Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low self-esteem consumers: When does standing out help you fit in?

Date:
August 20, 2013
Source:
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.
Summary:
Consumers who buy brands to stand out may actually be trying to fit in, according to a new study.

Consumers who buy brands to stand out may actually be trying to fit in, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Our research suggests that seeking differentiation via brands may actually be another tactic to achieve belongingness," write authors Sara Loughran Dommer (Georgia Institute of Technology), Vanitha Swaminathan (University of Pittsburgh), and Rohini Ahluwalia (University of Minnesota).

The authors explored how and why consumers use brands to stand out within a group. For example, certain brands can help consumers feel like they belong, like a college tennis player who wears Nike to display allegiance to her team. But consumers also use brands to distinguish themselves. The same player might also wear Lacoste to feel superior to her team or Converse to show her distinctive personality.

In a series of studies, the authors found that consumers with low self-esteem work extra hard to distinguish themselves within a group when they feel excluded. They do this by seeking brands that create distinction from typical members of the group based on personality, taste, traits, etc. However, when consumers with low self-esteem feel included, they still seek to distinguish themselves by seeking brands that confer status or demonstrate superiority to others in the group.

Companies often celebrate individuality in their advertising slogans -- for example, "Think Different" (Apple), "Off the Wall" (Vans), and "Unlike Any Other" (Mercedes-Benz). According to the authors, companies can utilize strategies to help consumers feel like they fit in. "Brand names that address consumers' belongingness needs by creating brand communities and engaging in social media (e.g., a Facebook page) may satiate consumers' need for belongingness while also counterintuitively enhancing certain consumers' (i.e., low self-esteem consumers) desire to differentiate," the authors write.

"Companies should understand how their efforts may affect consumer belongingness or differentiation needs and how branding strategies based on differentiation can appeal to various types of consumers," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sara Loughran Dommer, Vanitha Swaminathan, Rohini Ahluwalia. Using Differentiated Brands to Deflect Exclusion and Protect Inclusion: The Moderating Role of Self-Esteem on Attachment to Differentiated Brands. Journal of Consumer Research, December 2013

Cite This Page:

Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Low self-esteem consumers: When does standing out help you fit in?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113929.htm>.
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. (2013, August 20). Low self-esteem consumers: When does standing out help you fit in?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113929.htm
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Low self-esteem consumers: When does standing out help you fit in?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113929.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) The New York City Police Department has ended a program that once kept tabs on the city's muslim population. (April 15) 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:
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