Satisfying Identity-Signaling and Uniqueness Motives Through Consumer Choice

Cindy Chan, Cornell University, USA
Jonah Berger, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Leaf Van Boven, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
Consumers concerned with conveying social identity may often experience tension between communicating their group membership and communicating what makes them unique. Four studies investigate how people integrate these seemingly opposing motives through consumer choice. We show that these motives are resolved on different levels. At the brand level, consumers often choose brands linked to their social group and this is mediated by how much people want to be associated with that identity. Uniqueness motives, in contrast, often act at the product level. When choosing products from these brands, people with higher needs for differentiation prefer more unique options.
[ to cite ]:
Cindy Chan, Jonah Berger, and Leaf Van Boven (2010) ,"Satisfying Identity-Signaling and Uniqueness Motives Through Consumer Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 81-84 .