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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Social Exclusion and CSR Brand Warmth – An Embodied Cognition Approach

Published: May 27, 2020


Haiming Hang, University of Bath, U.K.; Zhifeng Chen, University of the West of England, Bristol


social exclusion; CSR; brand warmth


While social exclusion is mainly driven by a lack of sense of belonging, socially excluded people also physically feel cold. Due to the substitutability of physical and social warmth, this paper argues a CSR brand can positively contribute to socially excluded consumers’ well- being and reduces the cost of social support. Our four studies jointly suggest this is because the brand warmth associated with a CSR brand makes socially excluded consumers feel closely connected to it. This, in turn, reduces their subsequent needs for physical and social warmth. However, this is moderated by perceived CSR motive, more evident when CSR motive is considered genuine. More important, our results also demonstrate coping with physical coldness is different from anthropomorphizing brands to establish need for belongings.