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The concept of self

1. Self Concept.

The concept of self is relatively hard to describe, as the individual person, began to consider himself as an individual person, without considering him as a part of group or a society. Sirgy (1982) described the self concept as the person's reflection of having an orientation or regard to himself as an object.

The notion behind the self concept is the ideology that every human life is unique, he or she is individual object and need to be nurtured Solomon,Bamossy,Askergaard, Hogg (2006). Again this concept is very much depend upon the society, where self is living in. In western culture, where there is a individualistic mode of life and in eastern culture, the individual is strictly a part of society or a family, they live in collectivist society.

According to Markin (1979) the self concept is a multi dimensional concept, which consists of five components like Ideal Self, The apparent self, the social self and the actual self while Solomon,Bamossy,Askergaard, Hogg (2006) identifies the component of Self concept as Self Esteem, Ideal and real selves, multiple selves, Symbolic interactionism, the looking glass self, and Self Consciousness. Schiff man and Kanuk(2004) identifies the components of Self as, One or Multiple selves, The Makeup of the self Image, the extended self, Altering the self, Virtual personality or Self.

Self Esteem -

Self esteem refers to the positivity of a person; a person with High self esteem is likely to be confident and will be at the centre of attraction and a person with comparatively less self esteem, will consume the products that will make him/her more confident. Peoples with low self esteem tend to shrink their activities in order to avoid humiliation and embarrassment. (Solomon, Bamossy, Askergaard, Hogg, 2006)

Real and Ideal selves

According to Solomon, Bamossy, Askergaard, and Hogg, (2006) the real self is the current status of a person, with more realistic characters and attributes. While the Ideal self is our Dream to attain a certain position in life, this concept is greatly influenced by the advertisements or role models where people try to have an image of his/her role model. The ideal self of a person influence the level of self esteem in that particular person, by comparing the current status with the ideal status.

Schiff man and Kanuk (2004) define ideal self as a state of condition, which consumers prefer to see themselves in Future, while the real self is the position where a consumer sees himself/herself in the current situation.

Most people experience a large gap between their actual self and the ideal self, and it affects the self esteem of that peoples, so it is assumed that, this peoples consumer a variety of products which reflects their Ideal self in order to reduce the gap between their actual self and ideal self. In other words, consumption of symbols is a pathway to attain their ideal self image.

Multiple selves

According to Solomon, Bamossy, Askergaard, Hogg, (2006) Markus and Kunda (1986), Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) a person is having many selves according the situation and according to the peoples he or she interacts with. During these times any one of the multiple self will be active, while other selves remain temporarily dormant.

The Looking glass self

In this concept, the individual reads, his self image with the aid of the signal and vibration bounced by others in the society. The desire to view and describe ourselves operates like a psychological sonar, which reads and analysis the signals emitting by others. The result can be varied according to the person who judge the individual and how the individual interpreting the signals, Solomon, Bamossy, Askergaard, Hogg (2006)

Self Conscious

Solomon,Bamossy,Askergaard, Hogg (2006) analyse the self conscious as the assessment of the real self by an individual

Altering self

With the aid of accessories and makeovers, an individual is trying to alter the self, to become a different self or an improved self, the notion of altering self is the affinity of the individual to express their individuality by creating a new self, at the same time maintaining the real self (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2004).

The Extended Self

Extended self is defined as the usage of props and setting by an individual to define their social roles, they consider these props and setting as an integral part of their selves. Solomon, Bamossy,Askergaard, Hogg (2006) (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2004).

The importance of self concept analysis in the field of business was described by Sirgy (1982). He analysed that consumers tend to buy products, which relates to the actual self of themselves. While Adam et al (1993) outlined that with the consumption people are projecting a picture of selves to themselves and to others. Consumers tend to buy products, in which they see their actual self. Graeff(1996) found that the consumers perception about a particular brand is entirely depend upon the perception closeness with the brand image and the self image. Solomon,Bamossy,Askergaard, Hogg (2006) analyse that consumption activities are a kind of self definition of an individual and by consumption the individual project the consistency between their values.

Through this Essay, the researcher is interpreting own the perception about Self concept to consuming for self esteem for attaining Ideal self image and multiple self.

So it is Important for a marketer to understand the Self concept of the consumer, in order to cater the needs and requirement of the consumer at its best.

In the consumption diary, the researcher denotes the passion and dream to be a privileged personality, (p.9, 18 and 19) who enjoys the luxury of having a private jet like Mr.Mukesh Ambani or to flying in First and Business class cabins, to buy a car for himself and for the family with his fist salary the researcher is also keen to get a leather jacket like the participants of MTV roadies, all these facts implies the desire to attain an ideal self image, while the researcher also aware of the real self, the researcher comments about his current and jobless situation (p, 16, 9)

The researcher is also afraid of his physical appearance while purchasing Jackets, can be interpreted as his immense self conscious while making a purchase or can be interpreted to the lack of self esteem, with these details, it is assumed that the researcher lacks consider amount of self esteem as the gap between his real self and ideal self is too big (Solomon,Bamossy,Askergaard, Hogg.2006)

1. Cultural Theory

In the cultural theory, the researcher analysis the affect and influence of his religious ethical or rituals values in his consumption pattern.

Different academics, described the concept of culture as;

Solomon,Bamossy,Askergaard, Hogg (2006) commented that, Culture is a prism, through which an individual analyse products and try to make their sense out of their own and other peoples consumer behaviour. The culture of a particular individual determines the priority of the purchase and attitudes towards different situations, activities, and substances. Again the influence of the culture is varied according to the geographical locations. The western culture implies more on the individualistic method of consumption, while eastern culture emphasise the importance of collectivism.

(Jamal, et al 2003) describes the components which makes the cultural decisions, he views that the values and the ethical believes are the two major components which determines the cultural decision of an individual. Hoffstede (1991) analysis that the culture is biased according to the culture and the condition in which an individual is raised and lived through and these conditions determine the consumer pattern of the individual. Sood and Nasu (1995) comments that the nationality of a person also can influence the formation of the culture and values.

The moral conducts are described according to two methods, the deontological and the technological method According to the deontolical method, the moral conducts and the religious beliefs are inherited to a person from the ancestors or from the previous society. (Singhapakdi and Vittel, 1993 and Murphy and Laczniak, 1981).

The religion is described as a bunch of moral codes, which governs the conduct of an individual or a group of individuals or a society (Wines and Napier, 1992). Religion is considered to a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things (Emily, cited in Nejdet Delener, the effects of religious factors on a perceived risk in durable goods purchase decisions, 1990). Religiosity can be stricter than religion as religiosity is the degree of belief that a person hold in his ideas and life (Delener, 1991).

The diary (pp. 15) describes the affinity of the researcher to have a traditional food, on the day of religious festival, it says in the dairy that, other room mates were not bothered about the special lunch on that auspicious day of Bakrid, but the researchers mind constantly pushed him to make a move or initiative to make a special dish. This shows his loyalty to the tradition and routine he has been keeping since ages, even not at his home he still strive to make full out of that belief and the researcher go Lidl and prepares food for himself and to the room mates.

From the diary abstract (pp. 11) tells that the researcher wanted to have a body massage as his back aches due to the lifestyle he maintains in UK, The researcher is exceptionally cautious about the morality and the cultural and ethical values he inherited from the ancestors, as he avoids doing a body massage, as the massage parlour was ran by women, and his culture doesn't allow him to be touched by other women. This shows the influence of ancestral and the societal situation where the researcher raised, when it comes to morality of the researcher.

The religion is one of the main factor which influence the food consumption and the degree of affect is directly proportional to the extent of influence that religion made in that person and how far he follows the religion. Islam is a religion governed by a set of rules and customs which is evaluated and judged by five pillars, consuming halal food is a must for religious people in Islam. The consumption of Halal meat is not an automated process among Muslims. They consume halal food as a form of personal conviction and it is observed that (Bonne, et al 2007). Unlike in the past, the social and the political presence Muslims are increased and they began to ask for the halal labelled meat (Riaz and Chaudry, 2004)

Throughout the Diary, the researcher described about the restriction of consuming certain food in his new surroundings.

The researcher has demonstrated the precaution that he makes, while he makes a decision to dine outside his house. Another loyalty of the researcher, towards the religion can be seen when he visited a Super Market See Woo where he see the Pork and the halal chicken are served together, and he feels like two opposite poles are served together. From the exact diary words of the researcher it is understood that, it has generated a gross feeling in the mind of the researcher, (pp.11.) On the other occasion the researcher, was doubtful about a food (P...), he bought from a shop, and his mind was constantly asking him that, is it allowed food? The researcher clarified his doubt to the vendor before he tasted it, that is that food halal one or not? The researcher felt constant insecurity while consume food outside his house, this kind of insecurity has been described by Nedjet Delener in 1990, Religious individual tends to perceive higher risks during the consumption or while making consumption decision, while less religious peoples feel less secure and tends to have comparatively low degree of risks during their consumption decision.

From these facts mentioned above, it is assumed that the researcher is highly influenced by religious rituals and symbols while making a purchase decision.

2. Decision making theory

In the decision making process the researcher is focusing on the problem solving perspective of Decision making.

The consumer decision making process is not a single process, it is associated with many factors (Henry Assael, 1998)

The Idea of developing the problem solving perspective of decision making theory is the assumption of dominant school that, the consumer as an Cognitive object while making consumption decision, (Schiff man and Kanuk, 2004).

"The decision-making perspective holds that buying behaviour results from consumers' engaging in a problem-solving task in which they move through a series of stages" (John.C.Mowen, 1988, .p15)

According to this concept, the consumer moves through a series of Seven stages, before making a purchase decision.(Roger et al, 2001)

need recognition.

Need recognition occurs when there is a alarming difference between the actual self and the desired self (Solomon et at, 2006, and Roger et al, 2001, Henry Assael, 1998). Recognition of needs happens when a person brazen out with a problem or deficiency (Schiff man et al 2004). Henry (1998) comments that the need in a person can be aroused with variety of inputs such as the past experience of the customer.

It is true that the needs are often spurred by the marketing efforts, butThe role of a marketer in creating a need, is not to manipulate the consumer, but to make understand the consumer what his need is, and to direct towards a specific brand, even a pre existing demand is there (Solomon et al, 2006)

Pre purchase search

From the diary extract (P..) the researcher is trying to obtain the prices of telephone, which the researcher wanted to buy, to call home country. During the pre purchase search, the researcher opts for checking the available information about the telephone through eBay. In order to get a vague idea about the price of telephone sets in United Kingdom, the researcher thought it is best way to search online, and particularly eBay, as a form of external information got from the room mates; it was easy for the researcher to choose eBay for best deals and for an outline about prices.

Information search is the mode of survey, which a consumer employs to make an appropriate purchasing decision. ( Solomon etal, 2006)

Pre purchase search begin with recognition of need that can be rectified with consumption. There are two kinds of search sources, the internal information source and the external information source. Internal source is the information in the memory from the previous experience of purchase. Past experience gives a huge amount of information about the current choice. If the consumer lacks the past experience, he or she will start searching actively for the information from the external sources like Advertisements and websites, whichever is possible (Schiffman etal 2004) Roger etal (2001) added one more source of information that is accidental or situational information, which the consumer gets by chance or by situation.

Here comes the importance of Marketing communication. The correct market communication at the correct time and place, will let the consumer to understand the details about the product and which lead the consumer to get attracted towards the product.

Evaluation of alternatives

From the diary (p) the researcher demonstrated a perfect example for evaluating the alternatives by searching for best deal for Air tickets to India. After listening to the different fares, the researcher began to evaluate the alternatives, by comparing which one to go for and how it benefits him as a consumer. By comparing the possible alternatives, the researcher decided to nullify the bad deals and go for the best one.

This stage is the most time consuming stage for a consumer that is to evaluate the options available from the information, before making a purchasing decision. The modern consumers are flooded with thousands of choices with thousands of brands waiting for the attention of the potential consumer. Solomon et al (2006). At this point of time, the consumers ask themselves a question that, "what are my options?" and "Which is the best?" consumers use either memory or the external source to sort the option (roger et al 1998).

Decision making process.

Throughout the diary, the researcher demonstrated the quest for best deals when purchasing the house holds.

According to Schiffman et al (2004) there are three mode of purchase, they are Trial Purchase, repeated purchase and Long term commitment purchase. Where a trial purchase comprised of buying product for first time in little quantity to check the product directly, if the product appeared satisfactory, it is likely to buy that product again for consumption, which is termed as Repeated buying and this mode of repeated buying can lead the customer towards loyalty to that particular brand, which leads to the Long term commitment purchase. While Roger et al (2001) considers there are two phases of purchase behaviours among consumers. The first phase is switching retailer or rely on other mode of retailing such as television or internet or catalogs while the second phase consist of switching the models or the products within the same stores. This phase is aided with the capabilities of the sales person the arrangement pattern of the product to attract the attention of the consumer. The consumer moves with an agenda during the first three stages of decision making, while Roger argues that, the stage four is not under the complete control of the consumer, as many other factors influence the purchase decision.

At this phase, the role of a marketer is important; the consumer mind will be swinging in the confusion of which product to chose. By understanding the consumer behaviour a marketer can lead the consumer the product which they wanted. The way of arranging the product is also an important factor to induce an impulsive purchase at in store condition.( Roger et al, 2001)

Consumption

Consumption can occur either immediately or delayed, and through consumption the satisfaction of the consumer can be derived. Consumption of a product is depending up on the promotions and offers a consumer can get, if there is best deal offers, it is likely to stock the products, for future use. (Solomon, et al)

Post consumption evaluation

After the purchase, the consumer starts evaluating the product, if the performance of the product matches the consumer expectation it is likely for the consumer to get satisfied, and vice versa (Schiffman et al, 2004) Roger et al argues, it is important to understand how the consumer use the product, if the consumer abuses the product, it is less likely for the consumer to get satisfied with the product.

For making the consumer understand about the usage of the product, to prevent dissatisfaction, the company introduced variety of Instructions and Warranties. With this facilities it is likely for a customer to opt for a re purchase.

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