Marketers have had better luck linking people’s self-concept to their buying behavior. Your self-concept is how you see yourself—be it positive or negative. Your ideal self is how you would like to see yourself—whether it’s prettier, more popular, more eco-conscious, or more “goth.”
Marketing researchers believe people buy products to enhance how they feel about themselves—to get themselves closer to their ideal selves, in other words. The slogan “Be All That You Can Be,” which for years was used by the U.S. Army to recruit soldiers, is an attempt to appeal to the self-concept. Presumably, by joining the U.S. Army, you will become a better version of yourself, which will, in turn, improve your life. Many beauty products and cosmetic procedures are advertised in a way that’s supposed to appeal to the ideal selves people are searching for. All of us want products that improve our lives.