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Pro-Social Consumer Influence Strategies: When And How Do They Work?

Thomas L. Osterhus

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Whereas some firms embrace and successfully exploit pro-social consumer influence strategies (e.g., environmental positionings, cause-related promotions), other firms tend to downplay their effectiveness and are reluctant to pursue such strategies. The author's research findings reveal that important moderators, namely consumer trust in the marketing source and attributions of consumer responsibility, must be activated for pro-social positioning strategies to work. Moreover, the levels of the moderating variables appear to be critical in determining whether a pro-social positioning strategy achieves the intended effect or backfires, thereby jeopardizing product equity and market share.