Commercials are constantly on TV advertising different brands of apparel, games, and food. Companies pay a great deal of money to get that flashy ad on during the right time for the consumer. For example the Superbowl commercials are some of the most highly anticipated commercials on TV. Millions of people are watching during this time and this is the prime time to advertise. Is it that flashy commercial that influences you to buy the things that you do? When was the last time you were walking in the mall and went down to your favorite store to buy yourself something? Have you ever wondered why it is that you chose that particular brand?
I’ve often asked myself that question and decided to look at some of the reason why we buy what we buy. According to a recent article entitled, Filling in the Gaps: Personality Types Lead People to Choose Certain Brands people’s relationship style’s can affect their brand choices.
Let us first take a look at the two brands featured in this article Abercrombie & Fitch and GAP.
Abercrombie & Fitch: An American retailer that focuses on casual wear for consumers aged 18-22. It has over 300 locations in the United States. Company also operates three offshoot brands: Abercrombie (children’s wear), Hollister Co. and Gilly Hicks.
GAP: An American clothing and retailer based in San Francisco, California founded in 1969 by Donald G. Fisher and Doris F. Fisher. This Company has five primary brands GAP, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. GAP operates 3076 stores nationwide, 2551 in the United States.
Now after looking at the two brands we can discuss attachment. In the world of psychology different relationship styles are referred to as “attachment styles.” In a study conducted by Vanitha Swaminathan, Karen M. Stilley (University of Pittsburgh), and Rohini Ahluwalia (University of Minnesota) they explored the way attachment styles had an influence on brand choices.
First they looked at the infant and caregiver relationship. In this relationship an individual will develop an attachment style characterized by two dimensions: anxiety and avoidance. The anxiety dimension is the extent a person’s view of self as positive or negative. While the avoidance dimension is based on the extent to which the view of others is positive or negative. According to the study, anxiously attached individuals are more influenced by brand personalities. “Brand personalities, is the idea that a particular brand possesses humanlike traits, such as sincerity, or excitement.” (Ahluwalia, Swaminathan & Stilley) “Because of a low view of self, anxious people tend to use brands to ideal their ideal self concept to future relationship partners and therefore focus more on brand personality and what it is that makes up the brand.” (Ahluwalia, Swaminathan & Stilley)
Could this be true? Do people who have a low self image tend to seek out or go after a brand that shouts personality or look at me? Several studies were conducted on this topic, and the participants were tested to determine their attachment styles. In part of the study, the participants were asked about their desire for “sincere” versus “exciting” products. According to their findings, anxious individuals who were more avoidant of relationships tended to chose Abercrombie jeans. For the individual, the Abercrombie jeans were perceived to be more exciting than sincere. While on the other hand, anxious individuals who seek intimacy in relationships were more likely to pick GAP jeans, which they perceived as more sincere than exciting.
According to the authors, “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.”
It can be concluded that a person’s personality and attachment styles played a large role in the clothing brands they chose. Personally I’m not sure if that is why I chose the particular brands that I do. However, is this really the case though for most people?