Personality and Consumer Behavior

Personality and Consumer Behavior

The Nature of Personality

n   Personality reflects individual differences

n   Personality is consistent and enduring

n   Personality can change

Theories of Personality

n    Freudian theory

u  Unconscious needs or drives are at the heart of human motivation

n    Neo-Freudian personality theory

u  Social relationships are fundamental to the formation and development of personality

n    Trait theory

u  Qualitative approach to personality as a set of psychological traits

Freudian Theory

n    Id

u  Warehouse of primitive or instinctual needs for which individual seeks immediate satisfaction

n    Superego

u  Individual’s internal expression of society’s moral and ethical codes of conduct

n    Ego

u  Individual’s conscious control that balances the demands of the id and superego

Freudian Theory and
“Product Personality”

n   Consumer researchers using Freud’s personality theory to see consumer purchases as a reflection and extension of the consumer’s own personality

Horney’s CAD Theory

n   Using the context of child-parent relationships, individuals can be classified into:

u Compliant individuals

u Aggressive individuals

u Detached individuals

Trait Theory

n   Personality theory with a focus on psychological characteristics

n   Trait – any distinguishing, relatively enduring way in which one individual differs from another

n   Personality is linked to how consumers make their choices or to consumption of a broad product category – not a specific brand
Personality Traits and Consumer Innovators

n   Innovativeness

n   Dogmatism

n   Social Character

n   Need for uniqueness

n   Optimum stimulation level

n   Variety-novelty seeking


n   Consumers low in dogmatism (open-minded) are more likely to prefer innovative products to established or traditional alternatives

n   Highly dogmatic consumers tend to be more receptive to ads for new products or services that contain an appeal from an authoritative figure

Social Character


n    Consumers who tend to rely on their own inner values

n    More likely to be innovators

n    Tend to prefer ads that stress product features and benefits


n    Consumers who tend to look to others for direction

n    Less likely to be innovators

n    Tend to prefer ads that feature social acceptance

Cognitive Personality Factors

n   Need for cognition

u A person’s craving for enjoyment of thinking

n   Visualizers versus verbalizers

u A person’s preference for information presented visually or verbally

Need for Cognition (NC)

n   Consumers high in NC are more likely to respond to ads rich in product-related information

n   Consumers low in NC are more likely to be attracted to background or peripheral aspects of an ad

From Consumer Materialism to Compulsive Consumption

n    Consumer materialism

u  The extent to which a person is considered “materialistic”

n    Fixed consumption behavior

u  Consumers fixated on certain products or categories of products

n    Compulsive consumption behavior

u  “Addicted” or “out-of-control” consumers

Materialistic People

n   Value acquiring and showing-off possessions

n   Are particularly self-centered and selfish

n   Seek lifestyles full of possessions

n   Have many possessions that do not lead to greater happiness

Fixated Consumption Behavior

n    Consumers have

u  a deep interest in a particular object or product category

u  a willingness to go to considerable lengths to secure items in the category of interest

u   the dedication of a considerable amount of discretionary time and money to searching out the product

n    Examples: collectors, hobbyists

Consumer Ethnocentrism

n   Ethnocentric consumers feel it is wrong to purchase foreign-made products

n   They can be targeted by stressing nationalistic themes

Brand Personality

n   Personality-like traits associated with brands

n   Volvo  – safety

n   Nike  – the athlete

n   BMW – performance

n   Levi’s 501 – dependable and rugged

Different Self-Images

Ad Contemplates Consumer Self-Image