Everything we do, you do: The licensing effect of prosocial marketing messages on consumer behavior

Maryam Kouchaki*, Ata Jami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Do prosocial corporate marketing messages promote consumers' altruistic behaviors, or do they advance self-interested and self-indulgent actions? To answer this question, the current research investigates the impact of different framings of prosocial marketing messages on consumers' behaviors and choices more generally. Results from six laboratory studies and a field experiment demonstrate that exposure to messages that praise customers for good deeds can increase subsequent self-interested and selfindulgent behaviors more than messages that publicize a company's good deeds or thank consumers for their patronage. Our findings demonstrate the possibility that a temporary boost in one's self-concept drives this observed effect. In addition, the recipient's level of support for the issue praised for moderates the effect of customer-praise messages on the recipient's less altruistic behaviors. This paper concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and managerial implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-111
Number of pages10
JournalManagement Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Corporate societal marketing
  • Licensing
  • Message framing
  • Morality
  • Praise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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