Edited by Americus Reed and Mark Forehand
Chapter 6: Branding virtuous victimhood: how activating the salience of a consumer’s moral identity motivates resource transfers to victim groups
Maja Graso, Karl Aquino and Ekin Ok
This chapter introduces “virtuous victim branding” as a form of marketing that advocacy groups can use to better the lives of people whose interests they represent. To obtain more resources from individual consumers, the authors argue that advocacy groups must effectively signal that their constituents are: (1) victims of harm; and (2) virtuous. This composite identity signal allows advocates to capitalize on the benefits associated with signaling victimhood (that is, psychological standing, behavioral licensing and moral immunity) while crafting a brand that will appeal to what many consumers find satisfying about helping those in need. It also differentiates the potential beneficiaries from other victimized groups competing for the same resources. This process is mutually reinforcing because the demand for resources and the willingness to part with them are maximized when both the victim group and the consumer are jointly motivated to signal that they have a strong moral identity.
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