What makes us who we are? Some people say that this answer is a simple one. Our personalities are what shape us into the people that we truly are. One might follow up with “What is a personality?” A personality is a person’s unique psychological makeup and how it consistently influences the way a person responds to an environment. Personalities tend to arise from within a person and also tends to remain quite consistent throughout their life. How does someone develop a personality? Well, personalities are developed and affected through a number of influences that include genetics, the role of their environment, and the set of experiences that one has faced. Environmental factors such as parenting and culture can make a massive impact on the personality of a person. For example, if someone’s parents like to listen to R&B music and when they relax with friends they listen to and share R&B music then that person is most likely going to have an interest in R&B music. What does this have to do with consumer behavior? Well marketers try to attain consumers by using their personalities to persuade them to buy a product.
Sigmund Freud, a famous psychologist, did some research that explains how our brains work with our personality. In Freud’s theory, he explains that there are two parts of our brain that fight to determine the types of decisions we all make. These parts of the brain are called the “id” and the “superego”. The id is all about pleasure and this is basically our desire to maximize pleasure while also avoiding pain and ignoring all and any consequences that may surface. The superego is the complete opposite of the id. The superego’s system tries to prevent the id from seeking selfish gratification. The last part of the brain that is involved in this process is called the ego. The ego acts as a mediator for the id and the superego. The ego finds the balance between temptation and virtue to help us make a realistic decision. Freud believes this should go into consideration when we think about the times we purchased something from a store. What entices a person to make the decision to buy a product? It is implied that consumers cannot tell us what directly motivated them to buy a product because our brain unconsciously goes through the Freudian process to make decisions. Another concept that psychologists rely on is the connection between symbolism and motivation. The product stands for or represents something, this is a consumer’s true motive, which might be socially unattainable, so by purchasing this product it is like tasting the forbidden fruit. For example, a woman suffering from a terrible heartbreak may find herself purchasing a bunch of ice cream. For some people, ice creams gives off the feeling of security like when one was a child. So in order to feel secure in a time of frenzy, a woman going through a heartbreak would eat ice cream. All in all, the unattainable feeling of security in the woman’s life led her to buy ice cream because for her ice cream gives security. Our personalities contribute to the decisions we make when shopping and marketers are aware of this and try to use this as a technique to get us to buy more products. So the next time you are out shopping be aware of the reasons why an item seems interesting you.
Cherry, Kendra. What Is Personality and Why Does It Matter, Very Well Mind. October 9, 2018. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-personality-2795416
Solomon, R. Michael. Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being: Pearson. 12th Edition 2017. Published.
Personality. The Science of Personality. Psychology Today. 2018. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/personality