«of the AM’s Brand, Corporate Identity and Reputation SIG INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SESSIONS Sessions chairs The main function of a session chair is to ...»
of the AM’s Brand, Corporate Identity and Reputation SIG
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE
The main function of a session chair is to ensure
that the session runs according to the timetable (30
minutes for each paper) so that the available time
is allocated correctly between presenters, and the delegates can smoothly switch from one session to another, when desired. It is recommend that the discussion sessions are in need of little formal chairmanship, but if needed, the session chair should be prepared to intervene by asking the first question and/or by enhancing the overall discussion. In each lecture room, there are 5-3-1-minute signs to be used by the chair to assist presenters in keeping to their time limit.
Presenters Accepted papers must be presented by one of the paper’s authors in person according to the final schedule. We have reserved 30 minutes for each paper which means that the presentation itself may last approximately 15–20 minutes and then there is 10–15 minutes for discussion. The session chair will keep track of the time.
It is recommended that you arrive at the appointed lecture room a few minutes early and introduce yourself to the session chair before the start of the session. There is a desktop computer (PC) in each lecture room that you can use, or connect your own laptop to the projector. If using the conferenceprovided laptop, please, upload your presentation from a USB flash drive before the beginning of the session. In any case, it is recommended that you bring a backup version of your presentation on a memory stick or similar.
Self-enhancing green consumer behavior Aagerup, Ulf Nilsson, Jonas Purpose of paper In the last few decades, the topic of environmental sustainability has received much attention within the marketing literature (Powell, 2011, Leonidou et al., 2013). As our world faces many environmental challenges, both large and small, the thought that part of the solution to these problems is in the consumption based arena has become more popular. To steer toward a more environmentally sustainable consumption is thus seen as desirable for many actors in society. However, while the concepts of green, sustainable, or environmental marketing have existed for several decades, the actual results of these initiatives are discouraging from both research and sustainability perspectives (Crane, 2000). There is a vast " attitude-behavior gap" (Moraes et al., 2012, Carrington et al., 2010, Carrington et al., 2014) which means that although consumers profess to be positively disposed towards organic products, they do not act accordingly. Traditionally, research in this field has focused on how products’ functional benefits and consumers’ values and norms affect green consumer behavior (Salazar et al., 2013). There is however an emerging understanding that consumers may seek more than functional value from their environmentally friendly brands, value like e.g. status (Griskevicius et al., 2010) and identity (Sexton and Sexton, 2011). Thus, for green products to be successful it may not be sufficient to only to be good; they must also make their user seem good. While building on the symbolic/expressive meaning of consumption is a commonly accepted idea within brand building (e.g. Park et al., 1986, Aaker, 1997, Fang et al., 2012), it has received limited attention within the green consumer behavior domain. We propose that from the symbolic consumption perspective, environmentally friendly products that are consumed conspicuously should represent greater value than those that are consumed inconspicuously. Against this background, the purpose of this paper is to investigate if consumers choose environmentally friendly options to a greater extent if the consumption setting is public rather than private consumption situations.
Methodology/approach In order to test whether the consumption setting influences green consumer behavior, we chose coffee as product category. It is the world's second most tradable commodity after oil, and its impact on the environment is considerable (Bacon, 2008, p. 11). This has received considerable attention in the public sphere (e.g. Blacksell, 2011) and organic coffee should therefore be perceived by participants as the socially desirable choice. To reinforce the perception of organic coffee as the socially desirable choice, the participants participated in a lecture on Corporate Social Responsibility prior to the experiment.” A 2 (situation: public vs.
private) × 2 (choice of product: organic vs. regular) between-subjects design was conducted.
A total of 42 undergraduate students at a northern European university (23 women, 19 men) participated in the experiment. They were told a cover story that they would sometime during the day participate in a marketing research study. The participants were then split randomly into two groups that were kept separate for the remainder of the session. Participants were each given SEK 10 (approx. USD 1.50). They could choose an organic drink for SEK 10 or a regular option for SEK 5, in which case they would be allowed to keep the SEK 5 that was left. While both groups bought their drinks in the same physical space (anonymously behind screens), the consumption setting differed between the groups. The public group was informed that the two options would be served in different colored mugs. If they bought the more expensive organic option they would be served their drink in a green mug, and also receive a green pin to put on their shirt. If they would choose the cheaper regular drink, it would be served in a gray mug and they would get a gray pin. The participants in the private group were served their drinks in regular white mugs regardless of their choice.
To check for confounds, a questionnaire containing four questions on personal environmental norms based on Stern et al. (1999) was distributed about three weeks prior to the experiment.
This survey was handed out in other courses and by other lecturers. A T-test revealed no significant differences between the groups (t (40) = -.43, p.05), indicating that the groups are not significantly different on their underlying environmental norms. What is more, a manipulation check was administered after the experiment was finished but before its purpose was revealed to participants. A T-test found a significant difference between the groups (t(37) = -2.56, p.05) which shows that the participants indeed perceived a significant difference in the public/private levels depending on the consumption setting.
Findings We predicted that participants would choose organic coffee to a greater extent if they knew that others would be able to observe their consumption choice. This proved to be correct as 43.5% in the private setting chose the more expensive organic drink, compared to 89.5% in the public scenario.
100% 90% 80% 70% 60%
Figure 1 Percentage of people choosing a more expensive organic beverage over a cheaper regular beverage in the private (beverage served in anonymous mugs) and the public (beverage served in different colored mugs) consumption setting.
A Chi2 test was performed indicating a significant difference between the groups (χ2 (1) = 9.59, p.01).
Theoretical implications Brands offer three main types of value; experiential, functional, and symbolic (e.g. Park et al., 1986). The fact that when everything else is equal, the level of conspicuousness impacts green consumer behavior suggests that consumers’ symbolic/expressive motivations are important to understand consumer choice in the environmental area. In the study of symbolic consumption it is well established that a brand will be used and enjoyed when it joins with, meshes with, adds to, or reinforces the way a consumer thinks about himself (Levy, 1958). As consumers, we seek out brands that fit our idea of who we are and what we are like. When consumers achieve congruity between the self and a brand, which is referred to as self-image congruity (e.g. Sirgy et al., 1997) or self-brand congruity (Parker, 2009), they reach different forms of satisfaction or avoid different kinds of dissatisfaction, which in turn results in positive attitudes or persuasion to buy a brand (Sirgy, 1982, Johar and Sirgy, 1991). Selfimage congruity comes in different forms. Johar and Sirgy (1991) present a framework for value-expressive consumption in which they describe the self and how it interacts with the brand to achieve different forms of satisfaction of needs. The self-concept can be internal, and thus have to do with what a person thinks of himself, but it can also be related to how an individual is regarded by others or how the individual would like to be regarded by others. If a brand matches a consumer’s ideal social self-image the result is ideal social self-congruity, which satisfies the need for social approval -pleasing others and being accepted by them (Keyes, 1998). Outer-directed symbolic types of value allow you to show others what you are like (Holbrook, 2005). If you behave ethically only if you are observed, it is an example of outer-directed symbolic value, namely that of self-enhancement. "Self-enhancement occurs through associations with goods that have desirable social meaning that also bring favorable reactions from significant references" (Parker, 2009, p. 176).
The theoretical contribution of this study is thus that it demonstrates that green consumer behavior is at least in part driven by the outer directed symbolic need for social approval through self-enhancement. As such, this study extends and supports previous research that has focused on the importance of status in the green consumer behavior context (e.g.Griskevicius et al., 2010).
Practical implications Because consumers choose environmentally friendly products to a greater extent if they believe that other people can tell what they have purchased, businesses and regulators could increase the level of green consumption by making choice conspicuous. This could occur through the design of the consumption setting (as evidenced in this experiment), or by e.g.
visibly different license plates for green cars.
Limitations We have limited the study to a lab experiment measuring consumer choice, controlled for personal norms. Here, the results clearly highlight the self-enhancement component in consumer decision making regarding organic products. However, while few studies using experimental methodology claims to have external validity, the main criticism of our work is naturally the fact that the manipulation is more extreme than most that occur in natural settings. Future research would do well to account for this and observer the studied relationship in a more natural setting, using field experiments or qualitative techniques. On top of this, as the current experiment focuses on consumer choice and personal norms, further research could include other potential influences on consumer choice, such as social norms and self-monitoring levels, status-seeking levels, etc.
Originality/value Unlike previous studies our research takes the form of a behavioral experiment. We, for the first time, show in a controlled experimental setting that public consumption settings cause increased choice of organic products. These results are controlled for values and norms. These limited findings constitute a starting point for richer and more elaborate studies on the symbolic/expressive dimensions of green consumer behavior.
KeywordsGreen consumer behavior, symbolic consumption, self-image congruity
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