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EMAC 2023 Annual

The Effect of Warmth and Competence on Consumer Outcomes: A Meta-Analytical Investigation

Published: May 24, 2023


Anne-Maree O'Rourke, University of Queensland; Alex Belli, The University of Adelaide; Mansur Khamitov, Indiana University; Georgios Halkias, Copenhagen Business School


The Stereotype Content Model has been widely and increasingly applied in branding; yet it is unclear under what conditions its two dimensions of warmth and competence are more effective for consumer outcomes. We address this by testing four moderator categories (consumer outcome type, object characteristics, context, and delivery) in large-scale meta-regressions (k=1,166; 86,291 respondents; 22 countries represented). We meta-analytically demonstrate that both warmth and competence generally have a favorable medium-sized effect, but more importantly, we show that some notable differences are observed in our moderators. Namely, warmth is more effective in changing attitudes than behaviors, whilst the impact of competence is higher in driving behaviors than attitudes. Warmth seems to be particularly effective with regards to luxury products, objects with search attributes, prosocial and political contexts. On the other hand, competence shows stronger effects for foreign brands, those consumed in public, and contexts related to a brand failure. Implications for both Scholars and Practitioners are discussed.