Filling in the gaps: Personality types lead people to choose certain brands

December 15, 2008

Why do Gap brand jeans appeal to people who seek intimacy in relationships? It may be a result of their upbringing. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, people's relationship styles can affect their brand choices.

In psychology, different relationship styles are known as "attachment styles," and study authors Vanitha Swaminathan, Karen M. Stilley (University of Pittsburgh), and Rohini Ahluwalia (University of Minnesota) explored the ways attachment styles influence brand choices.

"Depending on the nature of the relationship between the infant and caregiver, an individual will develop an attachment style characterized by the following two dimensions: anxiety and avoidance," the authors explain. "The anxiety dimension refers to the extent a person's view of self is positive or negative; whereas the avoidance dimension is based on the extent to which the view of others is positive or negative."

According to the authors, anxiously attached individuals are more influenced by "brand personalities," the idea that a brand possesses humanlike traits, such as sincerity or excitement. "Because of a low view of self, anxious individuals use brands to signal their ideal self-concept to future relationship partners and therefore focus more on the personality of the brand," the authors write.

In several studies, the researchers tested participants to determine their attachment styles. Then they asked about their desires for "sincere" versus "exciting" products. "Anxious individuals who were more avoidant of relationships tended to choose Abercrombie jeans, which were perceived to be more exciting than sincere. In contrast, anxious individuals who seek intimacy in relationships were more likely to pick Gap jeans, which were perceived as more sincere than exciting," the authors write.

"This research points out an interesting but counterintuitive finding: brand personality can be most useful for forging consumer-brand connections with consumers who tend to enjoy such deep connections in the interpersonal context," the authors conclude.
-end-
Vanitha Swaminathan, Karen M Stilley, and Rohini Ahluwalia. "When Brand Personality Matters: The Moderating Role of Attachment Styles." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2009.

University of Chicago Press Journals

Related Relationships Articles from Brightsurf:

Gorilla relationships limited in large groups
Mountain gorillas that live in oversized groups may have to limit the number of strong social relationships they form, new research suggests.

Electronic surveillance in couple relationships
Impaired intimacy, satisfaction, and infidelity in a romantic relationship can fuel Interpersonal Electronic Surveillance (IES).

'Feeling obligated' can impact relationships during social distancing
In a time where many are practicing 'social distancing' from the outside world, people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual.

We can make predictions about relationships - but is this necessary?
'Predictions as to the longevity of a relationship are definitely possible,' says Dr Christine Finn from the University of Jena.

Disruptions of salesperson-customer relationships. Is that always bad?
Implications from sales relationship disruptions are intricate and can be revitalizing.

Do open relationships really work?
Open relationships typically describe couples in which the partners have agreed on sexual activity with someone other than their primary romantic partner, while maintaining the couple bond.

The 7 types of sugar daddy relationships
University of Colorado Denver researcher looks inside 48 sugar daddy relationships to better understand the different types of dynamics, break down the typical stereotype(s) and better understand how these relationships work in the United States.

Positive relationships boost self-esteem, and vice versa
Does having close friends boost your self-esteem, or does having high self-esteem influence the quality of your friendships?

Strong family relationships may help with asthma outcomes for children
Positive family relationships might help youth to maintain good asthma management behaviors even in the face of difficult neighborhood conditions, according to a new Northwestern University study.

In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a 'type'
Researchers at the University of Toronto show that people do indeed have a 'type' when it comes to dating, and that despite best intentions to date outside that type -- for example, after a bad relationship -- some will gravitate to similar partners.

Read More: Relationships News and Relationships Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.