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“They deserve it, right?” Using other-benefit advertising frames to boost sales of sustainable products

Relevant topics Archive, Advertising

  • Neuromarketing Principle:
    Advertisement messages of sustainability-driven companies that contain an ‘other-benefit’ frame (such as “they deserve it”) generate more impulsive buying urges and impulsive buying behavior of indulgent products because of moral justification.
  • Application:
    Sustainability-driven companies should consider using other-benefit-framed advertisements, this will in the end strengthen their competitive position towards non-socially responsible companies and contributes to a fairer world.
  • Remember that one time you went out shopping for a coat and came back with a coat and a pair of new shoes?

    You definitely experienced some impulsive buying behavior there! Impulsive purchases are by definition unplanned and make you want the product immediately. These impulsive purchases are often evoked by advertisements – especially in the case of more hedonic products that stimulate immediate joy. In this blog, you will learn a simple copywriting technique that allows companies to promote this impulse buying and how sustainability-driven companies can implement this principle to strengthen their competitive position.

    Justifying Your Impulsive Shopping Spree

    During an impulsive purchase, people often experience something called cognitive dissonance. This means your behavior is not aligned with your norms or ethical standards. And oh…. we really hate that feeling!

    For instance: You want to buy the shoes, but you care about the environment and your CO² footprint. Buying them, does not align the goal of minimizing your CO² footprint. So if you buy these shoes, you might feel bad about yourself afterwards. Because we want to avoid that feeling, the need to justify the behavior emerges (and the feeling of cognitive dissonance disappears). There are two ways to do this:

    1)  Deservingness justifications

    This is related to all kinds of ‘excuses’ related to why someone might deserve it to buy impulsively. This could be anything. We sometimes tend to come up with questionable arguments why we deserve something.

    “I haven’t bought shoes in a long time”, “I worked so hard last week, I can gift myself this”.

    2)  Moral justifications

    This justification is related to all pro-social or moral arguments to buy something.

     “I bought these shoes, because they are cruelty-free and this brand is sustainable”.

    How Message Framing Can Help Justifying Behavior

    The perfect time for a brand to intervene in the buying process is when someone is trying to justify their behavior or purchase and is experiencing cognitive dissonance. You can give a push in the right direction with message framing. Meaning: you can literally hand them the argument (justification) they are looking for to justify their purchase.

    Sustainable driven companies can choose between (at least) two types of advertising frames: self-benefit advertising frames and other-benefit advertising frames.

    1)  Self-benefit

    Within the self-benefit advertising frame, the benefits for the consumer him or herself are communicated: “These chocolates make you happier!”.

    2)  Other-benefit

    Within the other-benefit advertising frame, the benefits for someone or something other than the consumer is communicated: “These chocolates empower cacao farmers”. 

    According to Moes et al., (2022) the best way for sustainable driven companies to frame advertisement messages is through the use of the other-benefit frame. The other-benefit frame influences consumers’ moral justifications which in turn stimulates impulsive buying urges and impulsive buying behavior of hedonistic products.

    It appears people like a pro-social reason to impulsively buy a product and sustainability-driven companies can come up with these reasons to buy them!

    Contribution To A Fairer World

    So, do you work at a sustainability-driven company? And do you need to decide on an advertising strategy? Then the best idea is to use other-benefit-framed advertisements.

    It might feel a bit contradictory to stimulate consumers to engage in impulsive buying behavior. But, it is important to strengthen your competitive position towards non socially responsible companies. A bigger share of consumers that buys from sustainability-driven companies, means a bigger contribution to a fairer world!

    Take Home Points

    1) When people are impulse buying they often experience cognitive dissonance, because people want to avoid this feeling, they come up with justifications for their behavior.

    2) There are two ways to justify impulsive purchases: deservingness justification (focused on if you deserve it) and moral justification (focused on pro-social or moral reasons.

    3) Using the right advertising frame can contribute to the justification process. The frames that are used often are: self-benefit frame (buying this has benefits for you, the consumer) and other-benefit frame (buying this has benefits for others).

    4) A sustainability-driven company can best use the self-benefit frame to boost sales, because people like a pro-social reason to buy impulsively.

  •  “They deserve it, right?” Using other-benefit advertising frames to boost sales of sustainable products
  • Reference:

    Moes, A., Fransen, M., Verhagen, T., & Fennis, B. (2022). A good reason to buy: Justification drives the effect of advertising frames on impulsive socially responsible buying. Psychology & Marketing.


    Further Reading

    • When What You See is Not What You Get: The Impact of Online Research on Offline Purchase Intentions

      When What You See is Not What You Get: The Impact of Online Research on Offline Purchase Intentions

      How often do you research a product online before going to the physical shop to make your purchase? Most modern-day shoppers can no longer live without the so-called process of webrooming.

      In fact, at least 74% of shoppers are webroomers. Almost half of webroomers do so because of a need for touch (NFT): the desire to feel, touch or smell a product before making the decision to buy.

      Understanding such cross-channel customer experiences is a must for modern-day retailers. Get ready to find out just how going through online shopping windows and the need for touch influence customers’ in-store shopping behavior.

    • Online Food Photos that Make Your Mouth Water: How Color-Saturated Food Images can Boost Sales

      Online Food Photos that Make Your Mouth Water: How Color-Saturated Food Images can Boost Sales

      We've probably all been there before. We’re scrolling through our Instagram feed, just to stop and stare at a burger from a local restaurant that looks so good we instantly feel hungry. Maybe we can restrain at first, but a few days later we miraculously find ourselves craving a burger while not even thinking about that post anymore, and we are already planning on going there with a friend. 

      What is it that one photo on Instagram can unconsciously persuade us to go to a food outlet or order something online, while we have no difficulties neglecting another photo? 

      Working part time as a hospitality marketeer, I struggled with that question a lot of times. How can I make these photos so attractive that it gets people in the door? 

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