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

See all articles by Woo Jin Choi

Woo Jin Choi

University of Seoul

Karen Page Winterich

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration

Date Written: August 22, 2012

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Choi, Woo Jin and Winterich, Karen Page, Can Brands Move in from the Outside?: How Moral Identity Enhances Out-Group Brand Attitudes (August 22, 2012). Journal of Marketing, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2143469

Woo Jin Choi

University of Seoul ( email )

Seoul
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Karen Page Winterich (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

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