Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can consumers 'fit in' yet remain unique?

Date:
May 16, 2012
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Most consumers want to fit in while still asserting their individuality -- and they balance these conflicting desires when choosing products, according to a new study.

Most consumers want to fit in while still asserting their individuality -- and they balance these conflicting desires when choosing products, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Related Articles


"Consumers want both to signal their identity with desired groups and to be different from other group members. This research shows how people simultaneously satisfy these apparently conflicting motives in consumer behavior," write authors Cindy Chan, Jonah Berger (both University of Pennsylvania), and Leaf Van Boven (University of Colorado, Boulder). "Is it possible to be similar and different -- at the same time?"

The authors conducted field and laboratory studies to demonstrate how consumers simultaneously satisfy competing desires for group identification and individual uniqueness. They found that participants often satisfy their need to fit in by choosing a brand that represents their in-group, but they differentiate by choosing colors or styles to set themselves apart. "For example, a snowboarder may sport a Burton jacket to identify himself as a snowboarder (rather than a skier), while choosing an unusual pattern to stand apart from other snowboarders," the authors write. Or a fashionable consumer might choose a popular brand handbag in an unusual color.

The experiments showed that participants who were concerned with communicating their social identity were more likely to choose a brand that was preferred by most members of an in-group (but not an undesirable out-group). That was especially true in categories that signify identity, like clothing. On the other hand, people with a strong need for uniqueness preferred less-popular products.

"Our research provides insights into decision making and behavior when there are tensions between motives of assimilation and differentiation, even in situations that may not involve consumption," the authors write. "For example, an employee may desire to both be an integrated team member and have a unique role in the organization. Similarly, elected politicians and their loyal constituents may wish to toe the party line and voice their individual opinions," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cindy Chan, Jonah Berger, and Leaf Van Boven. Identifiable but Not Identical: Combining Social Identity and Uniqueness Motives in Choice. Journal of Consumer Research, October 2012

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Can consumers 'fit in' yet remain unique?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516140115.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2012, May 16). Can consumers 'fit in' yet remain unique?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516140115.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Can consumers 'fit in' yet remain unique?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516140115.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the cameras will be distributed starting Jan. 1. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A grand jury indicted four former executives of Freedom Industries, the company at the center of the Jan. 9, 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. The spill contaminated the Elk River and the water supply of 300,000 people. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins