The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the corporate marketing literature by examining how an individual's identification with a company influences their willingness to invest in the company's shares.
A set of hypotheses was developed, based on theory, and survey data were obtained from 440 individuals in order to test the hypotheses. The data pertained to the individuals' recent decisions to invest in particular companies' shares, and to the degree of their identification with the companies' identities. The analysis method was PLS path modelling.
First, an individual's identification with a company was found to have a positive effect on their determination to invest in the company's shares rather than in other companies' shares that have approximately similar expected financial returns/risks. Second, company identification was found to elicit preparedness to invest in the company's shares with lower financial returns expected from the shares than from other shares. Both influences were partly mediated by the individual's willingness to give support to a company with which they identify.
The study pertains to company identification of individual investors; institutional (and professional) investors are beyond the scope of the paper. Also, the sample focuses on investors in a single country (Finland), and the data may involve some self‐reporting and retrospection biases.
Considering corporate marketing in the stock markets, individuals who identify with the company are identified as worthwhile targets when the company seeks to attract new investors.
The paper provides theoretical grounding for and empirical evidence of the positive influence of company identification on individuals' willingness to invest in companies' shares. It is a novel finding for corporate marketing literature that individuals express their identification with a corporate brand also through investing in its shares.
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