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  Category: Articles » Business » Article

Possessions and the Extended Self

By Murad Ali

Sitting in my local Starbucks reading a book I looked to the obnoxious group of young men sitting to my left. They were laughing loud, gawking at the girls, and slapping each other on the shoulders. What else I noticed is that each one was impeccably dressed sporting brands such as Gucci, Armani, and other pieces of clothing that isn't worth my hard earned money to buy. When the group got up to leave I watched them with a little envy over their youthful flavor and good looks despite being finally relieved to return to the page of my book. Before I could begin reading I noticed that the group of men all piled into a Cadillac Escalade that glowed under the 8 televisions and shinny spinning rims.

What these young men displayed was their attachment to brands that seem like the extension of themselves. Even though such brand recognition is common among the younger generation the truth is that many of us display similar traits but with different avenues of expression. For example, a middle aged father might want their children to go to Harvard or Yale, a farmer may only purchase Chevrolet trucks, or an executive may only desire to get his physical fitness routine going at Bally's versus YMCA.

The Possessions and the Extended Self theory states that many of the products we buy are like extensions of our inner desires, wants, and beliefs about ourselves. That is if we are a sports player we will purchase lots of different products from sport manufacturers, if we are part of the super educated elite we will buy cardigan sweaters, if we are a trendy executive we will buy a sports car. The types of products we buy are in direct relationship with who we are as people.

Companies that desire to build a loyal customer base and maintain high sales will try and "brand" their products. That is they will turn their brand of products into a feeling, a lifestyle, and a social status. For example, "only wealth and successful people buy Gucci". All of Gucci's advertisements will testify to this fact by showing beautiful and successful people wearing the product. This marketing campaign has made Gucci a well know company with good will value.

As a business owner you want to brand your product the best way you can by having a consistent message, displaying pictures of a certain type of individual, or soliciting the right kinds of clients. When people become familiar with your brand and the message you are sending them they will become more local. Loyalty = sales.

Murad Ali is a two time book author, a human resource manager, and a ph.d. candidate. For more articles written by Murad visit
About the Author
Murad Ali is a two-time book author, a human resource management professional, and a Ph.D. candidate. Please visit for more articles.

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  Some other articles by Murad Ali
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