Consumer subjective personal introspection of your own buying behavior, and to relate this to the notion of products as extensions of the self and consumer behaviour theory.
Subjective personal introspection of your own buying behaviour as an extension of the self and consumer behaviour theory
It has been noted in many studies on consumer behaviour that the products that the individual purchases are very often closely linked to the identity and values of that individual. Consumer behaviour has been defined as, "The psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different alternatives (e.g., brands, products, and retailers)"and "The psychology of how the consumer is influenced by his or her environment (e.g., culture, family, signs, media)..." (Lerner).
In other words, the products that one purchases are in essence often seen as an extension of one's self. This means that the customer purchasing behaviour is often best understood in terms of the values norms that are important to the purchaser. This paper will therefore attempt to show how various consumer behaviour theories relate to my personal buying patterns.
2. Personal profile
The personal values that relate to my identity and the way that I perceive the world around me consist of a number of central factors. Firstly, I am outspoken and believe that one should express what one feels. I admire John Lennon's words, "Nothing will stop me, and whether I'm here or wherever I may be, I'll say what I feel" (Great One-line Quotes). In terms of my personal buying behaviour this means I am not easily persuaded or taken in by advertising 'hype' and that I tend to question what I read and see -- and express my views and opinions.
I am also philanthropic and believe in helping others. I tend towards simplicity rather than complexity in my personal life. This would also suggest that I would purchase products that would further this life perspective. I appreciate modern technology like the Internet and this should also be included in an introspective assessment of my buying behaviour. I am attracted to technological products that help to simplify my life as well as allow me to communicate and keep in touch with the views of others and what is going on in the world.
Possibly the most important aspect of my personal identity are the central values that have helped to shape my life and identity. These include the value of family, the importance of trust and truth, success and achievement, a united world and the values of enlightenment and equality. As will be discussed in the following section, these are all aspects that shape my buying behaviour.
3. Consumer theory and personal buying behaviour.
In theoretical terms, the concept of consumer value as an indication of consumer reaction and behaviour patterns began the 1990s (Sanchez-Fernandez, and Iniesta-Bonillo, 2007, p. 40). This concept is seen as being an extremely significant factor in the success of any business or product. The knowledge of what the consumer values is considered to be extremely significant in terms of competitive advantage (Sanchez-Fernandez, and Iniesta-Bonillo, 2007, p.40).
A general definition of consumer behaviour is the "...study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society" (Perner, 2010). This behaviour is related to three main influences; namely, the particular characteristics of the individual, and the environment which affects the individual as well as the inherited genetics of the individual. Therefore, consumer theory is linked to the individual's views and psychology as well as to other social and economic factors.
If I apply these views to my personal buying behaviour, then the following aspects become clear. When I interrogate my own purchasing behaviour I find that what I purchase is almost always linked in some way to the values and views that I deem to be important. I tend to purchase products that assist or further my deeper values and needs. For example, I will purchase mobile phone and internet technology in order to be able to communicate with others more easily. This also refers to the importance that I place on family values. Therefore, I like to be able to communicate with and keep in touch with them -- which in turn influence my buying behaviour.
I also purchase products such as magazines that will tend to refer to my view about the need for fairness and equality in the world. Another related value that is importance to me is the protection of the environment -- therefore, I would not purchase products which are known to have a detrimental effect on the environment. I would, for example, be more attracted to new cars that use alternative fuels, which do no impact negatively on the environment.
Perception is a very important aspect of understanding and determining consumer behaviour. The way that we perceive things is part of purchasing behaviour. This also relates to the way that products are advertised. Marketers often try to persuade or influence the perceptions of the individual to make a certain product or service more attractive.
In order to understand the role of perception in consumer buying, a number of definitions need to be taken into account. One definition by Solomon et al. (2004, p. 49) defines perception as the process by which the stimuli (light, colour, sound, odour and texture) are selected, organized and interpreted, so that meaning could be added to these raw sensations. Another view put forward by Bloom et al. (2006, p.185) explains perception as the process by which an individual selects, organises and interprets information input to create a meaningful picture of the world.
Copley (2004, p. 54), stresses the important point that perception is an individual process and that the individual's perception depends on internal factors such as personal beliefs, experiences, needs, moods and expectations.
Taking these theories into account, from my personal point-of-view I have found that my perception of the product certainly influences my buying behaviour. For example, if my perception of a product fits in with my needs and value system, then I will be more likely to purchase it. For example, I find that if a product appeals to a value such as equality or philanthropy, then it becomes more appealing to me. This also leads to the important aspect of branding.
Companies create brands or develop brand strategies in order to make a connection with the consumer or buyer. In this regard Bloom et al. (2006, p.174), refer to the adoption of a holistic marketing orientation. This means that one should understand consumer perceptions from a comprehensive and inclusive angle and gaining an extensive insight into the daily lives of the individuals, as well as an overarching understanding of the changes that occur during their lifetimes.
The brand image is therefore an important way of communicating with and persuading the customer to purchase a product or type of product. A definition of brand Image is as follows. "The impression in the consumers' mind of a brand's total personality (real and imaginary qualities and shortcomings). Brand image is developed over time through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme, and is authenticated through the consumers' direct experience" (Brand image: definition).
I must admit that like many other people, I tend to buy brand names and see these brands as bring reliable, tried and tested products. Brand image is an extremely powerful and persuasive influence on one's purchasing behaviour. One tends to trust the well -- known brand names.
However, at the same time l am also aware that brand images are consciously manipulated and created to meet certain customer needs and may not live up to their 'hype'. As I mentioned in my profile, one of the central values that make up my identify is the importance that I place on honesty and truth and I am extremely aware and tend to question company brands which are not completely truthful. On introspection I do find that my buying behaviour is influenced by branding that I perceive to be honest and truthful and not pretentious. However, I find that my buying behaviour is more influenced by brand names that I perceive to be honest rather than those which are questionable.
I also find that, like many other consumers, my buying behaviour is also influenced by packaging and appearance. I tend to be attracted to products that have a simple but enticing visual appearance. I am also attracted to creative packaging and advertising.
In conclusion, when I interrogate myself about my buying behaviour, a central point becomes evident. My purchasing or buying behaviour patterns are very closely linked to by beliefs and values and my expectations of life. This realization can be related to many aspects of consumer behaviour theory. It is also clear that perception plays a large part in my buying behaviour. I tend to be more inclined towards names and…