Saturday, 19 February 2011

Personality and Self Concept...

Personality and Self Concept is part of every human being.  Due to the fact that everyone is different, an individuals personality and self concept in completely unique.  It may be similar to someone else's, however it will never be the same.  It is quite difficult to distinguish between personality and self concept.  The simple definitions would be;
  • Personality - is the way a person that presents themselves outwardly. Personality is "the sum total of the psychical, mental, emotional, and social characteristics of an individual," (dictionary.com 2011).  A persons personality is made from a variety of characteristic from thoughts, feelings and behaviours, which help make a person unique.
  • Self Concept - this relates to how a person feels about themselves inwardly.  According to simplypsychology (2011) self concept is how we think or evaluate ourselves in different ways such as; physical, morally, personally, family and in social situation dimensions.
Usually the personality and self concept of a person will be dramatically different.  The way a person sees another person  may be completely different to how a person perceives themselves.  So how does personality and self concept of a person relate to marketing?

Through using Kotler's model of buyer behaviour it shows the major influences for buyers.  In the personal column it indicates that Personality and Self Concept influences the buyer in marketing.


According to ideastoday (2011) every individual has a unique personality which influences his or her buying behaviour.  This means that many marketers will use a persons self-concept which is related to personality to sell them a product or service.  It is important for marketers to know what buyer decisions consumers will make based on self concept.  A Self concept buyer decision could be, for example an older women buying anti-wrinkle cream to make her feel younger.  Marketers may decide not to sell a product to a person but to sell it to the person they inspire to be. Examples are:





This product here would be sold to someone who wants to look younger.









This product here would be used to sell to consumers who would like to be slimmer and lose weight.



A good example of a self concept product would be the Blackberry Phone this product is targeted for those who just want a fully functioning mobile phone whilst also targeting those who want the most current and in trend mobile.  If two customers were to go into a t-mobile store and both view a blackberry phone compared with an ordinary similar phone, which has the same functionality, colour and size, there would a difference in self concept of the person who would buy the ordinary phone compared to one that would pay a little more for the blackberry brand.  Due to the fact that both would feel different about the person they are trying or should be.  A personal example of this would be my mum and I when buying an MP3 player.  I would prefer to go for the more expensive Apple brand due to the fact that I would want to be considered 'trendy' whilst my mum would completely base it on price and functionally.

Most companies will try and ‘humanise’ their branded products with certain characteristics and a personality that will appeal to the consumers such as; being honest, friendly, and trustworthy these will all help to build stronger relationships with customers, (Brassington and Pettitt, 2007).  This shows that if the image of a brand is good then it will build stronger relationships between the supplier and customer and they can identify the brand values.

An example of brand personality would be Chanel.  This would be labelled as having a sophisticated personality due to the image it presents through the advertisements used. Within the television adverts they use A list celebrities such as; Kiera Knightley and Nicole Kidman, to present the upper class, rich and famous.  Whilst the surroundings of the advert are usually grand rooms, with expensive silk, ornaments and bright expensive lights.  Finally the actors are usually wearing expensive jewellery and clothes and are portrayed as being charming and elegant, this all helps identify and characterise the Chanel brand. Below is the TV advert:



Theorist have created a number of different concepts to help describe the relationship between personality, self concept and marketing.  Here are some of these theories:

1) Cattell's trait theory of personality - According to about.com (2011), in 1936 psychologist
Gordon Allport discovered that there were 4000 English words that described personality therefore he categorised these into three levels:
  • Cardinal Traits are traits that dominate an individuals life, these usually are used to describe a person and they will usually become well know for it.  Allport suggested that these traits were rare and developed in later life.
  • Central Traits are the general characteristics of a person that forms their personality, they are some of the major but not most dominate traits that help describe a person.  Words such as intelligent, honest, shy and anxious are described as central traits.
  • Secondary traits usually only appear during certain circumstances such as when someone gets anxious talking to a group of people, or irritated whilst waiting in a queue.
After this, Raymond Cattell reduced the original 4000 traits into 161, then reduced this again down to 16 and then developed a well known personality assessment known as the 'Sixtenn Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF).

2) Hollander's Concentric Ring Theory - Hollander believed that a person's personality could be represented by 3 concentric rings, with the inner ring being the most difficult to penetrate.

The three rings are:

1) Psychological Core - This is the real person. the core concept and personality that individuals are usually unwilling to reveal.
2) Typical Responses - This section represents how people will respond in a situation.
3) Role Related Behaviour - This is how a person will respond to a specific situation and may present an uncharacteristic behaviour.


From Hollander's theory it shows that personality is built from a persons belief and values, and how they interact with other people. Both his theory and Cattell's reflect the fact that personality has different levels in comparison to the core and personality traits of a person may change in different situation.  Also the revelations of a specific personality trait will occur at different times.

3) Freudian Theory - Another theory is the Freudian Psycho dynamic theory.  He believed that a person's personality has 3 components; ID, EGO and SUPEREGO. These all work together to create complex human behaviours," (About.com 2011). These three components are as followed:
  • ID - Represents the basic instincts, and is driven by the pleasure principle which helps gratify a persons desires, wants and needs.  If a human was ruled by this personality element they would most likely be disruptive and socially unacceptable
  • SUPEREGO - This is part of our personality holds a persons moral standards and ideals.  This element will give us a sense of right and wrong.  It provides guidelines for making judgements.
  • EGO - This is the element between both the ID and SUPEREGO.  It will help satisfy the ID but in a way which satisfies the SUPEREGO as well by making sure it is not disruptive and unacceptable.
A good example of this theory would be a teenage being set a curfew for 10, however they want to stay out for an hour longer this is because of the ID element, however their SUPEREGO element believes that they should arrive home on time so they do not get into trouble. Therefore the EGO will compromise and the teenage will decide to go home within 15 minutes after the curfew as they know it will not cause too much trouble.

There are many personality tests all over the Internet which can apparently determine personality traits you have.  This was a theory called 'The Big Five Scale of Personality Type.'  Researchers gathered information on people with certain traits to determine which were the five main personality categories that many people would fall into.  I completed one through BBC and my results were as followed:
  • I received a 3.3 out of 5 for openness, this apparently means that I will usually stick to things that I know rather then becoming overly enthusiastic about trying new things.
  • I scored  4 out of 5 for Conscientiousness.  This describes how dependable, organised and hardworking a person is likely to be.  According to this I am extremely dependable and organised.
  • I scored 2.8 out of 5 for Extroversion.  This section is all about pleasure-stimulating and risk taking activities and how important they are in someones life. People who are high in this section are likely to lead risky lifestyles and take greater risks, apparently I am not like this.
  • I scored 3.7 out of 5 for Agreeableness.  This measures how sympathetic and considerate a person is.  According to this I am likely to show concern for feelings and will be inclined to help those in need.
  • Finally I scored 3.5 out of 5 for Neuroticism.  This section measures a persons response to threatening or stressful situations. My scores show that I may occasionally feel tense or anxious.
So there we are.  Apparently a simple test on the Internet can summarise me as a person... However I do think I have some right to disagree.  I believe that I have aspects that a test cannot prove and characteristics that marketers will never be able to understand.
On the other hand, I do think that the test has shown parts of my personality correctly.  The Conscientiousness, openness and Agreeableness section has definitely matched the perception I have of myself in that area. So Well Done BBC 3/5 correct!

Try it for yourself: https://www.bbc.co.uk/labuk/experiments/personality/

Personalities Rock!

1 comment:

  1. This is fantastic.It is great to see so much wider academic research. What a resource you are building up for subsequent years

    ReplyDelete