Nav: Home

Can a Victoria's Secret shopping bag make you feel glamorous?

June 21, 2010

Certain brands have personalities that can actually change the way some people feel about themselves, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Why are brands such as Cartier, Harley-Davidson, and Nike so well-liked by consumers? One of the reasons is that they have appealing personalities," write authors Deborah Roedder John and Ji Kyung Park (both University of Minnesota). When consumers use a brand with an appealing personality, does the brand's personality rub off on them? "Absolutely," say the authors. "Using brands with appealing personalities can rub off on the way consumers see themselves, even if the brand is used for only a short time."

The researchers conducted four studies that revealed two types of consumers. In the first study, they asked female shoppers in a local mall to carry a shopping bag for an hour during their shopping trip. Shoppers were allowed to use either a Victoria's Secret shopping bag or a plain pink shopping bag. After an hour, shoppers were asked to rate themselves on a list of personality traits, including traits associated with the Victoria's Secret brand. Shoppers who carried the Victoria's Secret bag perceived themselves as more feminine, glamorous, and good-looking than shoppers who carried the plain shopping bag.

The researchers discovered the participants had different beliefs about their personalities. "Consumers most affected by their experience with Victoria's Secret held certain beliefs about their personalities," the authors write. "They believe their personal qualities are fixed and cannot be improved by their own efforts at self-improvement. Therefore, they look for ways to signal their positive qualities through other means, such as brands." People who were not affected by carrying the Victoria's Secret bag believed that their personal qualities were more flexible and could change for the better by their efforts to improve themselves.

In subsequent studies, the authors found that some people felt more intelligent, and more like leaders when they carried a pen embossed with an MIT logo. In one study, this was the case even after some participants were led to believe they did poorly on a math test.
-end-
Ji Kyung Park and Deborah Roedder John. "Got to Get You Into My Life: Do Brand Personalities Rub Off on Consumers?" Journal of Consumer Research: February 2011. A preprint of this article (to be officially published online soon) can be found at http://journals.uchicago.edu/jcr).

University of Chicago Press Journals

Related Consumers Articles:

'Locally grown' broccoli looks, tastes better to consumers
In tests, consumers in upstate New York were willing to pay more for broccoli grown in New York when they knew where it came from, Cornell University researchers found.
Should patients be considered consumers?
No, and doing so can undermine efforts to promote patient-centered health care, write three Hastings Center scholars in the March issue of Health Affairs.
Consumers choose smartphones mostly because of their appearance
The more attractive the image and design of the telephone, the stronger the emotional relationship that consumers are going to have with the product, which is a clear influence on their purchasing decision.
When consumers don't want to talk about what they bought
One of the joys of shopping for many people is the opportunity to brag about their purchases to friends and others.
As consumers, how do we decide what's 'best' when it's not clear?
Imagine you are choosing between two resorts for your island vacation.
Effects of ethnocentrism on consumers
Aitor Calvo-Turrientes, winner of the prize for End-of-Degree Project in Sustainability in 2015 awarded by the Faculty of Economics and Business of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz, is the author of the paper 'The valuation and purchase of food products that combine local, regional and traditional features: The influence of consumer ethnocentrism,' published recently by the prestigious journal Food Quality and Preference.
Organic consumers mean business
Groundbreaking research from Aarhus BSS shows that organic consumers are standing fast and are buying more and more organic products following an increasingly predictable pattern.
Perfect mannequins a turnoff for some consumers
Mannequins' long legs, tiny waistlines and perfect busts can sour some shoppers on the products they're wearing, especially consumers who don't like the look of their own bodies.
What's in a name? For young Chinese consumers, it's about culture mixing
Younger, more cosmopolitan Chinese consumers tend to favor brand translations that keep both the sound and the meaning of the original name, says U. of I. business professor and branding expert Carlos J.
Why do consumers participate in 'green' programs?
From recycling to reusing hotel towels, consumers who participate in a company's 'green' program are more satisfied with its service, finds a new study co-led by a Michigan State University researcher.
More Consumers News and Consumers Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.