The purpose of this paper is to examine the conditions under which US consumers, known for their “green” skepticism, are more (less) likely to respond favorably to a firm's environmental initiative in today's marketplace.
The research paper investigates whether the general positive impact derived from the implementation of societal initiatives found by other researchers carries over when specific environmental initiatives are put into operation. The authors test hypotheses related to consumer responses to information about a firm's environmental initiative with varied salience of its public‐ and self‐serving motives. Next, they test how consumer responses are affected by the level of perceived sincerity associated with a firm's environmental initiative. The role of brand commitment is also examined across both studies.
The results reveal that consumers use a rather skeptical approach when interpreting a firm's environmental initiative and that these responses vary based on the level of brand commitment, as well as how the initiative is presented to them.
The generalizability of results is currently limited to a particular brand with strong brand equity, large market share, and highly experiential service (Starbucks).
The authors provide insights into what marketers and policy makers should consider in the development of environmental initiatives, in order to increase the likelihood of positive consumer responses.
The present research contributes to the development (and application) of more accurate models of consumer responses to a firm's environmental initiative.
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