Putting Words into Action: Marketing Organic Products with Existing Brand Associations

Maren Vos, Jos Bartels


As consumer interest in organic products continues to grow, brands are increasingly adding organic variants to their product lines. However, consumer evaluations of these actions are not straightforward and differ for brands with various associations or within different product contexts. Previous research has shown that products with credence attributes, such as organic products, are often judged by brand name and consumers’ existing brand associations. The current study adds to previous work on brand equity and brand associations by explicitly considering the context and characteristics of these branded organic products. First, a pretest determined the existing brands’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate ability (CA) associations. Next, an online experiment tested consumers’ perceptions of brand equity, consumers’ trust in the brands and consumers’ purchase intentions, which were analyzed using a fully parallel, multiple-mediator process model with the experimental conditions as independent variables. The results show that brand equity increases most when a brand associated with both CA and CSR introduces an organic product. In addition, consumers trust this brand more compared to brands that are less strongly associated with CSR. Moreover, the intention to purchase organic products increases as brand equity increases, but the intention to purchase organic products does not increase as trust increases. Based on these results, we conclude that brands aiming to increase their value to positively affect consumers’ purchase intentions of their organic products benefit most when they are highly associated with both CSR and CA.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/ijms.v10n2p1

Copyright (c) 2018 Maren Vos, Jos Bartels

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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