Can brands move in from the outside how moral identity enhances out-group brand attitudes

Woo Jin Choi, Karen Page Winterich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Consumers tend to have more favorable attitudes for their in-group brands than their out-group brands. However, little is known regarding how brand managers can overcome consumers' negative attitudes toward out-group brands. Drawing on the moral identity literature, the authors theorize that moral identity may enhance out-group (but not in-group) brand attitudes through decreased psychological distance. Four studies demonstrate that moral identity increases out-group brand attitudes. The authors also identify two important boundary conditions of this moral identity effect. These findings suggest that brand managers who want to overcome the less-than-favorable perceptions associated with out-group brands may benefit from drawing on consumers' moral identity in marketing communications. Theoretically, this research establishes that moral identity extends beyond prosocial behaviors to influence marketplace judgments (i.e., brand attitudes and categorization).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-111
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Brand attitude
  • Moral identity
  • Out-group
  • Psychological distance
  • Reference group


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