Theta and Lambda: Understanding Luxury Consumers

Isaac Mostovicz writes that that in order to understand customers, luxury marketers may benefit from understanding Theta and Lambda personality types....

A recent article on Triple Pundit talks about the definition of luxury changing, both for affluents and non-affluents, due to the current economic climate.

The article quotes an Advertising Age report, saying

“The desire for luxury experiences has not disappeared, but has been redefined for a new era… expressions of luxury have become smaller, more personal and intimate.”

I have written about this previously, arguing that luxury marketers need to focus on getting to know their consumers and on encouraging them to behave according to their own personal values, not simply acting as a sales person but rather as a trusted advisor.

In order to better understand consumers, I have developed a simple characterisation consisting of two personality types – Theta and Lambda.

The Theta personality seeks affiliation and control as an ultimate life purpose, so they loom to fit in within a desired group and use socially-derived understandings of product characteristics as a basis for their consumption.

Lambdas, on the other hand, seek achievement and uniqueness as an ultimate end goal, and so are more likely to interpret products based on their individual responses to the product, how it helps/prevents them to stand out, and how the product benchmarks against their regular consumptive patterns.

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