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Importance of Self-Concept for Marketing Strategies


Marketing in the Global Economy

The task of appealing to a specific demographics has both gained new opportunities for the companies operating in the realm of the global economy and incorporated new impediments to a successful marketing process. On the one hand, the creation of numerous tools for communicating to the target population directly helps build a stronger bond with the latter and, thus, convince them to develop specific behaviors in the global economy realm.

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On the other hand, innovations have led to new challenges, the necessity to work with different types of self-concept and the need to design a homogenous marketing approach being the key ones. Because of the high competition rates in the global market, organizations must build an appropriate branding strategy and design the marketing tool that will allow appealing to the target population on a very deep level, thus, convincing the to make a purchase. At this point, the significance of understanding the current self-concept if the audience and use it to create a memorable and relatable brand image should be motioned.

Self-Concept: Definition and Theories

The psychoanalytic theory suggests that the phenomenon of a self-concept should be viewed as a system that allows one interact with people around (Go& Govers 2016). From the tenets of the behaviorist perspective, a self-concept is a range of reactions that one has to a series of specific stimuli (Sundar 2015). The cognitive framework, in turn, suggests that the phenomenon of a self-concept should be regarded as a system allowing an individual process data and using it for further communication.

Having a particular image of one’s self and trying to measure up to it is a popular albeit rather simplistic definition of a self-concept. Including a self-concept of the target population into a marketing strategy or the process of brand development is essential since it creates the foundation for building a dialogue with potential customers. Consequently, opportunities for enhancing the performance of an organization can be produced.

Role of Self-Concept in Marketing

Product Image and Branding

Self-concept shapes the process of creating a product image and designing a branding strategy to a considerable extent. To be more specific, it helps make the said product or service not only desirable but also vital for the successful functioning of the target population. Therefore, it is crucial that the brand personality of a particular product align with the self-concept of the target audience. In a certain way, the specified task implied dealing with a range of obstacles, mainly due to the fact that appealing to the unique self-concept of every potential customer is barely possible.

To appeal to the target population successfully, it is crucial to realize how potential customers see themselves, as well as what their ideal image of themselves is. Thus, the basis for creating a successful marketing campaign that will brand the required product as an essential attribute to the specified image will become a possibility.

Determining the Consumer Behavior

When considering the reasons for analyzing the self-concept of the target population, one must mention that the specified process will help define the types of consumer behavior that can be observed in the target market.

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Furthermore, the study of the self-concept as an essential attribute to the target audience will contribute extensively to shaping the subject matter respectively. For instance, a generalized idea of personal success and the feeling of being complete, which can be observed in virtually any customer, can be linked to owning the promoted product with the help of a clever promotion campaign.

Indeed, as Solomon, Russell-Bennett, and Previte (2012) explain, a self-concept is a rather intricate phenomenon that may incorporate the elements of both positive and negative vision of one’ self. Consequently, it is imperative for a marketing expert to make sure that a promotion campaign could appeal to the ideal image that the target audience has of themselves, at the same time avoiding using any elements that may trigger associations with a negative perception of one’s self.

In other words, when introduced into the realm of marketing, the phenomenon of self-concept helps define the further opportunities in shaping the brand image and promotion campaign of a particular product or service. As a result, the chances to attract the target audience, at the same time retaining loyal customers, are discovered.

Therefore, the significance of a self-concept as a part of the branding process is huge. The subject matter defines the choice of the images that will, later on, be used to create a strong connection between a company and its customers. The case of Nike can be used as one of the most graphic examples of a successful incorporation of a self-concept into the marketing strategy. Indeed, the consistent emphasis on being a winner and pushing the envelope by exploring the boundaries of one’s abilities are very inspirational ideas.

By including the identified visions of one’s self in its marketing campaigns, Nike managed to build a very powerful brand image that has defined the attitude of the target population toward the organization and its products. Similarly, a recent update of the firm’s branding approach and the inclusion of the ideas of diversity and multiculturalism into the set of options supported by the organization must be deemed as excellent examples of incorporating a positive self-concept in the marketing framework (Choi 2014).

Therefore, it is essential to create the marketing strategy based on a positive self-concept. However, it is even more important to add the elements that will allow for the further development of the identified image. As a result, the target population will receive a powerful impetus for purchasing the product since they will link it to the notion of personal development and the consistent growth (Posavac 2015).

Role of Self-Concept: Shaping Buyers’ Behavior

Seeing that a self-concept implies the desirable state that people strive to achieve, it will be legitimate to assume that, by altering the buyers’ perception of their selves, one will be able to alter their behaviors to a considerable degree. As a result, an impressive change in the choices that they make when purchasing specific products is likely to be observed. Once a certain company designs the brand image that will be viewed by the intended audiences as the essential attribute of their self-concept, a rapid increase in sales and the following rise in the said organization’s profit margins will be expected. Therefore, the self-concept may be incorporated into the range of strategies used by firms to build a connection with their intended audiences to increase the demand rates for their products and fuel customers’ enthusiasm.

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It should be noted, though, that the attempt to appeal of buyers’ individual perception of their self must be balanced with the necessity to help them feel a part of a specific group. Indeed, studies show that there is a propensity among buyers to be affected by the influence of social media and, thus, shape their concept of self accordingly. The said trend can be observed in the realm of child products, especially as far as toys and clothes are concerned since the identified environment is defined by the continuous branding archetypes involving customer differentiation based on gender.

The identified tendencies can be observed in color coding (e.g., the products intended for girls are typically pink), the type thereof (for instance, the toys for boys are traditionally action- and strategy-oriented, whereas girls’ toys embody the idea of nurturing and care), etc. (Paganoni 2015). Therefore, in many ways, a self-concept and marketing are reciprocal since they affect each other significantly.

Opportunities and Limitations Set by the Self-Concept

It should be borne in mind, though, that adhering to the ideas linked to the phenomenon of self-concept implies complying with the boundaries that it sets for marketers. For instance, the active use of a self-concept as the foundation for the process of branding may cause certain social issues in case the chosen brand reflects a particular social tension or a conflict between the members of the target population.

For example, the active use of gender stereotypes in attempts to attract particular types of audiences by recycling clichés (e.g., using objectification of women as the tool for advertizing a certain product, such as cars, beverages, etc., to the male audience) is likely to cause large social concerns. The latter are going to be rather understandable since the proposed scenario suggests that insecurities of a particular social group be exploited to increase sales. Herein lies the primary limitation of using a self-concept as the basis for marketing; particularly, the image constructed on the basis of the identified self-concept must not be linked to the negative aspects of the audiences’ perception of their self.

It should also be borne in mind that the active use of a self-concept as a means of marketing a particular product has serious ethical implications. For instance, it is important to make sure that the promotion campaign does not appeal to controversial issues such as social conflicts and does not exploit any images that can be used as self-deprecation by the target audiences. For example, a close focus on physical fitness is typically viewed as positive, yet reinforcing the identified idea to the point where it might lead to shunning the people that do not conform to the identified standards is ethically unacceptable (Eagle & Dahl 2015).

Nevertheless, the use of self-concept in marketing has been consistent and unceasing. Moreover, with the introduction of new IT technologies and interactive tools as the means of connecting to the target population and [promoting target products and services to it directly, opportunities for the successful use of a self-concept as part and parcel of a comprehensive marketing strategy have increased exponentially.

For example, the active use of social networks as the means of exploring the specifics of the target audience’s self-concept and the way in which it manifests itself during the interactions between the members of a community is bound to provide crucial information about the further promotion techniques. Specifically, the tools for appealing to the required demographics can be identified successfully.

For instance, a detailed analysis of the communication among the members of the target population in the environment of a social network may serve as the foundation for identifying the key characteristics of their self-concept, such as gender-related characteristics (e.g., femininity or masculinity), the stereotypes that must be avoided at all costs during the promotion campaign, the context in which advertisements must be placed (e.g., a close focus on family values), etc. As a result, a fast and extensive rise in the efficacy of the overall process of advertizing the target product can be increased significantly, and the foundation for building customer loyalty will be provided (Sethna & Blythe 2016).

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Because of the opportunities that it sets for appealing to the target population, the active use of self-concept as part and parcel of a marketing strategy must be deemed as a necessity. The application of a self-concept to enhance the efficacy of a commercial or advertisement is bound to become an efficient device for creating a strong connection with the target population.

Particularly, the incorporation of the self-concept in marketing implies creating associations between the desired state imagined by a customer and the product or service that is being marketed to the latter. As a result, the two elements combine, making a potential buyer to link the idea of their personal comfort and content with the product or service in question, compelling the customer at least to consider its purchase.

Thus, the inclusion of the phenomenon of a self-concept must be regarded as an essential step on the way to building a coherent and impressive brand image. Furthermore, the appropriate design of a brand based on the idea of a customer’s self-concept is bound to lead to creating a tighter bond with the latter since the brand image based on a self-concept will most likely resonate with potential buyers on multiple levels.

It should be borne in mind, though, that the creation of a marketing campaign based on the idea of a self-image is fraught with numerous challenges. The necessity to appeal to a vast variety of cultures is one of the primary areas of concern. The adoption of the principles of diversity, multiculturalism, and the consistent acquisition of the relevant knowledge are bound to serve as the means of promoting the further development of marketing strategies based on self-concept.

Reference List

Choi, TM 2014, Fashion branding and consumer behaviors: scientific models, Springer Science & Business Media, New York.

Eagle, L & Dahl, S 2015, Marketing ethics & society, SAGE, Thousand Oaks.

Go, RG & Govers, F 2016, Place branding: global, virtual and physical identities, constructed, imagined and experienced, Springer, New York.

Paganoni, M 2015, City branding and new media: linguistic perspectives, discursive strategies and multimodality, Springer, New York..

Posavac, SS 2015, Cracking the code: leveraging consumer psychology to drive profitability, Routledge, New York.

Sethna, Z & Blythe, J 2016, Consumer behaviour, SAGE, Thousand Oaks.

Solomon, M, Russell-Bennett, E, & Previte, J 2012, Consumer behaviour, Pearson Higher Education AU, Melbourne.

Sundar, SS 2015, The handbook of the psychology of communication technology, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

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