From the Commercial to the Communal: Reframing Taboo Trade-Offs in Religious and Pharmaceutical Marketing
Although consumers typically expect organizations to profit from marketing goods and services, they also believe that certain organizations, like those that focus on religion and health, should prioritize communal obligations. Indeed, consumers may find it morally distressing when communally focused organizations use overtly commercial marketing strategies like rebranding or value-based pricing. We demonstrate how moral distress and consumer backlash result from such taboo trade-offs and investigate when communal-sharing rhetoric for religious and pharmaceutical marketing reduces distress. Communal justifications used by communally focused organizations are particularly effective when consumers are not closely monitoring the motives of the organization or when the product is need-based. However, communal justifications become less effective and market-pricing justifications become more effective when consumers are attuned to the persuasive intentions of the organization. Implications for consumer goals are discussed.