CCA 4.4 Lesson 4: The self-concept theory

Looking glass self: The way you think others see you.

Self-image: The way you see yourself.

Ideal self: The way you want to become.

Real self: The way you really are.

Your self-image is the way you see yourself. This is the way an individual views oneself at the moment, and the perception may be distorted. Our self-image can change because of the many different types of experiences we encounter.

The looking-glass self is the way you think others see you. This is the way individuals think others see them and can be quite different from their self-image. This self is of great concern during a person’s teenage years. At this time in life, one values highly the opinion of friends and peers.

The last self is called the ideal self, which is the way you would like to become. The ideal self serves as a personal set of objectives and is the vision of what you would eventually like to become. You will spend your life aspiring towards your ideal self.

In buying goods and services, people are likely to choose those goods and services that will move them closer towards their ideal self. Those who see themselves as intellectual are more likely than others to join literary book clubs, for example. Young people who see themselves as athletes will buy brand name products endorsed by famous athletes. The young businessman who is on his way up the corporate ladder will take up golf, having determined this is the sport of executives. Advertisements use beautiful, sexy, and attractive people to promote soft drinks.

Sales professionals should attempt to identify the ideal self in customers, then appeal to this self.