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    The role that personality and The role that personality and Document Transcript

    • 128 Business Intelligence Journal July THE ROLE THAT PERSONALITY AND MOTIVATION PLAY IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR: A  CASE STUDY ON HSBC  By Jolene Montgomery This paper discusses in detail the roleIntroduction   that motivation and personality plays in influencing consumer behavior, taking the In today’s information-oriented society, case of the Hongkong and Shanghairesearch and development, particularly Banking Corporation (HSBC) as aninformation research, has become an example to discuss and analyze theseimportant activity for business companies, important points. In this paper, an analysisinstitutions, and organizations, who want of the print ads of HSBC is analyzed,to know more about the consumer market, relating its features to identify its targetpeople who consider consumption as market and perceived motivations andembedded and part of their everyday lives. personalities of HSBC’s target market.Initially, commercialism of goods and This study aims to provide an illustrationservices through advertising mainly of how motivation and personality analysisfocused on extant products and services of consumers are vital to the understandingthat people need; nowadays, persuasive of consumer markets and behavior.messages are extended throughadvertising, informing people about the Consumer  Personality  and goods and services that they should and Motivation  as  illustrated  in  HSBC ought to know and buy for themselves. Print ads  Selling these products and servicesthrough persuasive advertising messages, The terms motivation and personalityhowever, are the products of advertising may seem familiar for people, but itsresearch. More specifically, consumer significance to consumer behavior is lessresearch tries to identify not only the known, yet increasingly essential insocio-demographic, but also identifying, determining, andpsychographic profile of consumers, understanding insights regardingunderstanding how people can be consumption patterns and preferences.persuaded to buy a company’s product or Personality is defined by Sheth et. al.service. Consumer research looks into the (1999) as “[a] person’s consistent waysmotivations and personalities of an [sic] of responding to the environment inindividual in terms of consuming or which he or she lives” (G-11).buying a particular product or service, Personality, he states, is created throughlater turning this information into the combining of external influences or thestrategies geared at gaining a particular social environment and genetic orsegment of the market that the company biological traits of the individual. Thetargets or centers on. combination of social with the individual Montgomery, J. - Case Study 3: The Role that Personality and Motivation Play in the Consumer Behaviour: A Case Study on HSBC
    • 2008 Jolene Montgomery 129results to the creation or development the target consumer market in thecustomer personality; consumer production of the advertising message andpersonality may be product- or service- form. The texts that follow discusses theoriented, or both (243). Product-oriented salient points generated from the analysis,consumers tend to patronize a product or which involves the following: (1) HSBCservice based on the merchandise itself, ads illustrate how culture as the socialwhile service-oriented consumers tend to environment and cultural traits serve as“seek relationships” with the seller, primary consideration in crafting today’sproducer of the service or manufacturer of advertising messages to the consumer; (2)the product. motivations such as achievement, power, Motivation, meanwhile, is identified as uniqueness, affiliation, and self-esteem are“an inner drive that reflects goal-oriented the determinants of a consumer’s culturalarousal” (Arnould et. al., 2004:259). It environment and traits. These linkages arediffers from personality in that it is a seen thoroughly in the next section.deeper and more abstract concept,although similar to it in the sense that “Never  underestimate  the motivations are also linked to the social importance  of  local  knowledge”: environment and individual traits of the HSBC on culture and the consumer individual. In order to distinguish properly between It was initially discussed that consumerthe two terminologies, personality may be behavior in terms of the personalityunderstood as a holistic or general term to dimension is primarily determined throughdescribe consumer behavior—that is, the consumer’s merchandise- or service-consumer behavior at the macrolevel. orientedness. However, going further intoMotivation, on the other hand, provides an the analysis of consumer personality, therein-depth look of the consumer as a unique is also recognition that consumers adoptindividual and harder to discern and various personalities depending on the roleunderstand. Motivation, thus, represents that they assume as consumer: user, payer,consumer behavior at the microlevel. or buyer (Sheth et. al., 1999:243). Applying these concepts in the context These distinctions are somewhat similarof HSBC and its adverting and marketing to the merchandise-oriented and service-strategies, the researcher of this paper oriented dichotomy introduced earlier,analyzed three (3) print ads, which came although in this new set of consumerout on three issues of TIME magazine: personalities, the economic dimension isMarch 11, 18, and 25 for the year 2002. taken into consideration. Thus, consumerThese issues are relevant for this study, personality is divided into three facets: thesince this is the year that HSBC launched merchandise-oriented consumer as theits campaign on multiculturalism, entitled user, the service-oriented consumer as“Business Connections,” carrying with it buyer, and the consumer’s financialthe slogan, “Never underestimate the position as the payer.importance of local knowledge.” In the HSBC “Business Connections” These ads, which serve as units of advertising campaign, these componentsanalysis of the study, are textually of consumer behavior become evident.analyzed to generate themes that depict the The buyer or service-oriented consumer,influence of motivation and personality of clearly, is the primary target market of Montgomery, J. - Case Study 3: The Role that Personality and Motivation Play in the Consumer Behaviour: A Case Study on HSBC
    • 130 Business Intelligence Journal JulyHSBC, since its business orientation is to development of credibility of HSBC andprovide banking services for potential trust from the consumer; thus, the nextclients. However, it is evident that HSBC time the consumer should consider seekingdecided to transgress its role as bank help in banking services of financialservice provider to becoming the transactions, s/he would seek HSBC,consumer’s “expert” on cultural primarily because it understands theknowledge of every nation engaged in the individual’s sentiments, feelings, andbusiness industry. Its ad campaign is opinions—in other words, the customer’sdeveloped to fulfill this objective, allowing personality.the consumers to get to know other This can also be applied to thesocieties and cultures around the world, consumer as user, wherein the commoditystressing how HSBC knows each culture can be either the information aboutfeatured, and understands these cultures Hungarian and American culture depictedwell, enabling them to effectively handle in the ad, or the banking service providedbusiness and financial transactions with by HSBC, or both. The first scenariothem. occurs when the individual is also a The March 18, 2002 ad of HSBC shows business person who is interested intwo images of hands toasting glasses knowing the business culture of anothertogether, with the first image displaying country, which, to the business-orientedthe text, “HUNGARY: Bad luck,” while individual, is always a potential customer.the second image shows the text “USA: The information that it is bad luck inGood health.” This simple, yet effective Hungary and good health in the USA todisplay of cultural differences around the toast glasses will become helpful to theworld is reflective of HSBC’s work ethic, individual when s/he deals with clientsimplying to the reader (who is also a coming from these countries. Or, it maypotential customer) that they understand be that the consumer-user is interested invarious cultures very well. This knowing up to what extent HSBC’sunderstanding of various cultures of the credibility and banking experience is; thus,world becomes HSBC’s advantage, since from the ad, one can already surmise thatit helps them “…recognise [sic] financial HSBC has sufficient experience to meritopportunities invisible to outsiders” credibility and warrant trust from the(TIME, 2002). consumer. The buyer (service-oriented consumer) The consumer as payer, meanwhile, iswould be enticed with the said ad, since different from the preceding kinds ofinstitutions whose primary commodity is consumer personalities discussed. Since inservice provision knows that this category, the impact of economicunderstanding the individual and his/her stability and financial capability are takensocial/cultural environment is one way of into account, the strategy of HSBC musthighlighting the fact that they are selling then emanate as to include and address theservice that reflects the personality of concerns of the consumer-payer in its ad.consumer-buyer. For example, an In the ad, this concern is addressed by theAmerican who encountered the HSBC ad inclusion of the term “local knowledge” indiscussed above will show approval of the its ad, giving reference to the fact that notdistinction made by the banking company. only did HSBC learned to know andThis approval will, in turn, lead to the understand the culture of a country, but it Montgomery, J. - Case Study 3: The Role that Personality and Motivation Play in the Consumer Behaviour: A Case Study on HSBC
    • 2008 Jolene Montgomery 131was also able to capture its people, the Motivations  as  the  consumer masses, which ultimately constitutes a “drive”:  achievement,  power, particular culture, the keepers and actors uniqueness,  affiliation,  and  self­of this “local knowledge.” esteem  Whether the consumer-payer hasfinancial troubles or not, HSBC considers In the previous section, the researchereveryone a potential customer, and the has identified consumer personality inconsumer-payer, through the ad, shall terms of the product, service, and financialassume that HSBC will aid him/her for climate of both the seller and buyer. Inwhatever banking service or financial this section, the study takes an in-depthsupport s/he wants to avail, simply look at the individual traits of thesebecause the institution understands “local consumers, identifying potentialknowledge,” the reality of life in that motivations that serve as consumerparticular society in the world. HSBC, ‘drives,’ needs and wants that may havethen ‘personalizes’ its service, been accomplished through theaccommodating for any diversity that it consumption of the product or servicemay encounter in the conduct of its offered by the businessbusiness (Francese, 2004:40-1). company/institution. In this section, In effect, business institutions like motives are identified into four, namely,HSBC have learned to ascertain the kinds achievement, power, uniqueness/novelty,of people who can be their potential clients affiliation, and self-esteem motive. Theseor customer by categorizing them kinds of motives are present in one way oraccording to their cultural and individual other within the consumer as s/he goestraits. In this section, personality is shown through the decision-making process (ofto be a major determinant in identifying purchasing a product, good, or service).the likelihood of an individual to become a These kinds of motives are defined byconsumer of a particular product or Arnould et. al. (2004) as follows:service. Thus, if the consumer is merchandise-oriented or a user, then goods as Achievement motive- the drive tocommodities are more appealing for experience emotion in connectionhim/her; the consumer as buyer, on the with evaluated performance;other hand, is more interested inestablishing close ties with the sellers, Power motive- the drive to haveproducers, or manufacturers, the people control or influence over anotherwho provide service for the consumers; person, group, or the world at large;and lastly, the consumer as payer takesinto consideration the economic climate of Uniqueness/novelty motive- the drivethe institution itself, and aligns it with to perceive oneself as different fromhis/her own financial status, and when others;both criteria meet, it is then that theconsumer-payer decides whether to subsist Affiliation motive- the drive to beto the product (or service) or not. with people; consumers sometimes experience a strong motivation to Montgomery, J. - Case Study 3: The Role that Personality and Motivation Play in the Consumer Behaviour: A Case Study on HSBC
    • 132 Business Intelligence Journal July reconnect and associate with service. Similarly, the illustration of a groups…; and particular culture through print advertisement creates the impression that Self-esteem motive- credit for every culture has power, thereby successes, explain away failures, influencing the consumer that as member (consumers) see themselves as better of that culture, s/he has power to approve than most others. or disapprove of the ad and patronize or not patronize the product or service Given the following kinds of advertised.motivations and their definitions, the The most important and dominantHSBC advertising campaign clearly motives included in the ad are theinvokes all of these motivations. This is uniqueness, affiliation, and self-esteemactually imperative for the company, since motives. In the HSBC ad campaign, thethey have as their audience people of all showcasing of a particular culture per adages, gender, races, and culture. In order illustrates the strong regard the companyto become effective in motivating and has for cultures of the world—that is, thepersuading consumers to subsist to the uniqueness of a society or nation and theHSBC service, the company must be able individual. These motives work into “grasp” or capture all of the linkages, initially starting with startingcharacteristics of its consumers; thus, the with the premise that every culture isneed to consider all the motivations that a unique, and proof of this in the ad is theconsumer may have or use in the process provision of information telling the readersof deciding to purchase a product or the uniqueness of a particular material,subscribe to a particular service. symbol, or activity in the business culture The “Business Connections” ad of a particular country (Brown et. al.,campaign illustrates the achievement 2003:19).motive, primarily because HSBC tries to In the same way, affiliation results fromestablish personal relations with the the character of uniqueness, wherein theconsumer. In trying to sell its service consumer, once s/he has identified(banking service), HSBC evokes the herself/himself with the culture depicted inemotions of consumers as it re-establish the ad, feels a sense of belongingness withties with him/her by showcasing a the subject or image displayed in the ad.particular culture of a nation (Benady, Thus, the consumer who understands and2004:43). For example, the HSBC ad agrees with the culture depicted becomesdepicts the culture of UK and US by affiliated with it, and HSBC, takingillustrating an image of cross-legged advantage of this event (creation ofshoes, where the act may be construed as uniqueness and sense of affiliation),“relaxed” in American culture, while it is persuades the reader to subsist to HSBC,considered “rude” among Thai people. the company that ‘understands’ people ofFeelings of approval and/or reproach over all cultures. Combining both uniquenessthe said cultural norms shows how and affiliation results to the developmentachievement—that is, to achieve and of self-esteem, where the consumer, onceconform with the cultural norm—becomes s/he recognizes the value that HSBC givesa primary factor that convinces the to people of his/her culture, would thenconsumer to subsist to the product or affiliate himself/herself with the banking Montgomery, J. - Case Study 3: The Role that Personality and Motivation Play in the Consumer Behaviour: A Case Study on HSBC
    • 2008 Jolene Montgomery 133institution. In effect, the ad portrays the esteem are also taken into account.HSBC brand as embedded in each culture Combining these variables together resultand actually belongs to the people. Thus, to the fulfillment or failure of thethe ad campaign becomes successful in consumer to achieve his/her needs,showing the consumers that HSBC knows depending on the quality of the product orits consumers—their personality, and what service offered—that is, up to what extendmotivates them to consume a particular consumers’ needs are achieved through theproduct or service. product/service. It is important to provide a case in pointConclusion:  Motivations  and  to illustrate how consumer characteristicsPersonality  reflects  the  HSBC  (personality and motives) eventuallyConsumer  influence consumer behavior. In the case of the HSBC ad campaign, we have seen In the previous sections of this study, how personality and motivations becomemotivation and personality were shown as components of the ads, allowing it toessential factors identifying and reflecting create and transmit an effective advertisingconsumer behavior. It is evident that both message to the reader/consumer.sociodemographic and psychographic Centering on the issue of culturalcharacteristics both determine consumer sensitivity and tolerance to people’s andpersonality and motivations (Rafee, individual’s differences become the2004:17). vehicles of persuasion that HSBC uses to Personality primarily determines the illustrate the personality traits andconsumer as buyer, payer, and user of a motivations of the consumer. In the caseproduct and/or service. In so doing, the of HSBC, research on the profile of thesociodemographic variable income and HSBC consumer showed that there issocio-economic class helps determine the indeed a large percentage of today’sextent up to which the consumer shall consumer market who came from variousadopt the roles enumerated earlier. ethnic or cultural origins apart from theFurthermore, attitudes towards a product American (or Western) consumer (HSBCor service—that is, becoming product- or CSR Report, 2003).merchandise-oriented or service-oriented In sum, this study has shown that takenas a consumer is a psychographic variable to its advantage, research and informationthat also aids him/her to buy and consume concerning consumer behavior shows thatthe product/service. Both variables work two of its influential factors are personalitytogether to ultimately determine the and motivation. The future of better andconsumer’s choice and preference of a more effective advertising and marketingproduct or service. promotions of the consumer market can Motivations are also important thus be further improved, as was shown indeterminants of the consumer’s the HSBC experience, wherein consumercharacteristics and behavior towards personality and motivation are taken intoconsumption. Along with consideration and acknowledged associodemographic variables of income, imperative in determining the consumerage, sex, and ethnic membership, market in today’s information age.psychographic variables such as need forachievement, affiliation, power, and self- Montgomery, J. - Case Study 3: The Role that Personality and Motivation Play in the Consumer Behaviour: A Case Study on HSBC
    • 134 Business Intelligence Journal JulyBibliography  Arnould, E., l. Price, and G. Zinkhan.(2004). Consumers. Boston: McGraw- HSBC Corporate Social ResponsibilityHill/Irwin. Report 2003. Benady, D. (June 2004). “It’s time to Rafee, A. (May 2004). “The key toget personal.” Marketing Week. targeting lies in users’ real behaviour.” New Media and Age. Brown, S., R. Kozinets, and J. Sherry.(July 2003). Teaching old brands new Sheth, J., B. Mittal, and B. Newman.tricks: Retro branding and the revival of (1999). Consumer Behavior and Beyond.brand meaning. Journal of Marketing, NY: Harcourt Brace.Vol. 67. Montgomery, J. - Case Study 3: The Role that Personality and Motivation Play in the Consumer Behaviour: A Case Study on HSBC