Brand as Promise

Journal of Business Ethics 179 (3):919-936 (2022)
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Abstract

Brands are widely regarded as a constellation of shared associations surrounding a company and its offerings. On the traditional view of brands, these associations are regarded as perceptions and attitudes in consumers’ minds in relation to a company. We argue that this traditional framing of brands faces an explanatory problem: the inability to satisfactorily explain why certain branding activism initiatives elicit the moralized reactive attitudes that are paradigmatic responses to wrongdoing. In this paper, we argue for a reframing of brands that calls for viewing brands as a series of normatively binding expectations that are ethically akin to promises. Our promissory framing of brands avoids the explanatory problem, illuminates a number of ethical requirements on branding, and reconceptualizes the role of brand managers.

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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Moral dimensions: permissibility, meaning, blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments.R. Jay Wallace - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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