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Personality and Consumer behavior Marketers have always been interested in understanding and attempting toanswer how personality affects an individual’s consumption behavior as this helpsthem to understand customer and eventually target those customers who wouldrespond favorably and positively to their product/service offered.Customer Innovativeness and Related Personality Traits Consumer innovators – those that are open to new products and the first inthe market to try new products/services are the ones marketing practitionersgenerally try to learn about. Some of the personality traits used to differentiatecustomer innovators from non-innovators would be Customer Innovativeness Consumer Dogmatism Social Character Need for Uniqueness Optimum Simulation level Sensation Seeking Variety and Novel seekingCustomer Innovativeness Over the years, the trait of customer innovativeness has been linked tostimulation, novelty seeking and need for uniqueness. Various research studies oninnovation adoption process in first discontinuous innovations like personalcomputers, video recorders have the following features. They are opinion leaders. They are tolerant towards risks. They are oriented form inside and independent from the norms of the belonging groups. They prefer getting informed by mass media rather than oral communication. They are open to new idea and changes. They are cosmopolites. They have a higher socio-economic standard.Innovativeness can be useful in the following scenarios To identify and target people who are open to new product categories. Used as an important consideration for brand extensions.
Consumer Dogmatism Marketers, especially those of technologically rich products, are alwayskeenly interested in managing consumer responses to distinctively unfamiliarproducts or product features. Consumer dogmatism is the extent to which a personcan react to information that is relevant and can judge the product/service accordingto its own merits without being encumbered by irrelevant factors. Given below aresome of the traits of low dogmatic and high dogmatic personalities. Low Dogmatic Individuals Highly Dogmatic IndividualsPrefer Innovative products to More likely to choose established products.traditional/established alternatives.More receptive to messages that stress factual More receptive to ads for new products/services.differences, product benefits and other forms ofproduct-usage info.Ads focus more on product information rather Marketer uses celebrities and experts for theirthan on anything else like celebrity endorsement, new product offerings.etc.Social Character Buying behavior/patterns of an individual also depends on the character ofthe individual, whether the person evaluates the product based on his ownjudgment, assumption, values or standards or he tends to look to others forguidance.The ad given below targets an inner-directed consumer. Here the ad targets woman who are self conscious about their body and the ad implies them to take call to have a cigarette instead of a sweet. The best example that illustrates ads that targets individuals who look for other’s guidance would be Apple’s “If you don’t have an IPhone ad”. The ad literally tells people that they are missing out on the IPhone revolution if they haven’t bought it yet.Needforuniqueness For people seeking to be unique, conformity to other’sexpectations/standards in appearance/possessions is something they would avoid.Some of the characteristics of people seeking uniqueness. Collecting unusual products. Daring to be different despite of other’s criticism. Abandonment of a product/brand when it is very popular amongst masses.
Always on the lookout for one-of-a-kind product to create a more distinctive personal image.Optimum Simulation Level Some people prefer a simple, uncluttered and calm existence while othersprefer an environment with novel, complex and unusual experiences. People withhigh optimum simulation levels have the following characteristics. Greater willingness to take risks Trying new products Being innovative in purchases Seeking purchase related information and being open to new retail facilities.Studying the optimum simulation level helps manufactures and retailers inunderstanding consumer preferences and ensures that consumers do not changetheir brand by launching variants of brands (e.g. cigarettes, toothpastes). It alsohelps in identifying the ideal product offering for the consumer once his/her OSL hasbeen determined. (E.g.) Holiday plans for customers based on their lifestyle.Sensation Seeking This is similar to OSL concept, where consumers are characterized by theneed to for varied, novel and complex experiences and willingness to take physicaland social risks for the sake of such experience.Variety or Novel seeking There are three consumer seeking variety – exploratory purchase (switchingbrands to experience new, different and possibly better alternatives), vicariouspurchases (securing new information about new/difference alternatives andcontemplating whether to buy or not) and use innovativeness (using an alreadyadopted product in a new or novel way). Examples of exploratory purchase and vicarious purchases would be the purchase ofFMCG products like soaps, shampoos, biscuits.Use innovativeness is used for promoting technological products, in which someproducts have more features than the rest. Customers who seek products with manyfeatures can be targeted to sell these products.References 1. Consumer Behavior by Leon G. Schiffman, Leslie Lazar Kanuk 2. Personality Trait Theory and Consumer Behavior by Ruby Roy Dholakia