Non-Profits are Seen as Warm and For-Profits as Competent: Firm Stereotypes Matter
14 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2010 Last revised: 3 Mar 2015
Date Written: January 21, 2010
Consumers use warmth and competence, two fundamental dimensions that govern social judgments of people, to form perceptions of firms. Three experiments showed that consumers perceive non-profits as being warmer than for-profits, but as less competent. Further, consumers are less willing to buy a product made by a non-profit than a for-profit because of their perceptions that the firm lacks competence. Consequently, when perceived competence of a non-profit is boosted through subtle cues that connote credibility, discrepancies in willingness to buy disappear. In fact, when consumers perceive high levels of competence and warmth, they feel admiration for the firm - which translates to consumers’ increased desire to buy. This work highlights the importance of consumer stereotypes about non-profit and for-profit companies that, at baseline, come with opposing advantages and disadvantages but that can be altered.
Keywords: Brand Management, customer relations/retention, marketing strategy
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