Self- concept is how a consumer perceives themselves and their behavior in the market industry, mainly the attitude they hold towards themselves. It is known to be an unconscious component that is always present when the customer comes one on one with the industry. They are divided into six parts. The actual self, ideal self, social self, ideal social self, expected self, and situational self.
The actual self is the person’s basic self-concept of themselves. Essentially, it means what a person actually thinks of themselves. The perception of a person’s actual self can be made of different attributes like their attractiveness, intelligence, and athleticism. All the self- describing attributes that a human knows about themselves include characteristics from evaluations they heard from other people to their self-evaluations. For example, if a person thinks that they are always on time, meaning that punctuality is a part of their actual self.
The ideal self is how a human would like to perceive themselves. They make these perceptions from what they learned from life experiences, what they admire from their role models, and some demands they learn from society in general. For example, a person’s parents are highly respected scientists; the person knows they have to have a high-paying job. Their ideal self might not like science and would much rather prefer to be a police officer to help people out on one. If a person’s actual self is entirely different from their ideal self, then they might feel like a failure and be dissatisfied with their life.
A person’s social self is how a human thinks other perceive them. They make these perceptions from interacting and observing people, responding to people’s opinions about oneself, and other social interactions. It works as the object of their own reflection; they reflect about themselves basing it on how they think other humans see them. If a child is told they are a “bad student” and treated like a “bad student” by their relatives and parents, then that will lead the child to believe that they are a “bad student.”
The ideal social self is what a person would like other people to perceive them. Most of the time, it is a perfect image that a human creates for oneself; sometimes, the ideal self might not be realistic. Customers usually prefer a brand that is perceived by them to be more rather than less corresponding to their ideal social self. For example, a person might be lazy and dull but might imagine themselves to be energetic and outgoing.
The expected self is an image of self that lands between the ideal and actual self. It’s how consumers expect to see themselves at a specific time in their lives. These are traits they believe are their obligation to possess. If a company wants to target consumers to start working out, the marketer can use the expected self to bring in customers who would like to improve their lifestyles through fitness. The expected self is one of the essential factor’s marketers can use to promote their products.
Lastly is the situational self, which is how people see their self-image in a specific situation. This is one of the most critical elements when it comes to brand choice. For example, if the person has an important dinner to attend, they might have an image in their mind that will lead them to buy a particular type of attire like a suit or a dress. One brand might influence their opinion by having more options or better quality.
I have been a part of the marketing team of a local fitness studio for years, and self-concept is used everywhere in their marketing strategies. First, we use our expected self to promote our products and services, and a person might even be getting ready for an important event in their life, which situational self comes in. A person’s ideal social self is fit, and they might want to do the same. They are all factors that can bring in customers if marketed the right way. Self-concept leads brands to a successful marketing campaign and surpassing their competitors in their market share.