Goal Pursuit Recommendations and Self-Conscious Emotions:
Why and When the Form of Recommendation Affects Closeness and Motivation
Given the prevalence and importance of health goals, many companies offer products (or services) to help consumers pursue such goals. This research examines how receiving different types of recommendations for such products affects closeness to recommenders and motivation to try such products. 5 studies compare “you” goal recommendations (suggesting a goal-relevant product without mentioning the recommender’s own participation) with “we” goal recommendations (suggesting a goal-relevant product/service while mentioning the recommender’s own participation). The authors show that “we” recommendations (vs. “you” recommendations and neutral recommendations with no pronoun usage) increase both closeness and goal motivation, both in the context of consumer-consumer recommendations and with advertisements containing marketers’ recommendations to consumers. Moreover, the authors demonstrate that these benefits occur because they reduce self-conscious emotions typically associated with receiving “you” goal-relevant recommendations. Indeed, consistent with the key role of self-conscious emotions, the benefits occur for products framed as addressing a health goal—a goal about which consumers often feel self-conscious—but not for products framed as addressing a taste goal.
Ernest is Gerald Peck Fellow and Assistant Professor of Food Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University and his research has been published in many top-tier journals across marketing, psychology, and food including JCR, JMR, Personality, and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Appetite.