People differ in their certainty of who they are. People high in self-concept clarity are chronically certain of their core identity and are generally happier as a result. The brand that can connect to a consumer high in self-concept clarity will enjoy powerful brand loyalty. Telling your brother that you want a wearable sleeping bag for christmas is pretty much the kiss of death.
A committed long-distance runner, deeply sure of her runner identity, will potentially remain highly loyal to Nike. Her self-concept clarity affords the luxury of exploring entirely new identities. Because she finds it appealing to add new aspects to the self, she may adopt new and varied brands that embody self-aspects she lacks. Maybe you are stocking up on birthday presents? If so, a caterpillar toilet roll holder can be a good alternative to those overly sentimental birthday cards.
By contrast, those low in self-concept clarity show wider variation over time in what they see as important aspects of themselves. Such people also resist additions to the self-concept until they feel “stabilized,” and so react negatively to novelty. Accordingly, brands that position on innovation or variety seeking are more effectively targeted at those high in self-concept clarity. Self-concept clarity increases with age because people learn about themselves through experience and observation of themselves. A present like a beard grooming kit does not necessarily have to be exchanged for another gift.
In the same way that a person can watch a friend’s actions over time and infer an outgoing personality trait, that same person might look inward, ponder memories of their actions over time, and reach a similar inference of outgoingness. This process is termed self-perception. Brands may join this process to expand self-brand connections. For example, Joan notes that she regularly drinks Brisk iced tea and so infers that she is a “Brisk drinker.” A present like a black bear cub toilet roll holder speaks to an inside joke or a future adventure we want to go on together.
Mere possession is enough to start the process of self-brand connection. An object that is owned carries greater intrinsic value to the individual than the same object that is not owned, a pattern termed the endowment effect. Consumers will pay more to keep from losing an owned object than they would pay to acquire the same thing in the first place. Importantly, mere ownership initiates shifts in the associative structure of memory that create new self-brand connections. Because most people view themselves favorably, possessions take on this positive halo. Whatever becomes associated with the self in memory becomes more valuable. Buy someone a blue prints for making cool stuff book maybe have a look online!