Last Updated Mar 25, 2010 9:41 PM EDT
Researchers Jennifer Aaker of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Cassie Mogilner of Wharton and Kathleen D. Vohs of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota will be publishing their resulting paper, "Non-Profits Are Seen as Warm and For-Profits as Competent: Firm Stereotypes Matter," in the Journal of Consumer Research. Here are some ways for both non-profits and for-profits to overcome consumer stereotypes:
- Show consumers that the organization is run competently, as this determines whether or not they will do business with you. The researchers cite HopeLab Foundation, whose products improve the lives of young cancer patients, as a non-profit that has shown competency through its "rigorous research and data-driven approaches."
- Obtain endorsements and positive coverage from "authoritative" media outlets (e.g., The Wall Street Journal).
- Get involved with a social cause.
- Make sure that cause resonates with your product. "There needs to be a fit between brand essence and the social venture that they're supporting," Mogilner said in a Stanford press release.
"We found that competence is what really drives a consumer's intention to purchase," says Mogilner. "For non-profit firms stuck with the stereotype of being warm but not particularly competent, anything that boosts their perceived competence will help them survive in the marketplace."
Image courtesy of Flickr user e-magic, CC 2.0.