Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physical contact plus ethical marketing equals increased consumer preference

Date:
September 17, 2013
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
Can world-saving claims like "not tested on animals" and "phosphate free," help sell bottles of shampoo and bars of soap? A new study proves such statements can make consumers more likely to buy, especially when one's sense of touch is appealed to alongside one's sense of social justice.

Can world-saving claims like "not tested on animals" and "phosphate free," help sell bottles of shampoo and bars of soap? A new study from Concordia University's John Molson School of Business proves such statements can make consumers more likely to buy, especially when one's sense of touch is appealed to alongside one's sense of social justice.

In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics, Concordia University marketing professor Onur Bodur shows that for ethical claims to help sell products, they have to align with he product's primary benefits, be they functional, such as alkaline batteries, or symbolic, like a Montreal Alouettes jersey.

For the study, Bodur teamed up with Concordia colleagues Ting Gao and Bianca Grohmann. They asked 311 participants to rate the marketing of utilitarian products -- cough syrups and printer ink cartridges, and symbolic products -- high school rings and hockey team car flags.

Results showed that for ethical marketing to work, utilitarian claims like "made with organic ingredients" need to be matched with utilitarian projects like cough syrup, i.e., things that are actually used by consumers. On the other hand, symbolic claims like "fair trade" should be paired with symbolic products like rings, i.e., products that consumers use to symbolise an attitude or indicate belonging to a certain group.

Bodur's research also uncovered the fact that ethical claims make consumers more likely to buy when they have physical contact with the product during consumption. So, making a statement like "made from organic cotton" will be more likely to boost t-shirt sales. But apply "biodegradable" to something like printer ink, which barely requires any tactile interaction, and sales won't be affected.

"The importance of touch relates to what's known as the positive contagion effect," explains Bodur, who is also director of the Centre for Multidisciplinary Behavioural Business Research. "That means that consumers are quicker to perceive increased benefits from products that involve a higher degree of physical contact, like something that you eat or wear. This is due to consumers' belief that ethical benefits can be transferred through physical contact."

This research has practical applications for the marketing world. Use utilitarian ethical claims for a practical product that will come into close contact with consumers -- be it moisturizer, bread, or paper towels -- and sales are likely to increase. Says Bodur, "if managers want to reap the benefits of sustainable marketing, they have to carefully consider the amount of physical contact consumers will have with their products, alongside the ethical claim they're making about that product."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. Onur Bodur, Ting Gao, Bianca Grohmann. The Ethical Attribute Stigma: Understanding When Ethical Attributes Improve Consumer Responses to Product Evaluations. Journal of Business Ethics, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10551-013-1764-5

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Physical contact plus ethical marketing equals increased consumer preference." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130917132321.htm>.
Concordia University. (2013, September 17). Physical contact plus ethical marketing equals increased consumer preference. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130917132321.htm
Concordia University. "Physical contact plus ethical marketing equals increased consumer preference." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130917132321.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Understanding D.C.'s New Pot Laws

Understanding D.C.'s New Pot Laws

Newsy (July 17, 2014) Washington D.C.'s new laws decriminalizing small amount of marijuana went into effect Thursday. Here's how they work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins