male-oriented
symbolism—so-called phallic symbols—that appeals to women. Although Freud joked that,
“sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” many popular applications of Freud’s ideas revolve
around the use of objects that resemble sex organs (e.g., cigars, trees, or swords for male sex
organs; tunnels for female sex organs). This focus stems from Freud’s analysis of dreams,
which he believed communicate repressed desires in the form of symbolically rich stories.
Motivational research
In the 1950s, motivational research borrowed Freudian ideas to understand the
deeper meanings of products and advertisements. This approach adapted psychoanalytical (Freudian) interpretations with a heavy emphasis on unconscious motives. It basically
assumed that we channel socially unacceptable needs into acceptable outlets—including
product substitutes.
This perspective relies on depth interviews with individual consumers. Instead of asking many consumers a few general questions about product usage and combining these
responses with those of many other consumers in a representative statistical sample, a
motivational researcher talks to only a few people but probes deeply into each respondent’s purchase motivations. A depth interview might take several hours, and it’s based
on the assumption that the respondent cannot immediately articulate his or her latent or
underlying motives. A carefully trained interviewer can derive these only after extensive
questioning and interpretation.
Ernest Dichter, a psychoanalyst who trained with Freud’s disciples in Vienna in the
early part of the 20th century, pioneered this work. Dichter conducted in-depth interview studies on more than 230 different products, and actual marketing campaigns
incorporated many of his findings.6 For example, Esso (now Exxon in the United States)
for many years reminded consumers to “Put a Tiger in Your Tank” after Dichter found
that people responded well to this powerful animal symbolism containing vaguely
sexual undertones. Table 7.1 provides a summary of major consumption motivations
he identified.
Some critics reacted to the motivational studies that ad agencies conducted in much
the same way they did to subliminal perception studies (see Chapter 3). They charged that
this approach gave advertisers the power to manipulate consumers.7 However, many consumer researchers felt the research lacked sufficient rigor and validity because the interpretations are so subjective.8 Because the analyst based his conclusions on his own judgment
after he interviewed a small number of people, critics were dubious about whether the
findings would generalize to a larger market. In addition, because the original motivational
Chapter 7
taBle 7.1
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
245
A Motivational Researcher Identifies Consumption Motives
Motive
associated products
Power-masculinity-virility
Power: Sugary products and large breakfasts (to charge oneself up), bowling, electric trains, hot rods, power tools
Masculinity-virility: Coffee, red meat, heavy shoes, toy guns, buying fur coats for women, shaving with a razor
Security
Ice cream (to feel like a loved child again), full drawer of neatly ironed shirts, real plaster walls (to feel sheltered),
home baking, hospital care
Eroticism
Sweets (to lick), gloves (to be removed by woman as a form of undressing), a man lighting a woman’s cigarette (to
create a tension-filled moment culminating in pressure, then relaxation)
Moral purity-cleanliness
White bread, cotton fabrics (to connote chastity), harsh household cleaning chemicals (to make housewives
feel moral after using), bathing (to be equated with Pontius Pilate, who washed blood from his hands), oatmeal
(sacrifice, virtue)
Social acceptance
Companionship: Ice cream (to share fun), coffee, Love and affection: Toys (to express love for children), sugar and
honey (to express terms of affection) Acceptance: Soap, beauty products
Individuality
Gourmet foods, foreign cars, cigarette holders, vodka, perfume, fountain pens
Status
Scotch: ulcers, heart attacks, indigestion (to show one has a high-stress, important job!), carpets (to show one
does not live on bare earth like peasants)
Femininity
Cakes and cookies, dolls, silk, tea, household curios
Reward
Cigarettes, candy, alcohol, ice cream, cookies
Mastery over environment
Kitchen appliances, boats, sporting goods, cigarette lighters
Disalienation (a desire to feel
connectedness to things)
Home decorating, skiing, morning radio broadcasts (to feel “in touch” with the world)
Magic-mystery
Soups (having healing powers), paints (change the mood of a room), carbonated drinks (magical effervescent
property), vodka (romantic history), unwrapping of gifts
Source: Adapted from Jeffrey F. Durgee, “Interpreting Dichter’s Interpretations: An Analysis of Consumption Symbolism,” in The Handbook of Consumer Motivation, Marketing and
Semiotics: Selected Papers from the Copenhagen Symposium, eds. Hanne Hartvig-Larsen, David Glen Mick, and Christian Alstead (Copenhagen, 1991).
researchers were heavily influenced by orthodox Freudian theory, their interpretations
usually involved sexual themes. This emphasis tends to overlook other plausible causes
for behavior. Still, motivational research had great appeal to at least some marketers for
several reasons:
●● Motivational research is less expensive to conduct than large-scale, quantitative
survey data collection because interviewing and data-processing costs are relatively
minimal.
●● The knowledge a company derives from motivational research may help it develop
marketing communications that appeal to deep-seated needs and thus provide a
more powerful hook to reel in consumers. Even if they are not necessarily valid for all
consumers in a target market, these insights can still be valuable to an advertiser who
wants to create copy that will resonate with customers.
●● Some of the findings seem intuitively plausible after the fact. For example, motivational studies concluded that we associate coffee with companionship, that we avoid
prunes because they remind us of old age, and that men fondly equate the first car
they owned as an adolescent with the onset of their sexual freedom.
Other interpretations were hard for some researchers to swallow, such as the observation
that women equate the act of baking a cake with birth, or that men are reluctant to give blood
because they feel it drains their vital fluids. However, we do sometimes say a pregnant woman
has “a bun in the oven,” and Pillsbury claims that “nothing says lovin’ like something from
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SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
the oven.” When the Red Cross hired motivational researcher Dichter to boost blood donation
rates, he reported that men (but not women) tended to drastically overestimate the amount
of blood they gave. As a result, the Red Cross counteracted men’s fear of losing their virility
when the organization symbolically equated the act of giving blood with fertilizing a female
egg: “Give the gift of life.” Despite its drawbacks, some ad agencies today still use some forms
of motivational research. The approach is most useful, however, when we use it as an exploratory technique to provide insights that inform more rigorous research approaches.
neo-Freudian theories
Freud’s work had a huge influence on subsequent theories of personality. Although he
opened the door to the realization that explanations for behavior may lurk beneath the
surface, many of his colleagues and students felt that an individual’s personality is more
influenced by how he or she handles relationships with others than by how he or she
resolves sexual conflicts. We call these theorists Neo-Freudian (meaning following from or
being influenced by Freud).
Karen horney
Marketing Opportunity
The technique that eLoyalty
uses exemplifies the application of trait theory to marketing. This company, which
builds tools and services for
call centers, compiles personality profiles of
each individual caller and matches them with a
customer service representative who works best
with that personality type. The system is based
on a methodology called the Process Communication Model, which NASA used to weed out
astronaut candidates and former President
Bill Clinton used to tailor his speeches. The
system’s creator divided people into six main
personality types, each of which has a different communication style and each of which
has different stress triggers. It’s based on
the idea that if you know the personality type
of the person you’re speaking with, you can
modify your own communication style to work
more effectively with that person. One such
type is the “Workaholic,” a personality type
who is task-oriented. If a customer service rep
starts chit-chatting to establish rapport with
a Workaholic, this approach will backfire. In
contrast, a type called the “Reactor” is relationship-oriented, so a rep who does not acknowledge the caller’s feelings before getting
down to business is doomed to failure. The
automated system analyzes callers’ language
patterns to identify their personality type so
that each time the customer calls back, he or
she is directed to a rep who is a good match
for that caller’s type.15
One of the most prominent neo-Freudians was Karen Horney. This pioneering psychotherapist described people as moving toward others (compliant), away from others (detached),
or against others (aggressive).9 Indeed, one early study found that compliant people are
more likely to gravitate toward name-brand products, detached types are more likely to
be tea drinkers, and males the researchers classified as aggressive preferred brands with a
strong masculine orientation (e.g., Old Spice deodorant).10 Other well-known neo-Freudians include Alfred Adler, who proposed that a prime motivation is to overcome feelings of
inferiority relative to others; and Harry Stack Sullivan, who focused on how personality
evolves to reduce anxiety in social relationships.11
Carl jung
Carl Jung was also one of Freud’s disciples. However, Jung didn’t accept Freud’s emphasis
on sexual aspects of personality. He went on to develop his own method of psychotherapy
that he called analytical psychology. Jung believed that the cumulative experiences of past
generations shape who we are today. He proposed that we each share a collective unconscious, a storehouse of memories we inherit from our ancestors. For example, Jung would
argue that many people are afraid of the dark because their distant ancestors had good
reason to fear it. These shared memories create archetypes, or universally recognized
ideas and behavior patterns. Archetypes involve themes, such as birth, death, or the devil,
that appear frequently in myths, stories, and dreams.
Jung’s ideas may seem a bit far-fetched, but advertising messages do in fact often
include archetypes. For example, some of the archetypes Jung and his followers identified
include the “old wise man” and the “earth mother.”12 These images appear frequently in
marketing messages that feature characters such as wizards, revered teachers, or even
Mother Nature. Our culture’s current infatuation with stories such as Harry Potter and The
Lord of the Rings speaks to the power of these images—to say nothing of the “wizard” who
helps you repair your laptop.
Young & Rubicam (Y&R), a major advertising agency, uses the archetype approach in
its BrandAsset® Archetypes model, as depicted in Figure 7.1. The model proposes healthy
relationships among archetypes as well as unhealthy ones. A healthy personality is one in
which the Archetypes overwhelm their corresponding Shadows; a sick personality results
when one or more Shadows prevail. When a brand’s Shadows dominate, this cues the
agency to take action to guide the brand to a healthier personality, much as one would try
to counsel a psychologically ill person.13
A second, similar approach popularized by authors Mark and Pearson uses a typology
of 12 brand archetypes. These include categories such as “Hero,” “Magician,” “Lover,” and
“Jester.” This perspective draws on theories of human motivation to create two sets of contrasts:
belonging/people versus independence/self-actualization, and risk/mastery versus stability/
control.14 Table 7.2 (on page 248) summarizes some of these archetype/brand relationships.
Chapter 7
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
Figure 7.1 BRANDASSET VALUATOR® ARCHETyPES
Characteristics
Magician – thought
Sage – peace
logical, analytical, insightful
wise, visionary, mentoring
Patriarch – belief
dignified, authoritative, inspirational
Matriarch – order
Angel – dreams
organized, systematic, controlled
optimistic, innocent, pure
Mother Earth – body
Enchantress – soul
stable, genuine, nurturing
mysterious, sensual, tempting
Queen – being
Actress – feelings
relaxed, comforting, sociable
glamorous, dramatic, involved
Warrior – ego
confident, powerful, heroic
Troubadour – joy
Jester – spirit
joyous, free-spirited, agile
witty, resilient, daring
Shadow Characteristics
Sorcerer
hollow, dark, cowardly
Hermit
Dictator
repressive, close- minded, unforgiving
isolated, lonely, irrelevant
Hag
Orphan
stingy, messy, crotchety
abandoned, vulnerable,
frightened
Shadow Mother
Shadow Witch
bloated, immobile, self-absorbed
cold, vain, selfish
Slave
Addict
oppressed, tormented, despondent
wounded, jealous, tragic
Destroyer
Idiot
angry, aggressive, destructive
Trickster
tricky, phony, scheming
Source: BrandAsset® Consulting: A Young & Rubican Brands Company.
silly, dimwitted, goofy
247
taBle 7.2
Selected Mark and Pearson Brand Archetypes
archetype
Description
example brands
as consumers
Everything seems lost … but
then the Hero rides over the hill
and saves the day. The Hero
triumphs over evil, adversity,
and challenges; in doing so, the
Hero inspires others. Heroes
are ambitious and seek out
challenges. The Hero generally
wants to make the world a better
place. Their motto is: “Where
there is a will, there’s a way.”
Hero brands include: the Marines, the Olympics, the NASA
space program, Nike, Red Cross,
and Under Armour.
Hero consumers expect
companies, and indeed
brands, to articulate their
values, mission, and vision
in a clear way. Increasingly,
Hero consumers expect those
corporate visions to reflect some
sense of social responsibility.
Heroes evaluate brands and
companies not just on the
quality of the product or service
but also the strengths and ethics
of the firm’s convictions.
Most basic to the Magician is the
desire to search out the fundamental laws of how things work
and to apply these principles to
getting things done. The most
typical applications of magical
lore are to heal the mind, heart,
and body; to find the fountain of
youth and the secret of longevity.
Or to invent products to make
things happen. The Magician’s
motto is: “It can happen.”
Magician brands include all
those that foster “magical
moments”: Sony, Google, Moët
and Chandon, Verve Clicquot,
MasterCard, and Disney.
The Lover archetype governs all
sorts of love, from parental love,
to friendship, to spiritual love,
but most important is romantic
love. The Lover is always active in
intense and personal friendships.
Lovers think of themselves as
being wonderfully appreciative of
others. They also typically dislike
competition. This can often lead
to jealousy and mean-spirited
behavior. The Lover’s motto is:
“I only have eyes for you.”
Lover brands include: Coco
Chanel, Christian Dior, The Body
Shop, Revlon, Godiva, Victoria’s
Secret, Hallmark, and Häagen
Dazs.
The Jester archetype includes: the
clown, the trickster, and anyone
at all who loves to play or act up.
While it is possible to have fun on
our own, the Jester calls us out to
come and play with one another.
Jester figures enjoy life and interaction for their own sake. They also
love being the life of the party!
Jester brands include: M&Ms,
Snickers, Skittles, Pringles, Coke,
Pepsi, and Bud Light.
leaving a thumbprint on the World
“hero”
Core desire:
To prove worth through
courageous action
Goal:
Exert mastery in a way that
improves the world
Fear:
Weakness, vulnerability, and
wimping out
Hero movies include: Star Wars
and Saving Private Ryan.
Famous Heroes include: Martin
Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela,
John F. Kennedy, and Superman.
Strategy:
Become strong and competent
“Magician”
Core desire:
Knowledge of fundamental laws
and how the world works
Goal:
Make dreams come true
Fear:
Unanticipated negative
consequences
Strategy:
Develop vision and live it
Television shows characterized
by the Magician include: City of
Angels, Touched by an Angel,
and Seventh Heaven.
As customers, Magicians believe
that who you are is as important
as the quality of your products or
services. you are always, therefore, selling yourself, your values,
and your own consciousness
when marketing to Magicians.
Magicians are motivated by personal transformation; therefore,
firms offering transformative
experiences will appeal most to
Magicians.
no Man is an island
“lover”
Core desire:
Attain intimacy and experience
sensual pleasure
Goal:
Being in a relationship with people
Fear:
Being alone, a wall-flower
unwanted and unloved
Strategy:
Become more and more attractive
physically, emotionally, and in
every other way
“jester”
Core desire:
To live in the moment with full
enjoyment
Goal:
To have a great time and lighten
up the world
Fear:
Boredom and being boring
Strategy:
Play, make jokes, and be funny
The Jester’s motto is: “If I can’t
dance, I don’t want to be a part
of your revolution.”
Lover archetypes in movies
include: Titanic, Pretty Woman,
and Casablanca.
Famous Lover people include:
Sofia Vergara, Sophia Loren,
Elizabeth Taylor, and George
Clooney.
Famous Jester people include:
Robin Williams, Johnny Carson,
Chris Rock, and Will Smith.
The Lover wants a deeper kind
of connection—one that is
intimate, genuine, and personal
(sometimes also sensual).
Lovers often identify products
with certain relationships. Lovers
develop deep relationships
with products and companies,
especially those that help them
feel special and loved. These
types of consumers also like
being singled out for attention;
for example: “mailing to special
customers only.”
The Jester in every one of us
loves humor. Jesters like funny
commercials because they
entertain them and make them
feel good, creating a halo effect
around the product. Jester ads
and packaging highlight bright
colors and lots of action—the
more outrageous, the better.
Overall, the Jester loves the fun of
marketing. They are not frightened
by knowing we are in a new time.
Source: Adapted from Michael R. Solomon, Rebekah Russell-Bennett, and Josephine Previte, Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, Being, 3rd ed., Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson
Australia, 2012.
Chapter 7
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
trait theory
Popular online matchmaking services such as match.com and eharmony.com offer to create
your “personality profile” and then hook you up with other members whose profiles are similar. This approach to personality focuses on the quantitative measurement of personality
traits, which we define as the identifiable characteristics that define a person.
What are some crucial personality traits? Consumer researchers have looked at many
to establish linkages to product choice, such as “need for uniqueness,” “introversion/
extroversion” (whether people are shy or outgoing), and “attention to social comparison
information.” Some research evidence suggests that ad messages that match how a person
thinks about himself or herself are more persuasive.16
Another trait relevant to consumer behavior is frugality. Frugal people deny shortterm purchasing whims; they choose instead to resourcefully use what they already own.
For example, this personality type tends to favor cost-saving measures such as timing
showers and bringing leftovers from home to have for lunch at work.18 Obviously, during tough economic times many people reveal their “inner frugalista” as they search for
ways to save money. Indeed, as the Great Recession invaded, Google searches for the term
frugality increased by roughly 2,500 percent. Whereas many of us splurged on expensive
cars or Jimmy Choo shoes (or both) in the past, many analysts predict that more of us will
249
net profit
Certainly messages and products that promote uniqueness
so that a consumer can make
a statement via individualized
choices are bound to appeal
to some more than others. Technological developments encourage product personalization
strategies that enable each buyer to customize
an item and in some cases to design it online.
Continuum, a new clothing company, allows
women to create their own bikini design. After
she uploads her measurements, the company
uses three-dimensional printing to generate
the product in nylon.17
Products like these from a German
company appeal to people who like to
be well-organized.
Source: Photo courtesy of The Container Store.
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SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
be frugal down the road, even when the economy improves. They expect to see us buy
smaller houses and (gasp!) live within our means as we forsake heavy credit card debt.
How accurate is this prediction? Maybe the answer depends on how many of us truly have
frugal personality traits versus those who are merely “taking a break” until the economy
improves. Recent surveys of U.S. college students indicate that frugal consumers are less
materialistic and not as involved as brands compared to others; they’re also less likely to be
concerned about others’ opinions regarding what they buy.19
According to the research firm Mindset Media, personality traits are better predictors of the type of media consumers choose than are demographic variables such as
age, gender, and income. The company also claims that the TV shows you watch offer
marketers insights into your personality and the types of brands you’re likely to prefer,
based on your dominant personality traits and the (perceived) matchup with a brand’s
image. To find out which personalities are attracted to which TV shows it recently
analyzed self-reported data from about 25,000 TV viewers across more than 70 TV
shows. These are some of the media/trait/brand linkages the company generated in its
analysis:20
●● Viewers of Mad Men are emotionally sensitive and intellectually curious types who
often tend to be dreamers rather than realists. Good brand matches are Apple and the
Audi A6.
●● Viewers of Family Guy are rebels who don’t like authority, rules, or structure they
deem unfair, and usually won’t hesitate to make their feelings known with anger or
sarcasm. Good brand matches are DiGiorno and the Ford F150.
●● Viewers of Dancing with the Stars are traditionalists who prefer stability and the triedand-true. They respect authority and generally have their feet firmly grounded. Good
brand matches are Kraft and the Chrysler Town and Country car.
●● Viewers of The Office consider themselves superior to others and like to brag about their
accomplishments. They also like to be in charge. Good brand matches are Starbucks
and the BMW Series 3.
the Big Five personality traits
The most widely recognized approach to measuring personality traits is the so-called Big
Five (also known as the Neo-Personality Inventory). This is a set of five dimensions that
form the basis of personality: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion,
agreeableness, and neuroticism. Table 7.3 describes these dimensions.
taBle 7.3
Description of Big Five Personality Dimensions
Description
example of Measurement
items (agree/disagree)
Openness to experience
The degree to which a person is
open to new ways of doing things
Love to think up new ways
of doing things
Conscientiousness
The level of organization and
structure a person needs
Am always prepared
extroversion
How well a person tolerates
stimulation from people
Talk to a lot of different
people at parties
agreeableness
The degree to which we defer to
other people
Take time out for others
neuroticism (emotional
instability)
How well a person copes with
stress
Get upset easily
Source: Michael R. Solomon, Rebekah Russell-Bennett, and Josephine Previte, Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having,
Being, 3rd ed., Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia, 2012.
Chapter 7
taBle 7.4
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
The Four Dimensions of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®
Focus of attention
Extroversion (E)
External world
Introversion (I)
Internal world
Take in information
Sensing (S)
Sequential, step-by-step
Intuition (N)
Big picture
Make decisions
Thinking (T)
Step back from the situation,
take an objective view
Feeling (F)
Step into the situation, take
a subjective view
Deal with the outer world
Judging (J)
A planned approach to
meeting the deadline in a
scheduled way
Perceiving (P)
A spontaneous approach to
meeting the deadline with a
rush of activity
Source: Adapted from Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®),https://www.cpp.com (products page/mbti/index.aspx),
accessed March 29, 2015.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, which is based on Jung’s work, is another
widely used personality test. When you apply for a job it is quite possible your potential
employer will ask you to take this test. Depending on a respondent’s preferences within
each of four dimensions as Table 7.4 shows, he or she is assigned to one of 16 four-letter
types.21 Jung believed each of us has “inborn predispositions” along these dimensions that
then interact with the environment to shape personality.
The publishers of the Myers-Briggs test also relate these dimensions to social media
usage. For example, they report that people who use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter,
and LinkedIn are more likely to be Extroverts, use Intuition, and arrive at decisions by
Thinking.22
problems with trait theory in Consumer research
Because consumer researchers categorize large numbers of consumers according to
whether they exhibit various traits, we can apply this approach to segment markets. If a
car manufacturer, for example, determines that drivers who fit a given trait profile prefer a
car with certain features, it can use this information to great advantage. The notion that
consumers buy products that are extensions of their personalities makes intuitive sense.
As we’ll see shortly, many marketing managers endorse this idea as they try to create
brand personalities to appeal to different types of consumers.
Unfortunately, the use of standard personality trait measurements to predict product
choices has met with mixed success at best. In general, marketing researchers simply have
not been able to predict consumers’ behaviors on the basis of measured personality traits.
These are some logical explanations for these less-than-stellar results:23
●● Many of the scales are not sufficiently valid or reliable; they do not adequately mea-
sure what they are supposed to measure, and their results may not be stable over time.
●● Psychologists typically develop personality tests for specific populations (e.g., people
who are mentally ill); marketers then “borrow” them to apply to a more general population where they have questionable relevance.
●● Often marketers don’t administer the tests under the appropriate conditions; people
who are not properly trained may give them in a classroom or at a kitchen table.
●● The researchers often make changes in the instruments to adapt them to their own situations and needs; in the process, they may add or delete items and rename variables.
These ad hoc changes dilute the validity of the measures and also reduce researchers’
ability to compare results across consumer samples.
●● Many trait scales measure gross, overall tendencies (e.g., emotional stability or
introversion); marketers then use these results to make predictions about purchases of
specific brands.
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SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
●● In many cases, marketers ask consumers to respond to a large number of scales with
no advance thought about how they will relate these measures to consumer behavior.
The researchers then use a “shotgun approach” because they follow up on anything
that happens to look interesting. As any statistician will tell you, this approach capitalizes on chance and can produce distorted results that may not be reproducible (or
surface at all) in other studies.
Although marketing researchers largely abandoned the use of personality measures
after many studies failed to yield meaningful results, some researchers have not given up
on the early promise of this line of work. More recent efforts (mainly in Europe) try to learn
from past mistakes. Researchers use more specific measures of personality traits that they
have reason to believe are relevant to economic behavior. They try to increase the validity
of these measures, primarily by including multiple measures of behavior rather than just
a single personality scale. In addition, these researchers tone down their expectations of
what personality traits can tell them about consumers. They now recognize that traits
are only part of the solution; they have to incorporate personality data with information
about people’s social and economic conditions for it to be useful.24 As a result, some more
recent research has had better success at relating personality traits to such consumer
behaviors as alcohol consumption among young men or shoppers’ willingness to try new,
healthier food products.25 Table 7.5 provides some examples of consumer research studies
that tie personality traits to product purchase and use.
taBle 7.5
The Influence of Personality Traits on Consumer Behavior
personality trait
influence on Consumer Behavior
Superstition
Sports fan behavior such as “lucky socks,” the direction of one’s cap on the head, purchase of good luck charms,
refusal to purchase particular items because of bad luck (i.e., opals, peacock feathers, apricots)
Pro-environment
Individual recycling efforts, decreased car usage, increased use of public transport
Romanticism
Movie genre choice, more likely to take risks, prefer warm countries to visit, prefer luxury travel
Willingness to spend money
Spendthrifts save less money and carry more debt than tightwads, so they are higher users of credit cards; more
likely to buy hedonic items than tightwads
Enjoyment of shopping
People who enjoy shopping are more likely to spend time searching for products, resulting in increased product
knowledge
Need for cognition (enjoyment
of thinking)
People who enjoy thinking respond better to words than pictures and are more motivated to spend time
processing the words and reading the “fine print.”
Need for affect (enjoyment of
processing feelings)
People who enjoy feelings respond better to pictures than words; more likely to engage in compulsive behavior;
pictures may encourage impulse buying
Impulsiveness
More likely to experience pleasure than guilt when overeating
Need for uniqueness
People who want to “stand out from the crowd” tend to be opinion leaders; they are more likely to be sources of
information about brands and products for other people
Susceptibility to interpersonal
influence (how influenced a
person is by another)
A person who is easily influenced by others is more likely to prefer wines that offer social benefits such as
prestige
Self-consciousness
People who are concerned with the way they appear to others are less likely to complain directly to a business or
in front of others
Extroversion
Extroverts experience more positive emotions when consuming
Neuroticism
Neurotic people are less likely to repurchase or complain (they just leave), regardless of their level of satisfaction
Source: Michael R. Solomon, Rebekah Russell-Bennett, and Josephine Previte, Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, Being, 3rd ed., Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia, 2012.26
Chapter 7
OBjeCtive 7-2
Brands have
personalities.
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
Brand personality
Are Apple users better than the rest of us? Many of us know
an “Apple-holic” who likes to turn up his or her nose at the
uneducated masses that have to get by with their primitive PCs or
Android phones. In fact, a survey of 20,000 people claims that iPad users are unkind and
have little empathy; it labels them a “selfish elite.” It also described them as “six times more
likely to be wealthy, well-educated, power-hungry, over-achieving, sophisticated, unkind
and non-altruistic 30- to 50-year-olds. They are self-centered workaholics with an overwhelming interest in business and finance who cherish ‘power and achievement’ and will
not cross the street to help others.”27 Ouch! That’s a pretty harsh way to describe people
who happen to gravitate toward a successful brand. Do products as well as their owners
actually have personalities? Let’s step back to explore this intriguing question.
In 1886, a momentous event occurred in marketing history: The Quaker Oats man
first appeared on boxes of hot cereal. Quakers had a reputation in 19th-century America
for being shrewd but fair, and peddlers sometimes dressed as members of this religious
group to cash in on their credibility. When the cereal company decided to “borrow” this
imagery for its packages, it hoped customers might make the same association.28
Today, thousands of brands also borrow personality traits of individuals or groups to convey an image they want customers to form of them. A brand personality is the set of traits
people attribute to a product as if it were a person.29 An advertising agency wrote the following
memo to help it figure out how to portray one of its clients. Based on this description of the “client,” can you guess who he is? “He is creative … unpredictable … an imp…. He not only walks
and talks, but has the ability to sing, blush, wink, and work with little devices like pointers….
He can also play musical instruments…. His walking motion is characterized as a ‘swagger.’ …
He is made of dough and has mass.”30 Of course, we all know today that packaging and other
physical cues create a “personality” for a product (in this case, the Pillsbury Doughboy).
It’s increasingly common for marketers to think carefully about brand personality as
they embrace the communications approach known as brand storytelling. This perspective emphasizes the importance of giving a product a rich background to involve customers in its history or experience. Brand storytelling is based on the tradition of readerresponse theory, which is a widely accepted perspective in literature that focuses on the
role of the reader in interpreting a story rather than just relying upon the author’s version.
This approach recognizes that the consumer does not just want to listen to a manufactured
set of details, but he or she wants to participate in the story by “filling in the blanks.”31
One popular genre of brand storytelling is what a set of researchers described as
an underdog brand biography. This includes details about a brand’s humble origins
and how it defied the odds to succeed. Such a story resonates with consumers because
they can identify with these struggles. Thus, Google, HP, and Apple like to talk about the
garages in which they started. The label on a Nantucket Nectars bottle describes how the
company started “with only a blender and a dream.”32
Anthropomorphism refers to the tendency to attribute human characteristics to
objects or animals. We may think about a cartoon character or mythical creation as if it
were a person and even assume that it has human feelings. Again, consider familiar spokescharacters such as Chester Cheetah from Pringles, the Keebler Elves, or the Michelin
Man—or the frustration some people feel when they come to believe their computer is
smarter than they are or even that it’s “conspiring” to make them crazy! As we saw in our
discussion of sex-typed products in Chapter 6, there is a common tendency in particular
to ascribe a gender to a product. We tend to gravitate toward products that are the same
as our own gender. In one study, a promotional message that depicted a fragrance, digital
camera, and car as either male or female resulted in more positive evaluations when the
item’s (presumed) gender was the same as the respondent’s.34
In a sense, a brand personality is a statement about the brand’s market position.
Understanding this is crucial to marketing strategy, especially if consumers don’t see the
brand the way its makers intend them to and they must attempt to reposition the product
253
Marketing pitfall
Even colleges have brand
personalities—though,
as with other products,
these images aren’t always an accurate (or desirable) reflection of the place. ESPN had to
pull the plug on an advertising campaign for
its collegiate basketball coverage after managers learned that Anomaly, the advertising
agency ESPN had retained for the campaign,
intended to recruit actors who would play the
stereotypical students at numerous schools.
The idea was to have the students stationed
at a call center; they would phone consumers
to convince them to watch their school play
on TV. Here are just a few of the “brand personalities” a leaked memo described:
Tennessee: “a slutty girl who would hang
out at the cowgirl hall of fame.”
●● Duke: “a smart, with it, young white
male. He’s handsome. He’s from money.
He is, in short, the kind of guy everyone
can’t stand. He is the kind of guy everyone wants to be.”
●● Oklahoma: “is awesome and he thinks
everything is awesome. He’s very enthusiastic about all things call center and
all things life and he wants to share this
contagious enthusiasm with everyone he
meets. Wide-eyed, as naive as they come.”
●● Purdue: “child prodigy. 14-year-old. Or
open to an 18-year-old who looks 14.
Aeronautical engineering. Wiz kid. Think
McLovin from Superbad.”
●● Kansas: “straight off the farm. However,
he takes great pains to point out that
Kansas is very cosmopolitan, as witnessed by their record, their burgeoning
tech industry, and their hybrid corns (bonus: modified by fish genes!).”
●● Villanova: “the poor man’s Duke—he’s not
quite as handsome, he’s not quite as rich,
he’s not quite as dapper. After 2 or 3 beers
though, who cares? … he’s friendly enough.”
●● Pittsburgh: “a tomboy. She obviously
grew up in the neighborhood and isn’t
going to take any guff from anyone and
she’ll wallop you in the eye with a crowbar if you suggest different. So don’t.
Think Tina Fey type.”
●● Georgetown: “a 4.36 GPA who’s lived in 9
world-class cities, but all the time in her
sister’s shadow (her GPA is 4.37). She’s
sort of the female Duke, except most people like her. Think Reese Witherspoon.”33
●●
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SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
Quaker Oats was one of the first companies
to create a distinct personality for its brand.
Source: FoodPhotography/Alamy.
(i.e., give it a personality makeover). That’s the problem Volvo now faces: Its cars are
renowned for safety, but drivers don’t exactly see them as exciting or sexy. A safe and solid
brand personality makes it hard to sell a racy convertible like the C70 model, so a British
ad tried to change that perception with the tagline, “Lust, envy, jealousy. The dangers
of a Volvo.” Just as with people, however, you can only go so far to convince others that
your personality has changed. Volvo has been trying to jazz up its image for years, but for
the most part consumers don’t buy it. In a previous attempt in the United Kingdom, the
company paired action images like a Volvo pulling a helicopter off a cliff with the headline
“Safe Sex”—but market research showed that people didn’t believe the new image. As one
Chapter 7
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
255
CB aS i See it
Nira Munichor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
T
hink of an arrogant person you
know. What is your evaluation of this
person? How successful do you think
he or she is? How does this person
make you feel? How uncomfortable
are you in his or her presence? Now,
picture an arrogant brand, a brand that
conveys superiority in addition to a
certain level of disrespect for others.
For example, a brand that states that
it is “Hated by many. Loved by few,”
and that informs you that “You’re not
worthy.” Which attributes do you think
such a brand has? Do you think the
brand is high-quality? And would you
buy a product of such a brand?
My colleague, Professor
Yael Steinhart, and I have been
investigating brand arrogance and
the effects it has on consumers’
decisions, behaviors, and even wellbeing. Arrogance is an interesting
trait in that it comprises both positive
and negative aspects. On one hand,
consumers think of arrogant brands
(like arrogant people) as being high
in status and quality, which suggests
that consumers should find these
brands appealing. On the other hand,
arrogance makes consumers feel
uncomfortable and inferior, and they
might therefore be put off by arrogant
brands (just as they might be put off by
arrogant people).
How does the complex array of
positive and negative associations
that arrogant brands evoke influence
consumers’ purchase decisions? All
told, does arrogance make a brand
more or less attractive for consumers?
We have discovered that the answers
to these questions depend on who the
consumer is, and, in particular, how
positive or negative the consumer’s
brand consultant observed, “You get the sort of feeling you get when you see your grandparents trying to dance the latest dance. Slightly amused and embarrassed.”35
Many of the most recognizable figures in popular culture are spokescharacters for
long-standing brands, such as the Jolly Green Giant, the Keebler Elves, Mr. Peanut, or
Charlie the Tuna.36 These personalities periodically get a makeover to keep their meanings current. For example, Bayer recast Speedy Alka-Seltzer: In the 1950s and later, he
was an all-around good guy who was ready to help with any sort of indigestion. Today, he
appears as a “wingman” for men in their 20s and 30s who tend to “overindulge” on food
and drink. (Do you know anyone who fits this description?) The creative director on the
campaign explained that the goal is to introduce Speedy as “the good-times enabler who
shows up whenever guys are being guys.”37
Forging a successful brand personality often is key to building brand loyalty, but it’s
not as easy to accomplish as it might appear. One reason is that many consumers (particularly younger ones) have a sensitive “BS detector” that alerts them when a brand
doesn’t live up to its claims or is somehow inauthentic. When this happens, the strategy
may backfire as consumers rebel. They may create Web sites to attack the brand or post
self-evaluation is. When people feel
good about themselves, namely,
when they have high self-esteem
and high self-confidence, they tend
to be less sensitive to criticism.
Similarly, consumers with positive
self-perceptions are less sensitive to
the sense of inferiority that arrogant
brands induce. Consequently,
these consumers focus on the
positive connotations inherent in
brand arrogance, and are inclined
to prefer an arrogant brand over a
comparable non-arrogant alternative.
In contrast, consumers with negative
self-perceptions, those who feel
unconfident and have low selfesteem, find it difficult to tolerate
any additional harm to their selfview. These consumers are therefore
motivated to resist arrogant brands
that might cause them to feel inferior,
and to prefer alternatives.
Interestingly, arrogant brand
resistance, which at first glance
might seem to be a defensive act of
withdrawal, appears to be beneficial
for consumers, and may help them
improve their self-perceptions. We
have found that consumers with
negative self-evaluations feel better
about themselves after they resist an
arrogant brand.
256
SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
A study found that consumers infer strong
differences in a wine’s “personality” based
on the bottle’s label design.
Personality Traits
Low
Sincerity
Down-to-earth
Honest
Wholesome
Cheerful
Excitement
Daring
Spirited
Imaginative
Up-to-date
Competence
Reliable
Intelligent
Successful
Sophistication
Upper class
Charming
Ruggedness
Outdoorsy
Tough
Source: Reprinted with permission from Journal
of Marketing, published by the American Marketing
Association, Ulrich R. Orth & Keven Malkewitz,
May 2008, Vol. 72, p. 73.
High
parodies that make fun of it on YouTube. One set of researchers terms this phenomenon
a Doppelgänger brand image (one that looks like the original but is in fact a critique
of it). For example, many consumers were immensely loyal to the Snapple brand until
Quaker purchased it. These loyalists felt that Quaker had stripped the brand of its offbeat,
grassroots sensibility; one shock jock renamed it “Crapple” on his radio show.38
Chapter 7
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
257
Many of the most recognizable figures in
popular culture are spokescharacters for
long-standing brands.
Source: Franck Fotos/Alamy.
So, how do people think about brands? We use some personality dimensions to compare and contrast the perceived characteristics of brands in various product categories,
including these:39
●● Old-fashioned, wholesome, traditional
●● Surprising, lively, “with it”
●● Serious, intelligent, efficient
●● Glamorous, romantic, sexy
●● Rugged, outdoorsy, tough, athletic
258
SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
Marketing pitfall
When a regional carrier
called USAir was purchased in the late 1990s,
the buyer decided that the
name sounded too regional. He hired a branding firm to find a new
one. The rebranding process took 9 months and
was reported to cost almost $40 million. The new
name: US Airways.
Indeed, consumers appear to have little trouble assigning personality qualities to all
sorts of inanimate products, from personal care products to more mundane, functional
ones—even kitchen appliances. Whirlpool’s research showed that people saw its products as more feminine than they saw competing brands. When respondents were asked
to imagine the appliance as a person, many of them pictured a modern, family-oriented
woman living in the suburbs—attractive but not flashy. In contrast, they envisioned the
company’s Kitchen Aid brand as a modern professional woman who was glamorous,
wealthy, and enjoyed classical music and the theater.40
A product that creates and communicates a distinctive brand personality stands out
from its competition and inspires years of loyalty. However, personality analysis helps
marketers identify a brand’s weaknesses that have little to do with its functional qualities:
Adidas asked kids in focus groups to imagine that the brand came to life and was at a party
and to tell what they would expect the brand to be doing there. The kids responded that
Adidas would be hanging around the keg with its pals, talking about girls. Unfortunately,
they also said Nike would be with the girls!41 The results reminded Adidas’ brand managers that they had some work to do.42
Just as we rely on all sorts of cues to infer a human being’s personality including facial
features, body type, clothing, home decoration, and so on the same is true when we try to figure
out brand personality. A product’s design is an obvious cue (Apple is “sleek,” IKEA is “practical”). Packaging is another, as we saw in Chapter 3, that shapes and colors link to meanings.
Another important cue is a brand name: Although Shakespeare wrote “a rose by any
other name would smell as sweet,” in reality a name does make a difference. That’s why
you order mahi-mahi instead of dolphin, Chilean sea bass instead of Patagonian toothfish,
and you buy dried plums rather than prunes. Companies typically pay professional “namers” up to $75,000 to come up with a good one that makes a memorable statement about
brand personality, and of course millions more to put the marketing muscle behind it that
makes the name a household word.
Although Steve Jobs came up with Apple (and stuck with it despite a lawsuit from The
Beatles) and Sir Richard Branson thought of Virgin, in many cases the naming decision is
carefully made by a team of branding experts and sometimes carefully scrutinized as well.
This is especially true for pharmaceutical products because the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) makes sure that the name doesn’t make claims it can’t support: Rogaine, the hairrestoring medication, was originally named Regain but the FDA didn’t approve. In addition,
it’s important that a drug name can’t be mistaken for another medication. A heartburn treatment named Losec became Prilosec so that people wouldn’t confuse it with the diuretic Lasix
(that would not be a happy day for the patient). The FDA goes so far as to conduct handwriting
tests on proposed names to be sure pharmacists won’t fill a prescription with a similar drug.43
In other categories, the goal is more straightforward: Break through the clutter and
get noticed. Today that sometimes means a name that borders on the vulgar, but it gets
our attention. Hapi Food cereal (that offers laxative properties) switched its name to Holy
Crap cereal after a customer used that term to describe the product’s benefits. You can buy
a Kickass Cupcake, and wash it down with wines called Sassy Bitch or Fat Bastard. The
HVLS Fan Company (short for high volume, low speed) was moving sluggishly until the
owner changed the name to Big Ass Fans.44
OBjeCtive 7-3
A lifestyle defines a
pattern of consumption
that reflects a person’s
choices of how to
spend his or her time
and money, and these
choices are essential to
define consumer identity.
lifestyles and Consumer identity
Are you an e-sports fan, or is the idea of getting your kicks by
watching other people play video games a bit strange? Maybe
Amazon knows something you don’t; the company paid almost $1
billion to acquire the Twitch Web site where many of these contests
occur.45 Although still under the radar for many of us, competitive
video gaming has become a major “athletic” activity. Millions of
people watch e-sports on television. Today some video game players are celebrities with their own fan base and merchandise. The
Chapter 7
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
259
E-sports attracts millions of fans around
the world.
Source: Imaginechina/Corbis.
sport is especially hot in South Korea, where a couple is as likely to go on a date to a game
club as to the movies. One live tournament there drew 100,000 spectators. 46 Take that,
Super Bowl.
Consumers who choose to spend hours watching their heroes play videogames make
choices: how to spend their time and how to spend their money. Each of us makes similar
choices everyday and often two quite similar people in terms of basic categories such as
gender, age, income, and place of residence still prefer to spend their time and money in
markedly different ways. We often see this strong variation among students at the same
university, even though many of them come from similar backgrounds. A “typical” college student (if there is such a thing) may dress much like his or her friends, hang out in
the same places, and like the same foods, yet still indulge a passion for marathon running,
stamp collecting, or acid jazz. According to The Urban Dictionary, some of the undergraduates at your school may fall into one of these categories:48
●● Metro: You just can’t walk past a Banana Republic store without making a purchase.
You own 20 pairs of shoes, half a dozen pairs of sunglasses, just as many watches,
and you carry a man-purse. You see a stylist instead of a barber because barbers don’t
do highlights. You can make lamb shanks and risotto for dinner and Eggs Benedict for
breakfast … all from scratch. You shave more than just your face. You also exfoliate
and moisturize.
●● Hesher: A Reebok-wearing, mulleted person in acid-washed jeans and a Judas Priest
T-shirt who still lives in his or her parents’ basement, swears that he or she can really
rock out on his or her Ibanez Stratocaster copy guitar, and probably owns a Nova that
hasn’t run in five years.
●● Emo: Someone into soft-core punk music that integrates high-pitched, overwrought
lyrics and inaudible guitar riffs. He or she wears tight wool sweaters, tighter jeans,
itchy scarves (even in the summer), ripped chucks with their favorite band’s signature,
black square-rimmed glasses, and ebony greasy unwashed hair that is required to
cover at least three-fifths of the face at an angle.
In traditional societies, class, caste, village, or family largely dictate a person’s consumption options. In a modern consumer society, however, each of us is free (at least
within our budgets) to select the set of products, services, and activities that define our
self and, in turn, create a social identity we communicate to others. Lifestyle defines a
the tangled Web
The explosive popularity
of e-sports has created a
downside for some celebrity gamers. In the last
few years, a popular—and
costly—prank that initially targeted movie and
music stars has made its way into the e-sports
world. It’s called swatting, and it involves
phone calls and texts to police departments
that falsely report wrongdoing at a celebrity’s
home (such as the rapper Lil Wayne). These
alarms prompt a visit from a SWAT team that
descends on the house. The competitive nature of e-sports creates rivalries and grudges
and some players decide this is a fun and public way to get back at another player.47
260
SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
Thousands of people who are into cosplay
strut their stuff at Comic Con conventions.
Source: Jamie Pham Photography/Alamy.
Marketing Opportunity
Trend trackers find some
of the most interesting—
and rapidly changing—microcultures in Japan, where
young women start many
trends that eventually make their way around
the world. One is Onna Otaku (she-nerds):
girls who get their geek on as they stock up on
femme-friendly comics, gadgets, and action figures instead of makeup and clothes. Another is
the growing cosplay movement, a form of performance art in which participants wear elaborate costumes that represent a virtual world
avatar or other fictional character. These outfits often depict figures from manga, anime, or
other forms of graphic novels, but they can also
take the form of costumes from movies such
as The Matrix, Star Wars, Harry Potter, or even
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (cosplay cafés in
Tokyo feature waitresses who dress as maids).
This role-playing subculture appears in various
forms in Western culture as well, as anyone
who attended one of the many Comic Con conventions held in U.S. cities can attest.50
pattern of consumption that reflects a person’s choices of how to spend his or her time and
money. These choices play a key role in defining consumer identity.49 Whether Tuners,
Dead Heads, or skinheads, each lifestyle subculture exhibits its own unique set of norms,
vocabulary, and product insignias. These subcultures often form around fictional characters and events, and they help to define the extended self (see Chapter 6). Numerous
lifestyles thrive on their collective worship of mythical and not-so-mythical worlds and
characters that range from the music group Phish to Hello Kitty.
Marketers also think about lifestyle in terms of how much time we have available to
do what we’d like and what we choose to do with that leisure time. In 2014, Americans
between the ages of 25 and 54 who are employed on average spent 8.7 hours working, 2.5
hours on leisure activities, and 1 hour eating and drinking in a typical day. 51 In contrast,
although full-time college students on average also devote an hour per day to eating and
drinking, they spent 3.3 hours on educational activities, 2.2 hours working, 1.4 hours
traveling, 4 hours on leisure—and 0.8 hour on grooming.52 Figure 7.2 shows how U.S.
consumers more generally allocate their time.
A lifestyle marketing perspective recognizes that people sort themselves into
groups on the basis of the things they like to do, how they like to spend their leisure
time, and how they choose to spend their disposable income.53 The growing number of
niche magazines and Web sites that cater to specialized interests reflects the spectrum of
choices available to us in today’s society. The downside of this is obvious to the newspaper
industry; several major papers have already had to shut down their print editions because
people consume most of their information online.
A lifestyle is much more than how we allocate our discretionary income. It is a statement about who one is in society and who one is not. Group identities, whether of hobbyists, athletes, or drug users, gel around distinctive consumption choices. Social scientists
use a number of terms to describe such self-definitions in addition to lifestyle, including
taste public, consumer group, symbolic community, and status culture.54
A goal of lifestyle marketing is to allow consumers to pursue their chosen ways to
enjoy their lives and express their social identities. For this reason, a key aspect of this
strategy is to focus on people who use products in desirable social settings. The desire to
associate a product with a social situation is a long-standing one for advertisers, whether
they include the product in a round of golf, a family barbecue, or a night at a glamorous
club surrounded by the hip-hop elite.55 Thus, people, products, and settings combine to
express a consumption style, as Figure 7.3 diagrams.
Chapter 7
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
261
Figure 7.2 HOW U.S. CONSUMERS
ALLOCATE THEIR TIME
Courtesy of The Hartman Group, Inc.
OBjeCtive 7-4
It can be more useful
to identify patterns
of consumption than
knowing about individual
purchases when organizations craft a lifestyle
marketing strategy.
product Complementarity
and Co-Branding Strategies
The designer Ralph Lauren has crafted a classic lifestyle brand
that people around the world associate with U.S. taste. He built his
Polo empire on an image that evokes country homes and sheepdogs. At the company’s elegant flagship store in Manhattan that
is a refurbished mansion, one business journalist wrote, “While
men who look like lawyers search for your size shirt and ladies
who belong at deb parties suggest complementary bags and shoes,
you experience the ultimate in lifestyle advertising.” Not bad for a guy born in the Bronx
to a Jewish housepainter; his original name was Ralph Lifshitz. Now the Lauren empire
is expanding beyond clothing, fragrances, and home accessories to restaurants in Paris,
Chicago, and New York. You can eat the American Dream while you wear it.56
Figure 7.3 CONSUMPTION STyLE
2’4510
241&7%6
.+(’56;.’
5’66+0)
262
SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
We get a clearer picture of how people use products to define lifestyles when we see
how they make choices in a variety of product categories. A lifestyle marketing perspective implies that we must look at patterns of behavior to understand consumers. As one
study noted, “All goods carry meaning, but none by itself…. The meaning is in the relations
between all the goods, just as music is in the relations marked out by the sounds and not in
any one note.”57
Indeed, many products and services do seem to “go together,” usually because the same
types of people tend to select them. In many cases, products do not seem to “make sense” if
companion products don’t accompany them (e.g., fast food and paper plates, or a suit and tie)
or are incongruous in the presence of other products that have a different personality (e.g., a
Chippendale chair in a high-tech office or discount cigarettes paired with a solid gold lighter).
Therefore, an important part of lifestyle marketing is to identify the set of products
and services that consumers associate with a specific lifestyle. In fact, research evidence
suggests that even a relatively unattractive product becomes more appealing when
consumers link it with other products that they do like.58 Furthermore, when people
consume multiple products that are labeled with the same brand they actually like them
more: They believe that these items were deliberately developed to go together.59
The meshing of objects from many different categories to express a single lifestyle idea is
at the heart of many consumption decisions, including coordinating an outfit for a big date
(shoes, garments, fragrance, etc.), decorating a room (tables, carpet, wallpaper, etc.), and
designing a restaurant (menu, ambience, waitperson uniforms, etc.). Many people today
evaluate products not just in terms of function but also in terms of how well their design
coordinates with other objects and furnishings. Marketers who understand these crosscategory relationships may pursue co-branding strategies where they team up with other
companies to promote two or more items. Some marketers even match up their spokescharacters in ads; the Pillsbury Doughboy appeared in a commercial with the Sprint Guy to
pitch cell phones, the lonely Maytag repairman was in an ad for the Chevrolet Impala, and
the Taco Bell Chihuahua (now retired) showed up in a commercial for GEICO insurance.60
Product complementarity occurs when the symbolic meanings of different products relate to one another.61 Consumers use these sets of products we call a consumption constellation to define, communicate, and perform social roles.62 For example,
we identified the U.S. “yuppie” of the 1980s by such products as a Rolex watch, a BMW
automobile, a Gucci briefcase, a squash racket, fresh pesto, white wine, and brie cheese.
Researchers find that even children are adept at creating consumption constellations, and
as they get older they tend to include more brands in these cognitive structures.63
OBjeCtive 7-5
Psychographics
go beyond simple
demographics to help
marketers understand
and reach different
consumer segments.
psychographics
When Cadillac introduced its Escalade SUV, critics scoffed at
the bizarre pairing of this old-line luxury brand with a truck.
However, consumers quickly associated the vehicle with the hiphop lifestyle. Artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Outkast, and Jay Z
referred to it in songs, and Jermaine Dupri proclaimed, “Gotta
have me an Escalade.” Three years later, Cadillac rolled out its
18-foot Escalade EXT pickup with a sticker price of $50,000.
The Escalade brand manager describes the target customer for luxury pickups as a
slightly earthier version of the SUV buyer. She says that although the two drivers may
own $2 million homes next door to each other, the typical luxury SUV driver is about
50, has an MBA from Harvard, belongs to a golf club, maintains connections with his
college friends, and works hard at keeping up with the Joneses. In contrast, the luxury
pickup driver is roughly 5 years younger. He might have inherited his father’s construction business, and he’s been working since he was 18 years old. He may or may not have
attended college, and unlike the SUV driver, he is absolutely still connected to his high
school friends.64
As this example shows, marketers often find it useful to develop products that appeal
to different lifestyle subcultures. When marketers combine personality variables with
Chapter 7
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
263
Cadillac developed a luxury SUV and then
a luxury pickup to appeal to two distinct
psychographic segments.
Source: Evox Productions/Drive Images/Alamy.
knowledge of lifestyle preferences, they have a powerful lens they can focus on consumer
segments. It’s common to create a fictional profile of a “core customer” who inspires product design and communications decisions. For example, Chip Wilson, who founded the
popular clothing company Lululemon, relied on a “muse” he made up: A 32-year-old professional single woman named Ocean who makes $100,000 a year. He described Ocean as
“engaged, has her own condo, is traveling, fashionable, has an hour and a half to work out
a day.” This ideal user, according to Wilson, appeals to all women: “If you’re 20 years old
or you’re graduating from university, you can’t wait to be that woman. If you’re 42 years
old with a couple children, you wish you had that time back.” Lululemon added a male
“muse” when the company moved into menswear: Duke is 35 and an “athletic opportunist” who surfs in the summer and snowboards in the winter. When he got involved in a
new company, Kit and Ace, sure enough Wilson helped to come up with two new muses:
“Kit, a 29-year-old single woman who ‘is looking to buy her first apartment, but is still
264
SeCtiOn 2
Internal Influences on Consumer Behavior
renting. She works in the creative area, like in graphic design or fashion, and loves to bike
on weekends,’ and Ace, a 32-year-old similarly groovy guy, who drinks strong coffee, ‘likes
to go to breweries and hangs out with his friends. He does CrossFit once a week and spins
three times a week, loves brunch on the weekends.’”65 Sound like anyone you know (hint:
definitely not your humble author!)?
Psychographics involves the “use of psychological, sociological, and anthropological factors … to determine how the market is segmented by the propensity of groups within
the market—and their reasons—to make a particular decision about a product, person,
ideology, or otherwise hold an attitude or use a medium.”66 Marketers use many psychographic variables to segment consumers, but all of these dimensions go beyond surface
characteristics to investigate consumers’ motivations for purchasing and using products.
Demographics allow us to describe who buys, but psychographics tells us why they do. A
classic example involves a popular Canadian advertising campaign for Molson Export beer
that included insights from psychographic findings. The company’s research showed that
Molson’s target customers tend to be like boys who never grew up, who were uncertain
about the future, and who were intimidated by women’s newfound freedoms. Accordingly,
the ads featured a group of men, “Fred and the boys,” whose get-togethers emphasized
male companionship, protection against change, and the reassuring message that the beer
“keeps on tasting great.”67
how Do We perform a psychographic analysis?
Psychographic studies take several different forms:
●● A lifestyle profile looks for items that differentiate between users and nonusers of a
product.
●● A product-specific profile identifies a target group and then profiles these consumers on
product-relevant dimensions.
●● A general lifestyle segmentation study places a large sample of respondents into homog-
enous groups based on similarities of their overall preferences.
●● A product-specific segmentation study tailors questions to a product category. For exam-
ple, if a researcher wants to conduct research for a stomach medicine, she might rephrase the item, “I worry too much” as, “I get stomach problems if I worry too much.”
This allows her to more finely discriminate among users of competing brands.68
aiOs
Most contemporary psychographic research attempts to group consumers according
to some combination of three categories of variables: activities, interests, and opinions,
which we call AIOs for short. Using data from large samples, marketers create profiles of
customers who resemble each other in terms of their activities and patterns of product
usage.69 Table 7.6 lists commonly used AIO dimensions.
To group consumers into AIO categories, researchers give respondents a long list of
statements and ask them to indicate how much they agree with each one. Thus, we can
“boil down” a person’s lifestyle by discovering how he or she spends time, what he or she
finds interesting and important, and how he or she views himself or herself and the world
around him or her.
Typically, the first step in conducting a psychographic analysis is to determine which
lifestyle segments yield the bulk of customers for a particular product. This strategy
reflects the 80/20 rule we first discussed in Chapter 1. This rule reminds us that, in many
cases, only one or a few lifestyle segments account for the majority of sales.70
Psychographic techniques help marketers to identify their heavy users. Then they can
better understand how they relate to the brand and the benefits they derive from it. For
instance, marketers at the beginning of the walking-shoe craze assumed that all purchasers
were basically burned-out joggers. Subsequent psychographic research showed that there
were actually several different groups of “walkers,” ranging from those who walk to get to
work to those who walk for fun. This realization resulted in shoes that manufacturers aimed
at different segments, from Footjoy Joy-Walkers to Nike Healthwalkers.
Chapter 7
Personality, Lifestyles, and Values
265
The makers of the popular Sigg water bottle,
which is available in many different designs,
actually choose from about 3,000 different
concepts each year with specific customers in mind. These include the Whole Foods
Woman, who lives in a city, practices yoga,
and buys organic produce; and the Geek
Chic Guy, who listens to Radiohead and
wears vintage Converse sneakers.
Source: Winston Wong/Alamy.
Marketers use the results of these studies to:
●● Define the target market This information allows the marketer to go beyond simple
demographic or product usage descriptions (e.g., middle-aged men or frequent users).
●● Create a new view of the market Sometimes marketers create their strategies with a
“typical” customer in mind. This stereotype may not be correct because the actual customer may not match these assumptions. For example, marketers of a face cream for
women were surprised to find that older, widowed women were their heavy users rather
than the younger, sociable women to whom they were pitching their appeals.
taBle 7.6
AIO Dimensions
activities
interests
Opinions
Demographics
Work
Family
Themselves
Age
Hobbies
Home
Social issues
Education
Social events
Job
Politics
Income
Vacation
Community
Business
Occupation
Entertainment
Recreation
Economics
Family size
Club membership
Fashion
Education
Dwelling
Community
Food
Products
Geography
Shopping
Media
Future
City size
Sports
Achievements
Culture
Stage in life cycle
Source: William D. Wells and Douglas J. Tigert, “Activities, Interests, and Opinions,” Journal of Advertising Research
11 (August 1971): 27–35. ©…
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