People coming from the same subculture, social class and occupation may have quite different lifestyles. Lifestyle is a person's pattern of living as expressed in his or her activities, interests and opinions. Lifestyle captures something more than the person's social class or personality. It profiles a person's whole pattern of acting and interacting in the world.

The technique of measuring lifestyles is known as psychographies. It involves measuring the primary dimensions shown in Table 6.3. The first three are known as the AlO dimensions (activities, interests, opinions). Several research firms have developed lifestyle classifications. The most widely used is the SRI Values and Lifestyles (VALS) typology. The original VALS typology classifies consumers into nine lifestyle groups according to whether they were inner directed (for example, 'experientials'); outer directed ('achievers', 'belongers'); or need driven ('survivors'). Using this VALS classification, a bank found that the businessmen they were targeting consisted mainly of 'achievers' who were strongly competitive individualists.13 The bank designed highly successful ads showing men taking part in solo sports such as sailing, jogging and water skiing.11

Everyday-Life Research by SINUS GmbH, a German company, identifies 'social milieus' covering France, Germany, Italy and the UK. This study describes the stnieture of society with five social classes and value orientations:

• Basic orientation: traditional - to preserve.

• Basic orientation: materialist - to fia<oe.

• Changing values: hedonism - Co indulge,

• Changing values: pos(materialism - to be,

• Changing values: postmodernism - to have, to be and to indulge.

Table 6.4

Typology of social milieus

Table 6.4









Les Heri tiers

Neoconse ri

Upper elass

Traditional upper-



mid die -el ass



Flor esbii rgerlich es




Petit bourgeois group




middle elass

mainly oriented


to preserving the

status quo


Traditions loses

Les laborious

Cultura operaia



working class



working elass

blue-collar worker



Les non ve a UK

Rampanti, plus

Soeial elimbers,

Soeial climber and





plus progressive

aehic vc merit -

working elass

oriented white-

arid blue-collar



Tech 11 ok rat is eh-

Les managers







middle elass

with a postmaterial




Les post-



Mainly young pleasure




Rocio critical


Les neo-

Critioa soeiale


Pursuing an



alternative lifestyle


Tradition si os es

Les oiibli6s,



Uprooted blue -co liar



plus les re be lies


workers and destitute

hedonistes urbano hedonistes urbano

It distinguishes two types of value: traditional values, emphasizing hard work, thrift, religion, honesty, £ood manners and obedience; and material values concerned with possession and a need for security. From these, SINUS developed a typology of social milieus (see Table 6.4): groups of people who share a common set of values and beliefs about work, private relationships, leisure activities and aesthetics, and a common perception of future plans, wishes and dreams. The size and exact nature of these milieus vary between the countries studied, but there are broad international comparisons.

Knowing the social milieu of a person can provide information about his or her everyday life, such as work likes and dislikes, which helps in product development and advertising. The study finds that the upmarket segments share a similar structure in all four countries; and it identifies trend-setting milieus in each country, containing heavy consumers with comparable attitudinal and soeiodemo-graphic characteristics. Important values shared by ali these consumers include: tolerance, open-mindedness, an out ward-looking approach; career and success, education and culture, a high standard of living, hedonistic luxury consumption, individualism and Europe.

The Anticipating Change in Europe (ACE) study, by the RISC research agency of Paris, investigated social changes in 12 European countries, die United

States, Canada and Japan, The objective was to try to understand how social changes influence market trends. RISC describes people using sociodemographic characteristics, soeiooulrural profile, activities (sports, leisure, culture), behaviour towards the media (press, radio, television), political inclinations and mood. Using these dimensions, RISC developed six Eurotypes:

1. The traditionalist (18 per cent of the European population) is influenced by the culture, soeioeconomic history and unique situation of his or her country, with a profile reflecting deep-rooted attitudes specific to that country. Consequently, this is the least homogeneous group across countries.

2. The homebody (14 per cent) is driven by a strong attachment to his or her roots and childhood environment. Less preoccupied with economic security than the traditionalist, the homebody needs to feel in touch with the social environment. The homebody seeks warm relationships and has difficulty coping with violence in society,

3. The rationalist (23 per cent) has an ability to cope with unforeseeable and complex situations, and a readiness to take risks rind start new endeavours. Personal fulfilment is more about self-expression than financial reward. The rationalist believes science and technology will help resolve the challenges facing humanity.

4. The pleasurist (17 per cent) emphasizes sensual and emotional experiences, preferring n on-hierarchic ally structured groups built around self-reliance and self-regulation and not around leaders or formal decision-making processes.

5. Tlie utriver (15 per cent) holds the attitudes, belief's and values that underlie the dynamics of social change. The striver believes in autonomous behaviour and wants to shape his or her life and to exploit mental, physical, sensual and emotional possibilities to the full.

6. The trendsetter (13 per cent) favours non-hierarchical social structures and enjoys spontaneity rather than formal procedures. Trendsetters see no need to prove their abilities. Even more individualistic than strivers, they exemplify the flexible response to a rapidly changing environment.

These studies do suggest that there are European lifestyles although, as with social class, there is greater similarity between wealthy Europeans than between poor ones. For this reason, luxury brands and their advertising are often more standardized internationally than other products.15

Lifestyle classifications need not he universal - they can vary significantly from country to country. McCann-Erickson, for example, found the following British lifestyles: Avant Guardians (interested in change): Pontificators (traditionalists, very British); Chameleons (follow the crowd); and SleefwDalken, (contented under-aehhivers). Contrast this with Survey Research Malaysia's seven categories from their developing country: Upper Echelons (driven by status and desire to stand out in society); Not Quite Theres (ambition for self and family); Rebel Hangouts (want to look off mainstream); Sfeef)walkers (want to get through the day); Inconspicuous (want to blend in): Kampung Trendsetters (ambitious, city-influenced village dwellers); and Rural Traditiortalists (abide by traditional rules)."' Finally, advertising agency D'Arcy, Masius. Benton & Bowles identified five categories of Russian consumer: Kuptsi (merchants), Cossacks, Students, Business Executives and Russian Souls, Cossacks are characterized as ambitious, independent and status seeking, Russian Souls as passive, fearful of choices and hopeful, Tims, a typical Cossack might drive a BMW, smoke Dunhill cigarettes and drink Remy Martin liquor, whereas a Russian Soul would drive a Lada, smoke Marlboros and drink Smirnoff Vodka.17

The lifestyle concept, when used carefully, can help the marketer understand changing consumer values and how they affect buying behaviour. Anna Flores, for example, can choose to live the role of a capable homemaker, a career woman or a free spirit - or all three. She plays several roles, and the way she blends them expresses her lifestyle. If she ever became a professional photographer, this would change her lifestyle, in turn changing what and how she buys.

• Personality and Self-Concept

Each person's distinct personality influences his or her buying behaviour. Personality refers to the unique psychological characteristics that lead to relatively consistent and lasting responses to one's own environment. Personality is usually described in terms of traits such as self-confidence, dominance, sociability, autonomy, defensive ness, adaptability and aggressiveness."' Personality can be useful in analyzing consumer behaviour lor certain product or brand choices. For example, coffee makers have discovered that heavy coffee drinkers tend to be high on sociability. Thus Nescafe ads show people coming together over a cup of coffee.

Many marketers use a concept related to personality - a person's self-concept (also called self-image). The basic self-concept premise is that people's possessions contribute to and reflect their identities: that is, 'we arc what we have'. Thus, in order to understand consumer behaviour, the marketer must first understand the relationship between consumer self-concept and possessions. For example, people buy books to support their self-images:

People have the mistaken notion that the thing you do with books is read them. Wrong ... People buy books for what the purchase says about them -their taste, their cultivation, their trendiness. Their aim ... is to connect themselves, or those to whom they give the books as gifts, with all the other refined owners of Edgar Allen Poe collections or sensitive owners of Virginia Woolf collections. ... [The result is that] you can sell books as consumer products, with seductive displays, flashy posters, an emphasis on the glamour of the book, and the fashionahleness of the bestseller and the trendy author.'1'

Anna Flores may see herself as outgoing, fun and active. Therefore, she will favour a camera that projects the same qualities. In that case the Polaroid Vision autofocus SLR could attract her. 'The fun develops instantly.'2"

Really, it is not that simple. What if Anna's actual self-concept (how she views herself) differs from her ideal self-concept (how she would like to view herself) and from her others se//-concept (how she thinks others sees her)? Which self will she try to satisfy when she buys a camera? Because this is unclear, self-concept theory has met with mixed Huccess in predicting consumer responses to brand images.

personality A person's distinguishing psychological characteristics that lead to relatively consistent and lasting responses to his or her oi&n environment:

self-uoneept Self-image, or the Qvmplex mental pictures that people have of themselves.

Psychological Factors

A person's buying choices are further influenced by four important psychological fiietors: motivation, perception, learning, and beliefs and attitudes.

• Motivation

We know that Anna Flores became interested in buying a camera. Why? What is she really seeking? What needs is she trying to satisfy?

The term motivation research refers to qualitative research designed to probe consumers' hidden, subconscious motivations. Because consumers often don't know or can't describe just why they act as they do, motivation

Such projective techniques seem dotty, but more and more marketers are turning to these touchy-feely, motivation research approaches to help them probe consumer psyches and develop better marketing strategies.

Many advertising agencies employ teams of psychologists, anthropologists and other social scientists to carry out their motivation research. Says the research director of one large agency: 'We believe people make choices on a basic primitive level ... we use the probe to get down to the unconscious.' This agency routinely conducts one-on-one, therapy-like interviews to delve into the Inner workings of consumers, Another agency asks consumers to describe their favourite brands as animals or cars (say, Saab versus BMW) in order to assess the prestige associated with various brands. Still another agency has consumers draw figures or make clay models of typical brands or brand users:

In one instance, the agency asked 50 interviewees to sketch likely buyers of two different brands of cake mixes. Consistently, the group portrayed Pillsbury customers as apron-clad, grandmotherly types, while they pictured Duncan Mines purchasers as svelte, contemporary women.

In a similar study, American Express had people sketch likely users of its gold card versus its green

Sketch Sales Promotion

Motivation research: when asked to sketch figures of typical cake-mix users, subjects portrayed Pillshuiy customers as grandmotherly types and Duncan ilincs buyers as svelte and contemporary.

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