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Published in: Journal of Business Ethics 1/2022

15-03-2021 | Original Paper

“Make an Effort and Show Me the Love!” Effects of Indexical and Iconic Authenticity on Perceived Brand Ethicality

Authors: Gwarlann de Kerviler, Nico Heuvinck, Elodie Gentina

Published in: Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 1/2022

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Abstract

This article uncovers an important yet overlooked antecedent of brand ethicality that lies beyond the predominant focus on environmental and social actions in the literature: perceived brand authenticity. Perceived authenticity and brand ethicality strongly drive consumer decision making, but the link between the two has not been closely scrutinized. This article examines how two types of authenticity cues (indexical and iconic) differently influence consumers’ perceptions of brand ethicality. Across five studies and four different product categories, the findings show that indexical authenticity cues (i.e., an original product by a brand) lead to greater perceived brand ethicality than iconic authenticity cues (i.e., an authentic reproduction by the same brand). The underlying mechanism is that indexical authenticity cues (compared to iconic authenticity cues) prompt people to perceive that a product is made with more effort; this increases their perception that it is crafted with love, which then enhances their perception of brand ethicality. The findings also indicate that lower perceived brand ethicality when using iconic authentic cues (versus indexical authentic cues) can be offset by the notion that developing the product involved intense effort.
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Footnotes
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We thank one of the anonymous reviewers for suggesting to include different control variables throughout our studies.
 
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Metadata
Title
“Make an Effort and Show Me the Love!” Effects of Indexical and Iconic Authenticity on Perceived Brand Ethicality
Authors
Gwarlann de Kerviler
Nico Heuvinck
Elodie Gentina
Publication date
15-03-2021
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 1/2022
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04779-3

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