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.

"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 July 24, 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 July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

AFP (July 24, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th - prompting hundreds in Virginia to turn out for a free clinic run by “Remote Area Medical”. Duration 02:40 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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