It appears the American Dream has come true: Buying branded products does make you feel better about yourself!
NewsFeed has long pondered why Victoria’s Secret bags are the National Geographic of bags, with lifespans that continue long after their original use. Now it appears that the company’s branding is so interwoven into our lives that even being in the presence of its products can alter our self-perception, according to a new study by University of Minnesota researchers Deborah Roedder John and Ji Kyung Park.
One phase of John and Park’s research involved giving a sample of 85 women a shopping bag to carry around a mall for an hour and then asking them to assess their personalities. The team found that women who were given a Victoria’s Secret bag instead of a generic bag thought they were more feminine, more glamourous and better-looking.
A later phase involved giving a group of MBA students pens with which to take notes. After six weeks, students who had been given pens with the MIT logo thought they were more intelligent and were better leaders.
John and Park say that the brand effects varied depending on whether the participants believed that their personalities and capabilities were fixed (people called “entity theorists,”) or whether they were fluid and influenced by their actions (people called “incremental theorists.”) Somewhat counterintuitively, in the shopping bag experiment it was the entity theorists who saw the change in their self-assessments:
Consumers most affected by their experience with Victoria’s Secret held certain beliefs about their personalities. They believe their personal qualities are fixed and cannot be improved by their own efforts at self-improvement. Therefore, they look for ways to signal their positive qualities through other means, such as brands.
So the next time you see a coquettish consumer carrying around one of those pink striped bags (or are carrying one around yourself) don’t think, “That person spends way too much on underwear.” Think “That person is such an entity theorist!” It’s much nicer. (via AOL News)