In this chapter, I argue that identity researchers should use natural, practical interventions to make identities salient. Identity scholars understand how identity salience should affect behavior, yet struggle to effectively predict when a particular identity will drive a consumer’s real-world behavior. The cost of research leads scholars to use heavy-handed, unsubtle identity interventions that definitively make an identity salient, such as asking a person multiple questions about the focal identity. But, is this what identity salience looks like in the field? This main idea in my chapter is evidenced by the complete absence of similar activities in the field: when was the last time you entered a store or browsed a website and had to spend five minutes describing an identity-relevant activity before you shopped? I review recent research that – thankfully – provides hope that identity salience may be obtained with subtle cues. This chapter is important because adopting more natural identity salience interventions, such as having a person sign their name, will enable researchers to study a wider range of identities, better understand the process by which particular identities become more (or less) salient, and provide practical interventions for marketing practitioners to use.
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