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Promoting biodiversity: do consumers prefer feelings, facts, advice or appeals?

Dorothea Schaffner (Business School, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lucerne, Switzerland)
Sascha Demarmels (Business School, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lucerne, Switzerland)
Uta Juettner (School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 8 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore consumers’ responses to emotional and normative communication in comparison with traditional informational campaigns promoting pro-environmental behavior in the context of biodiversity. By adopting the approach of likeability of the communication, the paper identifies which type of communication strategy is liked by consumers’ and which dimensions define likeability in the context of biodiversity. The goal is to improve the effectiveness of communication messages delivered by social marketers or public policy makers through a better understanding of consumers’ responses to different communication strategies.


To investigate which communications strategies are perceived as likeable in the context of promoting biodiversity and to explore the dimensions that underlie likeability of the communication a qualitative study was conducted. First, the information design with the different communication strategies has been developed. Second, focused interviews with 25 individuals have been conducted.


Results indicate that communication strategies using positive emotions led to most favorable responses. Further, findings suggest that informational strategies seem to result in positive attitudes when they tap on procedural knowledge. Favorable judgments are linked with communication strategies that create awareness or which are relevant and informative.

Research limitations/implications

Further empirical research is suggested exploring consumers’ responses to communication strategies that combine emotions and facts.

Practical implications

Based on the findings of this study, social marketers and public policy makers are recommended to use a combination of communication strategies that evoke positive emotions and provide consumers with the facts necessary to take action.


The paper allows for an integrated view and contributes to an increased understanding of responses to communication strategies and provides valuable practical implications for social marketers and public policy makers.



The authors wish to thank Esther Federspiel and Ria Breitenmoser for their help in collecting the data and two anonymous reviewers of the North American Conference of the Association of Consumer Research and two anonomyous reviewer of the Journal of Consumer Marketing for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this research.

Financial disclosure: This research was supported by the Federal Office for the Environment of the Swiss Confederation.


Schaffner, D., Demarmels, S. and Juettner, U. (2015), "Promoting biodiversity: do consumers prefer feelings, facts, advice or appeals?", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 266-277.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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