The Self - Kalsher

The Self
Michael J. Kalsher
MGMT 4460/6940
Summer 2014
Chapter Objectives
 The
self-concept strongly influences consumer behavior.
 Products often play a pivotal role in defining the self-concept.
 Sex-role identity is different from gender, and society’s
expectations of masculinity and femininity help to determine
the products we buy to be consistent with these
 A person’s sex-role identity is a major component of selfdefinition. The media plays a key role in teaching us how to
behave as “proper” males and females.
 The way we think about our bodies (and the way our culture
tells us we should think) is a key component of self-esteem.
Perspective on the Self
 We
buy products to highlight/hide aspects of the self
 Eastern cultures focus on:
The collective self (person’s identity comes from group)
The interdependent self (person’s identity defined from
relationships with others)
 Western
cultures focus on:
Individual appearance
 The
beliefs a person holds about his/her own attributes,
and how he/she evaluates these qualities
 Attribute
Content (e.g., facial attractiveness, mental aptitude)
Positivity (e.g., self-esteem)
Intensity, stability over time, accuracy (i.e., the degree to which
one’s self-assessment corresponds to reality).
There is considerable variation in how people choose to
weight each dimension when they evaluate the overall self.
 Self-esteem
Degree of positivity of a person’s self-concept
 People with low self-esteem:
Expect failure and try to avoid embarrassment
 Prefer portion-controlled snacks because they lack self-control
People with high self-esteem:
Expect to be successful and will take risks; Enjoy being center of attention
 Ads
can trigger social comparison
Is the current practice of depicting attractive models using
products a good or bad idea?
Self-esteem advertising (stimulates positive feelings about oneself)
Real and Ideal Selves
 Ideal
self: our conception of how
we would like to be.
 Actual self: a more realistic selfappraisal of our qualities.
Distance between the two impacts
Products can be designed/positioned
to help us to reach our “ideal self” or
for consistency with our “actual self.”
 Impression
working to “manage” what others
think of us.
Provides online plastic surgery
digital imaging to enable people to
see the potential results of
cosmetic surgery (“ideal self”).
Using computer software and indepth knowledge of plastic surgery,
user-submitted photographs are
morphed to simulate the results of
many plastic surgery procedures.
Multiple Selves
 People
often have many selves and roles that are situationdependent.
Marketers pitch products to facilitate active role identities.
To be successful, these efforts must ensure the appropriate
role identity is active before pitching the product—timing is
Pro athlete
American citizen
Virtual Identities
 People
are assuming virtual identities in cyberspace
 Avatars represent visual identity
 How do online “selves” affect consumer behavior?
Click photo for
Symbolic Interactionism
 Symbolic
interactionism: Our relationships with others
play a large part in forming the self.
 We pattern our behavior on the perceived expectations
of others (which sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy).
“Who am I in this situation?”
“Who do other people think I am?”
 As
a society we learn to agree on shared meanings of
certain symbols, including brands of products:
Mercedes, Chevy Hyundai
Harvard, U of NY at Binghamton, University of Central
L’Oreal, Suave, Burt’s Bees “No tears”
Looking-Glass Self
 The
idea that a person's self
grows out of society's
interpersonal interactions and the
perceptions of others. The term
refers to people shaping their selfconcepts based on their
understanding of how others
perceive them.
 We
gain clues about our own
identity by “bouncing” signals off
others and trying to guess what
impression they have of us.
Charles Horton Cooley
1864 – 1929
 Self-consciousness
Awareness of self
 Research
indicates that those who score high in:
Public self-consciousness - are more interested in clothing and
use more cosmetics
Self-monitoring - are more greatly attuned to how they
present themselves in social environments
Self-Monitoring Scale
Consumption and Self-Concept
 Identity
marketing: The practice in which consumers
alter some aspects of their selves to advertise for a branded
 Product consumption = definition of the self
Great Northern Brewing Company’s annual
Black Star Beer Tattoo Contest
You Are What You Consume
 Social
identity as a function of consumption behaviors.
Question: Who am I now?
Answer: To some extent, your possessions!
 People
often make inferences about another person’s
personality based on their consumption patterns.
 Consumers may attach themselves to a specific product
to form—or maintain—their self-concept
 Symbolic
self-completion theory
Suggests that people who have an incomplete self-definition
complete it by acquiring and displaying representative symbols.
Can be traumatic if these items are lost/stolen.
Self/Product Congruence
 Consumers
demonstrate their values through their
purchase behavior
 Self-image congruence models: suggests that we
choose products whose attributes match our self-image.
Product Usage
The Extended Self
 Extended
external objects that we consider
a part of us comprise the
extended self; tied to the amount
of psychic investment
 Levels
of extended self
Individual (personal possessions, such
as cars, clothing, jewelry)
Family (residence and furnishings)
Community (neighborhood or town in
which you live)
Group (the types of groups you belong
Gender Differences in Socialization
 Gender
roles vary by culture but are changing
 Many societies still expect traditional roles:
Agentic roles:
Men expected to be assertive and have certain skills
Communal roles:
Women taught to foster harmonious relationships
Understanding gender
roles can be profitable
Sex-Typed Traits and Products
 Sex-typed
characteristics we stereotypically associate with one gender
or the other.
 Sex-types
take on masculine or feminine attributes
Princess telephones
 Thor’s Hammer vodka
Female Sex Roles
Male Sex Roles
 Masculinism
study of male image and the
complex cultural meanings of
 Three
models of
Breadwinner (respectability;
Rebel (independence; adventure)
Man-of-action hero (synthesis)
Male Sex Roles (continued)
 Metrosexual: straight, urban
male who exhibits strong
interests and knowledge that run counter to traditional
male sex role
 Ubersexuals: the best of the metrosexuals
Bono, George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan
 How
relevant is the metrosexual stereotype today?
GLBT Consumers
 4%
to 8% of U.S. population
 Spend $250–$350 billion a year
 The Asterix Group – Segments within the GLBT
Super Gays – highly educated, earn high incomes
Habitaters – older and in stable relationships
Gay Mainstream – conservative
Party People – young, live in big cities, least educated
Closeted – Older and traditional
Body Image
 Body
image: a consumer’s
subjective evaluation of his/her
physical self
 Body cathexis: person’s feelings
about his or her own body
 Strong body cathexis = frequent
purchases of “preening” products
Cathexis is the process of investment
of mental or emotional energy in a
person, object, or idea.
Another marketing opportunity!
Ideals of Beauty
 Exemplar
of appearance
 “What is beautiful is good”
 Favorable physical features:
Attractive faces
Good health and youth
Feminine curves/hourglass body
“Strong” male features
Waist-Hip Ratio
Ideals of Beauty Over Time
 Specific
“looks”/ideals of beauty
 Early 1800s: “delicate/looking ill” appearance
 1890s: voluptuous, lusty
 1990s: “waif” look
 Bad economy: mature features
 Good economy: babyish features
 Modern: high heels, body waxing, eyelifts, liposuction
Is the Western Ideal Getting Real?
Unilever learned that consumers didn’t believe beauty
products really work because the women in the ads were
so unrealistic
Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty
Working on the Body
 Fattism
 Cosmetic
 Body decoration and mutilation
 Body piercing
Purpose of Decorating the Body
Distinguish group members from nonmembers
2. Place the individual in the social organization
3. Place the person in a gender category
4. Enhance sex-role identification
5. Indicate desired social conduct
6. Indicate high status or rank
7. Provide a sense of security
Chapter Summary
Self-concept as an influence on behavior
The role of products in defining self-concept
The influence of sex-role identity on purchases
Self-esteem and our body image
Cultural expectations of appearance