What is Personality: to understand how personality reflects
consumer’s inner differences
- the study of personality has been looked at in two way; one being the dual
influence of heredity and early childhood experiences on personality
development, and others say that it is the environment that affects
- Personality can be defined at those inner psychological characteristics that
both determine and reflect how a person responds to his or her environment
- In the study of personality there are three distinct properties of central
1) personality reflects individual differences
- no individual’s are exactly the same,
- personality is useful because it enables us to categorize consumers into
different groups on the basis of one or several traits
2) personality is consistent and enduring
- even though consumers’ personalities may be consistent their consumption
behavior often varies considerably because of the various psychological,
sociocultural, environmental and situational factors that affect behavior.
- Responses to newly available brands may cause a change in a person’s
3) Personality can change
- a personality may be altered my major life events
- a persons personality changed as part of a gradual maturing process.
Theories of Personality: to understand how Freudian, Neo-
Freudian, and trait theories each explain the influence of personality on consumers’
attitudes and behavior.
- this section reviews three major theories of personality
1) Freudian Theory
- Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality was built on the
premise that unconscious needs or drives, especially sexual and other
biological drives, are at the heart of human motivation and personality.
- Personality consists of three interacting systems
- 1) id, which is like a warehouse of basic physiological needs such as
thirst, hunger, and sex for which the individual seeks immediate
satisfaction without concern
- 2) superego, is the individuals internal expression of society’s moral
and conduct. It basically acts as a brake to make sure that the individual
satisfied needs in a socially acceptable fashion.
- 3) ego, is the individuals conscious control. It functions as the internal
monitor that attempts to balance the impulsive demands of the Id and
the sociocultural constraints of the superego.
2) Non-Freudian Personality Theory
- Several of Freud’s colleagues disagreed with his contention that personality
is primarily instinctual and sexual in nature.
- Neo-Freudians believed that social relationships are fundamental to the
formation and development of personality
- Alfred Adler viewed human beings as seeking to attain various rational goals,
which he called style of life.
- Henry Stack Sullivan stressed that people continuously attempt to establish
rewarding relationships with others, he also focused on the individuals
efforts to reduce anxiety
- Karen Horney was also interested in anxiety, she focused on the impact of
child-parent relationships and the individuals desire to conquer feeling of
anxiety. She proposed that individuals be classified into three personality
- 1) Compliant individuals: are those who move towards others (they desire to
be loved, wanted, and appreciated)
- 2) Aggressive Individuals: are those who move against others (they desire to
excel and win admiration)
- 3) Detached individuals: are those who move away from others (they desire
independence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and individualism or freedom
3) Trait Theory
- the orientation of trait theory is primarily quantitative or empirical, it
focuses on measurement of personality in terms of specific traits.
- Focus on measurement of personality in terms of traits
- Trait any distinguishing realitvely enduring way in which one individual
differs from another
- Personality is linked to broad product categories and NOT specific brands
Personality and Understanding Consumer
behavior: to understand how personality reflects consumers’ responses to
product and marketing messages
Consumer Innovativeness and Related Personality Traits
- marketing practitioners try to learn all they can about consumer
innovators, those who are open to new ideas and to be among first to try
new products, services, or practices.
- The trait of consumer innovativeness has been lined to the need for
stimulation, novelty seeking, and the need for uniqueness.
- Customer innovativeness is a key factor influencing brand extensions, and
therefore firms bringing out a brand extension should consider a strategy
that targets the more innovative consumer.
- A “General” consumer: “I would rather stick to a brand I usually buy than try
something I am not very sure of,” “When I go to a restarunt, I feel it is safer to
order dishes I am familiar with.”
- A “Domain Specific” consumer: “compared to my friends, I own a few rock
albums,” “I am the last in my circle of friends to know the titles of the latest
- Dogmatism, is personality traits that reflects the degree of rigidity (not
adaptable) a person displays toward the unfamiliar and toward information
that is contrary to his or her own established belief (opposite of
- Consumers who are low in dogmatism (open-minded) are more likely to
prefer innovative products to established or traditional alternatives.
- Highly dogmatic (closed-minded) consumers are more likely to choose
established, rather than innovative product alternatives.
- Social character is a personality trait that ranges on a continuum from
inner-directedness to other-directedness
- Inner directed consumers tend to rely on their own inner values or
standards in evaluating new products. They seem to prefer ads that stress
product feautres and personal benefits.
- Other directed consumers tend to look to others for guidance as to what is
appropriate, they are less likely to be consumer innovators. They seem to
prefer ads that feature an approving social environment or social acceptance,
are more responsive to appeals that are based on social or group affiliations.
- High Optimum stimulation levels are linked with greater willingness to
take risks, to try new products, to be innovative, to seek purchase related
information, and to accept new retail facilities than low OSLs.
- Sensation seeking has been defined as a trait characterized by the need for
varied, novel, and complex sensation, and the willingness to take physical
and social risks for the sake of such experience. For example teenagers who
do dumb things for the excitement.
- There tend to be many different types of consumer-variety seeking:
1) exploratory purchase behavior: is switching brands to experience new,
different and possible better alternatives
2) vicarious exploration: securing information about a new or different
alternative and then contemplating or even day dreaming about the option
3) use innovativeness: using an already adopted product in a new or novel