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Understanding the power of hope and empathy in healthcare marketing

Elyria Kemp (Department of Management and Marketing, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)
My Bui (Department of Marketing and Business Law, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Anjala Krishen (Department of Marketing and International Business, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
Pamela Miles Homer (Department of Marketing, College of Business Administration, California State University, Long Beach, California, USA)
Michael S. LaTour (Ithaca, New York, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 20 March 2017




The dynamic landscape of healthcare has seen significant changes in marketing by the various types of healthcare providers. This research aims to explore the impact of emotions in healthcare advertising.


Two consumer panel experiments investigate the role of hope and empathy appeals in fostering positive evaluations toward healthcare providers (medical centers for serious illnesses).


Study 1 shows that two types of emotion-based healthcare appeals are more effective than non-emotional appeals. Study 2 compares the relative effectiveness of hope versus empathy appeals with medical expert or typical person (patient) testimonials.

Research limitations/implications

Findings demonstrate that in a healthcare context, an expert testimonial enhanced the persuasiveness of a hope-based appeal, whereas testimonials from unknown patients were not effective.


Understanding the role of emotions in healthcare advertising is increasingly important as healthcare providers compete on care and quality outcomes and advertising agencies vie for the attention of consumers.



Kemp, E., Bui, M., Krishen, A., Homer, P.M. and LaTour, M.S. (2017), "Understanding the power of hope and empathy in healthcare marketing", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 85-95.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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