Can Brands Move in from the Outside?: How Moral Identity Enhances Out-Group Brand Attitudes
Journal of Marketing, Forthcoming
51 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 22, 2012
Consumers tend to have more favorable attitudes for their in-group brands than their out-group brands. However, little is known regarding how brand managers can overcome consumers’ negative attitudes toward out-group brands. Drawing upon the moral identity literature, the authors theorize that moral identity may enhance out-group (but not in-group) brand attitudes through decreased psychological distance. Four studies demonstrate that moral identity increases out-group brand attitudes. Two important boundary conditions of this moral identity effect are also identified. These findings suggest that brand managers seeking to overcome the less than favorable perceptions associated with out-group brands may benefit from drawing upon consumers’ moral identity in marketing communications. Theoretically, this research establishes that moral identity extends beyond prosocial behaviors to influence marketplace judgments (i.e., brand attitudes and categorization).
Keywords: brand attitude, moral identity, outgroup, reference group, psychological distance
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