Personality, Lifestyle, and The Self

17 Key Terms and Concepts

AIOs: A=Activities/Attitudes; I=Interests; O=Opinions…the AIO’s constitute the foundation and building blocks of a person’s attitudes which typically define our lifestyle choices as consumers.Archetypes: Carl Jung (1875-1961) theoretical work on personalities included archetypes, which he believed to be “ancestral memories” reflecting the common experiences of people all over the world. His explanation of archetypes included a strong belief that they were mostly biological and handed down to us. More recent research on archetypes suggests that they come from our lived experiences and reflect our cultural characteristics (and are not biological or handed down).

Brand: A brand consists of all tangible and intangible components that form a unique identity, thus distinguishing one entity from another, particularly in a competitive category.

Brand associations: This concept refers to the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, experiences, believes, and attitudes from the consumer’s experience that become tied to a brand. Anything linked in our memory to a brand – positive or negative – that forms a lasting impressions in the mind of a consumer.

Brand awareness: The sum of all points of contact (“touchpoints”) with a brand.

Brand experience: The sum of all points of contact (“touchpoints”) with a brand.

Brand image: This is a symbolic construct (representation) that is created in our minds based on all the information and expectations we associate with a particular brand.

Brand loyalty: This term refers to a consumer’s commitment to repurchase a particular brand despite having other options available to them.

Brand personality: A brand’s personality is comprised of human-like characteristics that convey traits consumers can identity with themselves: warmth; excitement; comfort; edginess; old-fashion; etc. Brand personality is created to persuade and influence consumer decision making based on the belief that consumers will purchase brands that are aligned with some aspect of their self-concept or self-complexity.

Defense mechanisms: Freud believed that when the Ego seeks to find balance between the Id and the Superego, defense mechanisms are enacted to help us reduce tension. Freud believed that our unconscious mind creates these unconscious efforts to protect the ego from being overwhelmed by anxiety.

Extended self: This term describes situations in which consumers further identify their self-concept through their purchasing decisions and consumption choices.

Extrinsic brand attributes: These are the features and characteristics of a brand that enable consumers to form associations with it and give it meaning – such as a brand’s price, its packaging, label, name, logo, and image.

Five Factor Model of Personality: This model identifies five fundamental personality trait dimensions (characteristics) that are believed to be stable across time, cross-culturally shared, and an explanation for most human behaviour. Those five traits are: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

Freudian theory: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), an Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, engaged in research and work that has shaped and influenced our contemporary understanding of personality and psychology. Freudian theory states that our behaviours are predetermined by our unconscious motivations.

Id, ego, superego: Freud believed the mind was divided into three main components: the “Id” (the part that forms our impulsive behaviour); the “Superego” (the part that forms our consciousness and sense of morality); and, the “Ego” (the part that forms our sense of reality and balances the Id and Superego).

Ideal self: An idealized version of ourselves that is based on several factors including our experiences, the expectations we feel society has of us, and the traits we admire in others.

Intrinsic brand attributes: These are the functional features and characteristics of a brand – such as its shape, performance, and capacity.

Lifestyle marketing: Marketing campaigns designed to influence, persuade, and appeal to a consumer’s “AIO’s”, values, worldviews, and personality identity.

Looking glass self: Sometimes our self-concept is formed through our interactions with others and in these interactions we come to see, describe, and evaluate ourselves based on their reaction’s to us.

Neo-Freudian theories: Neo-Freudian theories were developed by psychologist and psychoanalysis — many of whom were students of Freud’s. They all developed their own theories on personality which either built on Freud’s work or challenged it completely. Erik Erikson, Carl Jung, and Karen Horney are three of those people.

Persona: Carl Jung (1875-1961) proposed the idea of a persona, which he explained as a sort of “mask” that we adopt that represents compromise between our “true self” and the person society expects us to be.

Personality: A way to describe the various human characteristics that make us all different from one another.

Personality traits: Personality traits refer to the basic dimensions that make us all different from one another.

Person-situation debate: This concept supports the belief that our personalities are not consistent from one situation to the next. The belief here is that our personalities (and subsequent behaviours) are shaped by situational factors (e.g. what is happening in the environment around us).

Psychographic segmentation: A marketing activity that involves the profiling of a market segment based on characteristics such as AIO’s, personality, traits, lifestyle, and values. Psychographic segmentation undergoes a detailed and close examination of consumers with respect to their motivations, values, and media consumption habits.

Reference groups: The groups of people in our lives that we use for social comparisons. Reference groups are used in social comparison theory.

Self-affirmation theory: This theory suggests that people will try to reduce any threat to their own self-concept by focusing on (and affirming) their worth in a different and unrelated area.

Self-awareness: The degree of cognitive awareness we have about ourselves.

Self-complexity: This term explains the range in complexities some selves are compared to others. A more complex self suggests that we have several different ways of thinking about ourselves.

Self-concept: This term describes how we see, understand, describe, and evaluate ourselves.

Self-consciousness: This term describes the degree of self-awareness we experience when we are in situations that might make us feel uncomfortable (e.g. public judgement)and more aware of our self-concept.

Self-efficacy: A person’s belief in their own ability to succeed in a particular situation, context, or environment.

Self-esteem: This term refers to the positive or negative feelings we have about ourselves. Self-esteem is most often determined by our own performance, appearance, and our relationships with others.

Self-schemas: This terms describes how an aging and more complex self-concept becomes organized into different categories of the self.

Social comparison theory: This theory explains how we further define our self-concept by comparing ourselves to other people. The comparisons are based on two dimensions: superiority/inferiority and similarity/difference. We use reference groups for social comparison.


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