Leveraging the Ego: An Examination of Brand Strategies that Appeal to Consumer Vanity


  • Dr. A. Shaji George Independent Researcher, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • A. S. Hovan George Independent Researcher, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India




Branding, Consumer psychology, Status, Identity, Esteem, Aspirations, Narcissism, Loyalty, Ethics, social media


This research paper examines how major brands take advantage of human ego and vanity in their marketing strategies to increase sales and brand loyalty. The introduction provides background on the role ego and self-image play in consumer behavior and posits that brands intentionally leverage these factors. An analysis of brand messaging reveals slogans and ads promoting ideals of exclusivity, luxury, and status. Brands are shown to charge premium prices to be perceived as elite and desirable. The paper explores how brands become entwined with identity and self-esteem through psychological principles of belonging, envy, and competitive peer pressure. Social media is evaluated as a key tool brands utilize to tap into aspirations and envy through influencer marketing and social signaling. The portrayal of lavish lifestyles triggers competitive ego and drives conspicuous consumption. The ethics of brands exploiting natural human tendencies for ego-gratification and status-seeking are weighed against responsible marketing practices. The conclusion summarizes key findings that brands increase sales and loyalty by providing feelings of positive self-regard and prestige. It notes the fine line between effectively appealing to ego and unethically preying on vulnerabilities. Recommendations are made for brands to self-regulate responsible marketing and advertising practices that consider psychological wellbeing and self-esteem. The paper contributes unique insights at the intersection of consumer behavior and psychology to advance understanding of effective yet ethical brand strategies and consumer vulnerabilities.




How to Cite

Dr. A. Shaji George, & A. S. Hovan George. (2023). Leveraging the Ego: An Examination of Brand Strategies that Appeal to Consumer Vanity. Partners Universal International Research Journal, 2(3), 94–108. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8350543