2. Concept of self

This section covers the week-1 of the course.

Table of Contents

A. Self Concept

What is it? It is the belief system for one’s own attributes. In other words, it is what you believe about your own skills and attributes.

  • Values formed in very young age gets carried over into the adulthood.
A very close concept to Self concept is Self-esteem. It has to do with how well or poorly one sees oneself.

Real self Vs Ideal self

  • Actual/Real self - How a person sees his/her current self.

  • Ideal Self - Fantasizing about one’s ideal self increases self esteem.

Case study: The Dove Campaign

Dove soap has been positioning itself in the market as standing for real beauty. It has made a niche for itself by going against the convention of featuring slick, sexy women to advertise its products.

Video link: The dove evolution

Objective: How does it tie into what was discussed about real and ideal self?

  • The video provides any idea of how advertisements and social media shape the ideal self.

    • The ideal self is distorted by the advertisements, as these ads are not a natural depiction of a person.

    • They tend to hide the imperfections of a person and depict a wrong impression of a ideal self.

B. Social Comparison Theory

Social comaprison can enhance or hurt one’s self-esteem.

  • It can have both positive and negative effect.

Can changing the ideal benchmark help people improve their self-esteem?

A change in the benchmark could help in improving the self-esteem only to an extent. They have to accept themselves for who they are and understand that it is unrealistic to fit into the ideal type imposed by social norms.

For social comparison, the person to whom you compare yourself plays a big role in the comparison effects. So, if your benchmark is set much higher than where you see yourself on the scale, then the effect is a negative one. Conversely, if your benchmark is lower than your current position, then the comparison makes you feel better about who you are.

What is interesting in social comparison is that the individual has a lot of latitude in choosing their comparison point.

C. Impression Management

Consumers use products, make-up and fashion to manage others' impression of them.

D. Social self

Dramaturgical Perspective: A consumer often play multiple roles depending on where they are - at home, at work, with friends, in the community. This is termed as multiple selves.

D1. Symbolic Interactionism

Consumers live in a symbolic environment, in which objects have a shared meaning that are concieved by the members of the group.

E. Extending the Self through consumption

Who is the extended self?

  • Possessions reflect the identify of the consumer, and in turn these possessions contribute to that identity.

  • It can operate at a few levels

    • Personal level: Collecting possessions to mark experiences.
    • Family level: A place of living, way of livings, etc.
    • Group level: Owning something (experience, materials)that is shared by a group of people

Self-congruence models: Consumers buy products and brands they believe to possess symbolic meanings that are similar and/or complementary to their self-concept.