Personality is the supreme realization of the innate individuality of a particular living being (Carl Gustav Jung). It describes those inner psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to his environment. It reflects individual differences and is consistent and enduring.

Personality traits are characteristics. They show how one person differs from another and tend to be consistent and enduring. Personality traits are often used in perso.nality tests. Marketers try to relate products to traits so that consumers will identify with them.

Due to Cost and McCrane, the personality structure consists of five factors: Emotional stability (Neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness .

Theories of Personality[edit | edit source]

Sigmund Freud[edit | edit source]

The Theory by Sigmund Freud is a psychoanalytic theory of personality. It says that there are unconscious sexual drives at the heart of human motivation and personality. The personality consists of three interacting systems: ID , EGO and SUPEREGO . Furthermore, he proposed five stages of personality development.

  1. Oral stage (the infant first experiences contact with the outside world through the mouth)
  2. Anal stage (primary source of pleasure for child is process of elimination)
  3. Phallic stage (child discovers sex organs –attraction to parent of opposite sex – crisis – how this is resolved affects future relationships and relationship with authority)
  4. Latency stage (sexual instinct lie dormant from age of 5 until adolescence – no important personality changes take place here)
  5. Genital stage (individual develops sexual interest)

The strengths of this theory are, that Freud developed the first comprehensive theory of personality. Many personality theorists have deemed it necessary to point out where there theories differ from correct weaknesses in Freud's work. Disadvantages of Freud's theory are, that many Freudian ideas appear in the literature that predates Freud's work or many of his hypotheses are not testable. Moreover, Freud relied heavily on case study data for evidence which was extremely biased. A lot of Freud's followers broke away from the group because Freud refused to take into account the experiences that happened after 6 years of age and how they may influence personality.

Carl Jung – Jungian personality types[edit | edit source]

Carl Jung's theory indicates, that personality types are based on psychological dimension, which are:

  • Sensing – intuiting (how you feel about things)
  • Thinking – feeling (decision styles)
  • Extroversion – introversion (social setting)
  • Judging – perceiving (differentiation ability)
Neo-Freudian Theorists[edit | edit source]

Neo-Freudian Theorists , are theorists who did not accepts Freud's assertion that personality was primarily instinctual. They believed, that social relationships were fundamental to the formation and development of personality. The Neo-Freudian theorist Alder viewed humans as seeking to attain rational goals in an attempt to reduce feelings of inferiority. Sullivan stated that people look to establish significant and rewarding relationships with others in an effort to reduce tension.

Karen Horney[edit | edit source]

The theory about personality by Karen Horney is focused on child-parent relationships which she believed led to 3 possible personality types:

  • Compliant – move towards others
  • Aggressive – move against others
  • Detached – move away from others

This research has shown that there is indeed a relationship between these types and particular brand purchases.

Trait Theory[edit | edit source]

The Trait theory is using qualitative measures to assess personality type. For example, typical traits that marketers seek to measure include: Innovativeness (receptiveness to new experiences), susceptibility (to interpersonal influence), Materialism as well as ethnocentrism (receptiveness to foreign made products).

Catell (Raymond Catell)[edit | edit source]

The Catell theory by Raymond Catell distinguishes emphasized personality traits and surface and sources traits. Surface traits are readily apparent (e.g. in a social setting). Source traits , on the other hand, are deeper and require analysis. Traits testing/analysis is commonly applied in the recruitment process. Various specific traits may be required or desired by employers, such as out-going, empathy with people for a salesperson or attention to detail, meticulous for an accountant.

Personality and Marketing[edit | edit source]

Traits are also used in marketing purposes. Researchers have examined various traits in attempts to explain a link between personality and behavior. Much research has been done on the trait innovativeness which has been linked to new product adoption. Base on the time of adoption of new products, various adopter categories can be specified:

  • Innovators (2,5%) – venturesome, willing to take risk, outward looking, communicative, involved in many networks of people
  • Early adopters (13,5%) – enjoys the prestige and respect that early purchasing brings, they tend to be opinion leader who influence others
  • Early majority (34%) – have status within their social class, are communicative and attentive to sources of information
  • Late majority (34%) – less cosmopolitan and less responsive to change, tend to be less well off, older and belong to lower socio-economic groupings
  • Leggards (16%) – price conscious, suspicious of novelty and change, conservative in behavior and low level of income

Another term used in marketing is Brand Personality. Since 1960s marketers have examined ways of linking personality and branding. Some research studies indicated that some consumers choose brands as carefully as they would choose friends. By interpreting the personality of brands, consumers felt more comfortable buying particular brands. Often marketers will research personalities associated with brands.

The Self[edit | edit source]

The Self is a relatively new concept that regards people and their relationship to society. It takes the idea that each human life is unique, rather than a part of a group and it accepts the notion that the self is an objective to be pampered. The Self is divided into an inner, private self and an outer, public self.

The self concept refers to the beliefs people hold about their attributes and how they evaluate these qualities. The self concept consists of different components: self esteem and the real and ideal selves . The self esteem is the positivity of a person's self concept. Self esteem advertising attempts to change product attitudes by stimulating positive feelings about the self. The real and ideal selves are consumers who are actual standing on some attribute to some ideal. The ideal self is a person's conception of how he/she would like to be. The actual self is the more realistic appraisal of the actual qualities held.

People can have also multiple selves and many different social roles. People act differently depending in the situation they find themselves in. The self has many different components or role identities and only some of these may be active at any given time.

Another term, used in the self is symbolic interactionism . It stresses relationships with other people and it plays an important part on forming the self. It maintains that people exist in a symbolic environment where the meaning attached to any situation or object is determined by the interpretation of these symbols.

Moreover, the looking glass self is a process of imagining the reactions of other towards us. The desire to define ourselves operates as a sort of psychological sonar, taking readings of our identity by bouncing signals off others and trying to project the impression they have about us.

The consumption and self-concept states, that products exists, which shape the self – "you are what you consume". The linked self product congruence says, that consumers demonstrate consistency between their values and the items purchased. Self image congruence models predict that products will be chosen when their attributes match some aspect of the self.

The extended self says, that the use of props and settings used by consumers to define their social roles becomes part of their selves. There are four levels of the extended self:

  1. Individual level: inclusion of many personal possessions in self definition, e.g. cars, clothing
  2. Family level: includes a consumer’s residence and its furnishings
  3. Community level: the neighborhood or town form which consumers belong
  4. Group level: attachments to certain social groups can be considered part of self

Also gender is playing an important role in the self concept. Sexual identity is an important component of a person’s self concept. People often conform to their culture's expectations about how those of their gender should act. Every society crates a set of expectations regarding the behavior appropriate for men and women and communicates these.

Female roles: social changes, such as the increase in women in the workplace has led to a change in the way women are regarded by men, the way they regard themselves, and the products they choose to buy

Male roles: the “new man” is allowed to be more compassionate and to have closer relationships with other men. The more sensitive side of their nature is evolving and becoming an issues for marketers

Often used for marketing purposes is the body image . The ideal is what many consumers are motivated to match up to. The size is crucial in respect to the body image. For example, the pressure to be slim is continually reinforced by advertisers and by peers. Many people perceive a strong link between self-esteem and appearance and some exaggerate this connection even more and sacrifice greatly to attain what they consider to be a desirable body image. This is called an image distortion.

Face-ism was covered in the researches of Archer et al. in 1983 and Schwartz and Kurz in 1989. Archer et al. (1983) found that when 1,750 visual images from newspapers and magazines of men and women were analyzed, the depictions of women gave greater importance to the body. Schwartz and Kurz (1989) found that this can influence people to think that women are only important for their physical appearance, while the male facial prominence signifies ambition and intelligence