Consumers perceive non-profits as incompetent: Study

February 18th, 2010 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 18 (IANS) Consumers perceive non-profit organisations as being warm, but not particularly competent, says a new study.
Conversely, it found that people generally view profit-based companies as competent, but devoid of warmth, which puts people off.

“Across three experiments, we found that consumers hold stereotypes, or blanket impressions about non-profit and for-profit organisations,” write authors Jennifer Aaker, Kathleen D. Voh and Cassie Mogilne from Stanford, Minnesota and Pennsylvania Universities, respectively.

“These stereotypes predict crucial marketplace behaviours, such as the likelihood of visiting a website and willingness to buy a product from the organisation,” they add.

Non-profits can boost public perception by understanding and using tools that most effectively convey competence, the authors write.

For example, non-profits can utilise sub-branding, endorsements, and sponsored events to avoid the general perception that they are in some way incompetent.

“Our results demonstrate a major difference from findings regarding the warmth and competence perceptions of people,” the authors write.

“It is well-established that perceptions of people are better predicted by perceptions of warmth than by perceptions of competence,” the study authors write.

“However, in our studies of firms, perceived competence predicted global endpoints (such as willingness to buy) better than perceived warmth. In this regard, our work represents an intriguing departure from work on perceptions of humans.”

These findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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