Handbook of Research on Identity Theory in Marketing
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Handbook of Research on Identity Theory in Marketing

Edited by Americus Reed and Mark Forehand

The Handbook of Research on Identity Theory in Marketing features cutting-edge research that delves into the origins and consequences of identity loyalty and organizes these insights around five basic identity principles that span nearly every consumer marketing subdomain. This Handbook is a comprehensive and state of the art treatment of identity and marketing: An authoritative and practical guide for academics, brand managers, marketers, public policy advocates and even intellectually curious consumers.
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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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