Human-like versus me-like brands in corporate social responsibility: the effectiveness of brand anthropomorphism on social perceptions and buying pleasure of brands

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This experimental study investigates the effects of brand anthropomorphism on humanlike brand perceptions and buying pleasure in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Drawing on two conceptual approaches to brand anthropomorphism, this research examines the effectiveness of CSR when brands are anthropomorphized (Study 1) and when anthropomorphized brands are congruent to self-concepts (Study 2). Study 1 finds that when CSR is presented by anthropomorphized (vs. non-anthropomorphized) brand messages, consumers are more likely to perceive a greater sense of warmth and buying pleasure. The mediation analysis reveals that warmth is a psychological mediator underlying the positive effect of anthropomorphic messages on buying pleasure. Study 2 finds that those who perceive high (vs. low) self-brand congruity are more likely to perceive social connections to brands, warmth perceptions, and buying pleasure. Further, these effects are more prominent when anthropomorphized brands are utilitarian products. For hedonic products, however, consumers report consistently favorable responses regardless of the degree of self-brand congruity. The mediation analysis shows that the positive effect of self-brand congruity on buying pleasure is sequentially mediated by social connections and then warmth consumers perceive toward the brands. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed with specific reference to the integration of brand anthropomorphism and CSR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-47
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Brand Management
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature Limited.

Keywords

  • Brand anthropomorphism
  • Buying pleasure
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Self-brand congruity
  • Warmth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing

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