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Notes prepared by: Suhail Mohammed A I (2008-10, MBA, SJEC)

Meaning of personality
The inner psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to his or her environment

Theories of personality:
There are three major theories of personality they are (1)Freudian theory,(2)neo-Freudian theory and(2)trait theory.

1.   Freudian theory
Sigmund Freud’s theory of personality is a cornerstone of modern psychology .This theory is built on bases of unconscious needs.
Id, superego, and ego
A Representation of the interrelationships Among the Id, Ego and superego, can be shown with the help of a diagram

  The id was conceptualized as a “warehouse" of primitive and impulsive drives —basic physiological needs such as thirst, hunger, and sex—for which the individual seeks immediate satisfaction without concern for the specific means of satisfaction.
In contrast to the id, the superego is conceptualized as the individual's internal expression of society's moral and ethical codes of conduct. The superego's role is to see that the individual satisfies needs in a socially acceptable fashion. Thus, the superego is a kind of "brake" that restrains or inhibits the impulsive forces of the id.
Finally, the ego is the individual's conscious control. It functions as an internal monitor that attempts to balance the impulsive demands of the id and the sociocultural constraints of the superego.

Freudian Theory and “Product Personality”
Consumer researchers using Freud’s personality theory see consumer purchases as a reflection and extension of the consumer’s own personality.

2.   Neo-Freudian Personality Theory
There are some neo-Freudians who 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. He also placed much emphasis on the individual's efforts to overcome feelings of inferiority
Harry Stack Sullivan, another neo-Freudian, stressed that people continuously attempt to establish significant and rewarding relationships with others. He was particu larly concerned with the individual's efforts to reduce tensions, such as anxiety.
Karen Horney an neo-Freudian was also interested in anxiety. She focused on the impact of child-parent relationships and the individual's desire to conquer feelings of anxiety. Horney proposed that individuals be classified into three personality groups compliant, aggressive, and detached.
1. Compliant individuals are those who move toward 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 from obligations).

3.   Trait Theory
 It is defined as “any distinguishing, relatively enduring way in which one individual differs from another”
The trait which measures just one trait, such as self-confidence, the personality tests measure such traits as consumer innovativeness, consumer materialism and consumer ethnocentrism, the explanation for this are:
  • Consumer innovativeness: The degree to which consumers are receptive to new products, new services, or new practices
Dogmatism: A personality trait that reflects the degree of rigidity a person displays toward the unfamiliar and toward information that is contrary to his or her own established beliefs
Social character: It has its origins in sociological research, which focuses on the identification and classification of individuals into distinct sociocultural types. The personality trait ranges on a series from inner-directedness to other-directedness.
Need for uniqueness: Consumers who avoid appearing to conform to expectations or standards of others
Optimum stimulation level: A personality trait that measures the level or amount of novelty or complexity that individuals seek in their personal experiences
Variety-novelty seeking: Measures a consumer’s degree of variety seeking

Cognitive personality factors
Consumer researchers have been increasingly interested in how cognitive personality factors influence various aspects of consumer behavior. In particular, two cognitive personality traits i.e. need for cognition and visualizers versus verbalizers—have been useful in understanding selected aspects of consumer behavior.

Need for cognition (NC)
 Cognition measures a person's craving for or enjoyment of thinking, researchers suggests that consumers who are high in NC are more likely to be responsive to the part of an ad that is rich in product-related information or description; consumers who are relatively low in NC are more likely to be attracted to the background or peripheral aspects of an ad, such as an attractive model or well-known celebrity.
Visualizers versus verbalizers
People who are open to and prefer the written word as a way of obtaining information are visualizers, and the people who are more likely to respond to and prefer visual images or messages as source of information.

·       Consumer materialism
Materialism is a personality like trait which distinguishes between individuals who regard possessions as essential to their identities and their lives those for whom possessions are secondary. Researchers have found some characteristics of materialistic people, they are:
 -they value acquire and showoff possessions.
 -they are self centered and selfish people
 -they seek lifestyle full of possession
-they are not satisfied with their possessions.

·       Consumer Ethnocentrism
Consumers who are highly ethnocentric are likely to feel that it is inappropriate or wrong to purchase foreign made products because of resulting economic impact on the domestic economy.

Brand personality
Its defined as “Brand image or identity expressed in terms of human characteristics. Distinguishing and identifiable characteristics which offer consistent, enduring and predictable messages and perceptions. What people associate the brand with”.
Brand personality is a setoff human characteristic associated with a brand.

Product Personality Issues
Often used for brand personalities
Some product perceived as masculine (coffee and toothpaste) while others as feminine (bath soap and shampoo)
Actual locations like banarasi saree and Arizona iced tea
Fictitious names also used such as Hidden Valley and Bear Creek
Color combinations in packaging and products denote personality.

Self and self-image
Consumers have a variety of lasting image of themselves; these images are associated with personality in that individual’s consumption relates to self-image.
 One or multiple selves: A consumer who acts differently in different situations or with different people, for instance a person is likely to behave in different ways at home, at work or with friends. It’s normal that a person is likely to display different personality in different situations and social roles.
Extended self: It is an interrelationship between consumers self image and their possession. A consumer’s possession may extend their self image in number of ways- Actually, Symbolically, Conferring status or rank, Bestowing feelings of immortality, Endowing with magical powers.
Altering the self: The consumers who try to modify their appearances to become a different or improved self by using all kind of accessories, this is frequently done to express their individualism or uniqueness by creating anew self and maintaining the existing self.


·        Leon Schiffman G,Leslie Lazar Kanuk, Consumer behviour, 9th edition 2007, pearson education,  

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