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EMAC 2022 Annual

What do I think about this sustainable Gucci? Product- or company-focused sustainability association, self-efficacy, and attractiveness of luxury products

Published: May 24, 2022


Dikla Perez, Bar Ilan University; Amir Grinstein, Northeastern University; Inbar Elia, Bar-Ilan; Neeru Paharia, Georgetown University


As luxury brands are increasingly integrating sustainable attributes into their products, research offers contradictory findings regarding consumers respond to such efforts. The current research studies a communication-related factor that has not previously been explored: a brand’s sustainability association, defined as an indicator of whether marketing content associated with a product attributes sustainable features to the product itself or to the company behind it. Five experiments show that, when faced with a marketing communication regarding a sustainable luxury product, consumers respond more favorably in the presence of a company-focused (as opposed to product-focused) sustainability association. Perceived (positive) environmental impact of consumers’, driven by the “size equals impact” heuristic, serves as the underlying mechanism for this effect. Finally, findings show that the effect is only relevant for luxury sustainable products and disappears with non-luxury products.