Does Having an Ethical Brand Matter? The Influence of Consumer Perceived Ethicality on Trust, Affect and Loyalty

Journal of Business Ethics 111 (4):541-549 (2012)
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Abstract

The recent rise in ethical consumerism has seen increasing numbers of corporate brands project a socially responsible and ethical image. But does having a corporate brand that is perceived to be ethical have any influence on outcome variables of interest for its product brands? This study analyzes the relationship between perceived ethicality at a corporate level, and brand trust, brand affect and brand loyalty at a product level. A theoretical framework with hypothesized relationships is developed and tested in order to answer the research question. Data have been collected for 45 product categories in the fast moving consumer goods sector using a panel of 4,027 Spanish consumers. The proposed relationships are tested using structural equations modeling. The results suggest there is a positive relationship between perceived ethicality of a brand and both brand trust and brand affect. Brand affect also positively influences brand trust. Further, brand trust and brand affect both show a positive relation with brand loyalty. The managerial and academic implications of the results are discussed.

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