Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Automobile Purchases and Self-Image Reinforcement


Research has shown that at least some people choose specific automobile brands to reinforce their self-image, project a certain social status, and enhance their self-esteem. They also choose them to “fit in” with their chosen social group. Other factors contribute to choice, including constraints such as income and capacity to acquire.1

Think about this. What might each of these brands say about the purchaser’s self-image and intended social group/status:

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Chevy
  • HUMMER
  • Jeep
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • MINI Cooper
  • Subaru
  • Tesla
  • Toyota
  • Volvo


1. Source: Liza-Jane Sowden and Martin Grimmer, "Symbolic Consumption and Consumer Identity: An Application of Social Identity Theory to Car Purchase Behavior" (Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference 2009), http://www.duplication.net.au/ANZMAC09/papers/ANZMAC2009-206.pdf.

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