Who You Are Affects What You Buy by Morgan Ilaw — 5

Who You Are Affects What You Buy:
The Influence of Consumer Identity on Brand Preference
Morgan A. Ilaw
Strategic Communications and Psychology
Elon University

This study examined the extent to which individuals used their self-concepts to determine brand preference. It was predicted that individuals would prefer brands with images congruent with their own self-image
more than brands’ images inconsistent with their self-image. The study also predicted that others would influence consumers’ brand preference, and participants would prefer brands consonant with their in-group associations. A total of 65 participants completed a survey inquiring about their self-image congruity, social identity
and brand preferences. Linear regression analyses showed significant support for both hypotheses. Additional
analyses among subgroups showed a statistically significant relationship between the self-image congruity
and brand preference relationship among whites, minority group, males and females. But the statistically significant relationship did not exist between social identity and brand preference among whites and females.

I. Introduction

Walking down the street, one may observe an individual sporting a Yankee sweatshirt, carrying a

Starbucks coffee mug, and wearing a pair of Levis jeans. The onlooker may deduce that the walker is a baseball fan, enjoys high-quality coffee, and appreciates the authenticity and heritage associated with a historical brand. Whether or not that Yankee fan was aware, the brands he chose to consume made a statement
about who he was, what he was like, and what he enjoyed. The products people buy can act as signals of
identity, allowing consumers to construct, express and communicate useful information about their self-image
to themselves and to others. Consumers not only purchase products, but lifestyles. As a result, consumption
becomes a vehicle for...

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