Personality & Lifestyles

Why would two people with the same job have completely different hobbies?

Why is one person a thrill seeker and the other a homebody?



Personality is unique to each individual. Our personality influences our responses to our environment. Personality can be defined as the qualities and traits, that define the character or behavior of a specific person.

From our own experience, we may see that others behave differently in different circumstances or around different people. Studies back up this idea. Because we see people in limited circumstances we tend to see consistency

Psychologists look at personality by looking at what traits people report or demonstrate, but also they look at the context of the behaviour.

Marketers want to understand personality so they can segment consumers as far as activities, tastes and lifestyles (psychographics)The better they understand the consumer the more accurate a marketing campaign could be.

Consumer Behaviour and Freudian Theory

FreudFreud believed that much of behaviour is from conflict between desire to gratify needs and be responsible. He divided the self into three categories: the id, the ego and the superego

According to Freud when we are born we are under the control of the Id. The id doesn't care about reality; it wants what it wants. Within 3 years the ego develops. The ego is based on the reality principle. Ego’s job is to meet the needs of the id, while considering the reality of a situation. By age 5 the superego develops. The Superego is our moral compass. It develops because of the restraints placed on us by those who bring us up. Often the superego is thought of as our conscience dictating what is right and wrong.

id ego superegoid (basic needs that want immediate gratification examples-think of the behaviour of a baby- the baby takes what it wants, or consider the image of a cave person;

Superego (the system that internalizes society's rules and work to prevent id from seeking selfish gratification example you may want to go out and party, but you have a test to study for. Your superego tells you to study)

Ego ( the system that mediates between id and superego Example as we grow, we realize we can't just take things we want. We have to find a socially acceptable way of getting what we want. The ego uses the Reality Principle to mediate thoughts)

Id drives the "party animal"; id seeks to satisfy the pleasure principle; superego drives the rule ordered disciplined person

Much of Freud is based on the unconscious, so the person is not always aware of what drives him/her. Most Freudian applications involve sexuality; a car may substitute for sex

see these older examples Freud Unconscious Ads See what AdWeek considered the Freakiest Ads of 2011 Help Remedies Dreams a sleep aid- Freud would have a field day here.


Application of Freudian Theory- Motivational Research

Motivational research is based on Freudian interpretation; socially unacceptable needs are channeled into acceptable outlets; product use is motivated by unconscious forces. It uses in-depth interviews about product usage compared to representative sample informationPut a Tiger in Your Tank Esso

Motivational research is appealing because of cost efficiency (small group interviewed) and insights, intuitive sense. Motivational research became big in the 50's under Ernst Dichter an archetypical European shrink. According to Dichter humans were immature irrational and insecure with erotic desires/

Dichter claimed women smoked more when they viewed erect cigarettes in the hands of other women. He also recommended increasing the size of the original Barbie's boobs.

"Be smart, get a fresh start with Ivory soap," because bathing, in its old ritualistic, anthropological sense, is getting rid of all your bad feelings, your sins, your immorality, and cleansing yourself, baptism, etc." (Ernst Dichter, describing his first motivation research study)

Read more about Dichter and sex in advertising in this Economist article Sex and Advertising: Retail Therapy

Dichter fell out of favour in the 60's but Louis Cheskin continued with motivational research. Today it continues to be re-invented as psychometrics- factor-analysis, multidimensional scaling and data clustering Read an article from Sept 07 at Motivational Research?

The campaign for Esso "put a tiger in your tank" is an example of Freudian appeal- the unconscious

But motivational research is attacked by many because of power to manipulate and over emphasis on analyst's conclusion and influence of Freud and sex.

See and the full documentary A Century of Self

Validity of Motivational research is enhanced when combined with other research techniques

One neo Freudian Karen Horney proposed three type of people: compliant (those moving towards others), detached (those moving away from others, aggressive (those moving against others); compliant people in studies gravitate to name brands; aggressive prefer strong masculine named products.

What would Freud say about these ads?

Freudian Ads


Carl Jung believed in the collective unconscious (a storehouse of memories from ancestors) The shared memories invoke archetypes : these images appear frequently in marketing: mother earth, wise old man

Birth of Venus Mothe ArchetypeMother Archetype


The mother archetype is symbolized by the primordial mother or "earth mother" of mythology, by Eve and Mary in western traditions, and by less personal symbols such as the church, the nation, a forest, or the ocean.

See Mother Nature 70s




Green GiantIn primitive societies, phallic symbols do not usually refer to sex .

They usually symbolize mana, or spiritual power.


These symbols would be displayed on occasions when the spirits are being called upon to increase the yield of corn, or fish, or to heal someone.

Green Giant commercial



The Shadow

shadow scarySex and the life instincts are a part of an archetype called the shadow. It derives from our prehuman, animal past. It is the "dark side" of the ego, and the evil that we are capable of is often stored there. It is "innocent." From the human perspective, the animal world looks brutal, inhuman; the shadow becomes the part of ourselves we can't admit to.
Symbols of the shadow include the snake (as in the garden of Eden), the dragon, monsters, and demons.

See Nike Commercial


The persona

persona good badThe persona represents your public image. The persona is the mask you put on before you show yourself to the outside world. At its best, it is just the "good impression" we all wish to present as we fill the roles society requires of us. It can also be the "false impression" we use to manipulate people's opinions and behaviors. At its worst, it can be mistaken, even by ourselves, for our true nature: Persona example Apple commercial


Anima and animus

storkA part of our persona is the role of male or female we must play. Jung felt that we are all really bisexual in nature. When we begin our social lives as infants, we are neither male nor female in the social sense. We come under the influence of society, which gradually molds us into men and women.
The anima may be personified as a young girl, very spontaneous and intuitive, or as a witch, or as the earth mother. The animus may be personified as a wise old man, a sorcerer, or often a number of males, and tends to be logical, often rationalistic, even argumentative.

example anima witch

Other Archetypes

Father: a guide or an authority figure.
The archetype family: blood relationship and ties

Keebler ElfThe child, represented in mythology and art by children, infants most especially, as well as other small creatures. The Christ child represents the future, becoming, rebirth, and salvation. The child archetype often blends with other archetypes to form the child-god, or the child-hero.
Many archetypes are story characters.


Mr CleanThe Hero represents the ego - engaged in fighting the shadow, in the form of dragons and other monsters. The hero is ignorant of the ways of the collective unconscious. Heineken Hero

The hero is often out to rescue the maiden. She represents purity, innocence, and, in all likelihood, naivete. The hero is guided by the wise old man. He is a form of the animus, and reveals to the hero the nature of the collective unconscious. The "dark father." He is the shadow and the master of the dark side of the force. The animal archetype represents humanity's relationships with the animal world. The hero's faithful horse would be an example. Snakes are often symbolic of the animal archetype, and are thought to be particularly wise.

Count choculaDirt Devil Nothing escapes the power of a Dirt Devil

The trickster represented by a clown or a magician's role is to hamper the hero's progress and to generally make trouble.

The original man, represented in western religion by Adam. Another is the God archetype, representing our need to comprehend the universe, to give a meaning to all that happens, to see it all as having some purpose and direction.

Review this Slideshare for more examples

Archetypes and Psychology of Consumer Behaviour



Traits are the identifiable characteristics that define a person: example-extroversion versus introversion

Traits interesting to marketing are innovation, materialism, self-consciousness, need for recognition

Using trait theory in marketing has been problematic: researchers do not always agree on which traits to measure; many scales are not valid or reliable; tests often made for specific population; conditions of testing vary; instruments are under revision; many measure gross overall tendencies. Because the context or conditions of a behaviour is also important, it can be difficult to recreate situations as they really may be in the real world.


Marketers are concerned with their Brand Identity and what they want is brand equity. Brand equity refers to the extent to which a consumer holds a strong favourable and unique association with the brand

Personality dimensions to compare and contrast character of brand: old-fashioned, wholesome, traditional; surprising, with it; serious, intelligent, efficient; glamorous, romantic, sexy; rugged outdoorsy, tough, athletic

Creation and communication of a distinctive brand personality can make a product stand out;

Apple Think DifferentExample: Think Different

Apple brands itself as "Unique", "Original", "Innovative" It's users are happy to brand themselves as different; thus the THINK Different campaign Click Apple TV ad to see stills of the original commercial or to see and hear it Click



Michelin ManEnergizer BunnyAn inanimate object can be given human characteristics (Animism) Animals can be humanlike

Mr Peanut width=Anthropomorphism

is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, natural and supernatural phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts.

Examples: Stop Global Warming See Darth Vader vs Energizer Bunny Red Rose 60s Monkeys


Click here to assess Brand Personality



the observable measurements of a population's characteristics, such as birthrate, age distribution and income


the use of psychological, sociological, and anthropological factors to construct market segments. Uses AIOs to group consumers (activities, interests and opinions)


a set of shared values or tastes exhibited by a group of consumers especially as these are reflected in consumption patterns

Two people can share similar demographic background (middle class,similar education, age, occupation, income) yet have very different psychographics and different buying or consuming practices; each person has a different lifestyle. Even twins who live together will have different life experiences.

In traditional societies consumption practices can be determined by class, family or village. Our world today is much more complex. We have millions of opportunities in the real world and in the online world. We can create our own social identity through the things we do and through our product choices.

By understanding lifestyle, marketers can separate people into groups by looking at the leisure behaviours they exhibit and by seeing how they spend disposable income. They can also see lifestyle by looking at online activities- who the person associates with, the groups they join, the social networks they belong to, the things they share, the things they "like"

Lifestyle defines who we are and who we are not. Lifestyle is not set in stone, it evolves through our lifetimes

Demographics allow marketer to describe who buys a product; whereas, psychographics allow marketer to understand why they buy a product

Forms of psychographic studies:

  1. a lifestyle profile that looks at items that differentiate between users and non users of a product (who they are and who they are not)
  2. a product-specific profile identifying a target group that then profiles the consumers on product-relevant dimensions
  3. a study using personality traits as descriptors where some variable such as concern for environment, is analyzed to find related personality traits
  4. a general lifestyle segmentation, where the respondents in a large sample are placed in homogeneous groups based on preferences
  5. a product-specific segmentation where questions used in general approach are tailored to a product category.

AIOs (Activities, Interests and Opinions)

Psychographic research uses AIOs Activities-Interests-Opinions to group consumers

Consumers are given a large number of statements and asked to indicate how much they agree with each; result is how people spend time, interests, self view, world view and demographic information

Of course what people report about themselves may not be accurate, but what it may reflect is what a person would like to be like which is also relevant.(Recall the importance of the gap between the actual self and the ideal self. The greater the difference the more opportunity to appeal to fantasy.)

20/80 rule:

20/80 rule says about 20% of consumers in a product category account for 80% of sales. These 20% make up a brand loyal group.

Researchers try to determine who are heavy users, moderate users and light users

What measurements are used?

One measurement is called VALS (Values and Lifestyles-a psychographic segmentation system to categorize consumers into clusters)

Main categories are:

High Resources/Innovation)

Innovators (formerly Actualizers): successful consumers with resources, concerned socially, open to change

Sufficient Resources

Thinkers (formerly Fulfilleds): satisfied, reflective, comfortable, practical, value function
Achievers: career oriented, prefer predictability
Experiencers: impulsive, young, enjoy offbeat and risk
Fewer Resources/lower innovation

Believers: strong principles, favour proven brand
Strivers: like achievers with fewer resources, concern for approval
Makers: action oriented, focus on self-sufficiency, works on car, cans vegetables, build house

Low Resources
Survivors (formerly Strugglers): concern to meet needs of moment


Geodemography is analytical techniques that combine data on consumer expenditures and other socioeconomic factors with geographic information on areas people live-idea is birds of a feather flock together

Researchers now also look at single source data ( information that includes different aspects of consumption and demographic data for a common consumer segment


Emphasis on value of time saving products- consumer confidence up and down. North American are defined by possessions. Younger people are more diverse and socially conscious.

Movement toward a more laid-back lifestyle and casual work environment


In 2005 Piggly Wiggly a US grocery store introduced Biometric Buying- paying by fingerprint..It didn't last because the company that provided the technology went out of business)

Easier and easier to spend--Pay by mobile or app- Many businesses are allowing apple pay, augmented reality and mobile apps (QR codes) to connect to pay for goods or to take advantage of special deals. Tap and pay with smart phones.

Consumer Control

Consumers are more and more in control of what they's about PULL not PUSH The consumer today is no longer a passive entity, the consumer is more and more involved

The rise of ad skipping functions embedded in emerging technologies, digital personal video recorders (PVRs) and online streaming shows continue to fragment the market, as they say it threatens both the revenue and viability of TV broadcasters. In Britain some firms have experimented with paying people to view the commercials -see Pay to Watch

More On demand viewing and television shows watched online - example and android boxes

USER Generated Content - everyday people are posting more and more, youtube stars have followings and influenceand. Many marketers today are jumping on the bandwagon and using Crowdsourcing techniques to run contests where consumers are challenged to create ads. Instead of content only created by a marketer, today we see the consumer involved in the creation of the message. When Google purchased YouTube in Oct 2006, it was not because YouTube was profitable. Google bought the potential that YouTube offered through possible advertising revenue.

Reaching the Fragmented Market

Ubiquitous advertising-no space is safe.

Product placement as a replacement for traditional advertising has come of age. By 2005, the number of times a product made an appearance in television programming jumped 30 percent to 108, 261, according to Nielsen Media Research, which has been tracking the tactic for the last three years. Even though the practice is so popular, no quantitative studies have yet proven the effect of product integration. Consumers' and writers' groups have complained that the practice is turning prime-time shows into infomercials. Reality shows are often the worst offenders

Marketers are increasing using technology to "pull" consumers into their advertising.

With the rise of fragmentation, marketers are desperate to try new ways to attract an audience. In the 60's commercials were mostly 60 second spots then they moved to 30 second and by the late 80s -15 second spots arrived (they make up 36% of all TV ads today. But now some are trying 10 or even five second spots or branding over top of shows

Behavioural technology continues to produce Targeted ads, your behaviour is tracked -what you click is used to send targeted ads to the pages that you view.

Databases are increasing being used to create Addressable advertising- advertising specifically for you- from the video screen at Tim Horton's to your TV screen and your computer screen -

Paid search- key words are sold by Search engines so that when you search a term those paid sites show up first in the list, or perhaps reroute you to another's page

The compass and GPS on smart phones are used by marketers in apps allow users to check-in to locations to share information and receive coupons and bonuses. Augmented reality browsers allow marketers to post location relevant information


Trend Hunter Report 2020

Trend Hunter


Greenwashing- term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing to promote a misleading perception that a company's policies or products (goods or services) are environmentally friendly. The term green sheen is used to describe organizations attempting to show they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment. Greenwashing may be described as "spin."

See Greenwashing Busting Eco labels from CBC


Above noted References and : Solomon, Michael R., Zaichkowsky, Judith and Rosemary Polegato. Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, Being. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada



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