Customer definitions of moral value for retail brands: a qualitative understanding

Yunyi Wei, Kokho Sit*, Yuksel Ekinci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigates consumer definitions of morality for brand value (BV) and whether the definitions are similar or different from ethics. Past research has identified many dimensions (e.g., functional value) of BV but not moral and ethical, which is surprising. There is also a constant debate on whether morality is similar or different from ethics, but only some scholars offer limited empirical research. Some clarity informed by in-depth qualitative insights will illuminate the debate and whether morality is necessary or redundant to a BV framework after ethics has been considered. Hence, we purposefully recruited and interviewed 12 British consumers from varied backgrounds to gauge their morality and ethical definitions of BV. Our work suggests that morality and ethics are necessary to develop a BV framework because they are not identical. Whilst they share the caring dimension, they are also distinct. Morality is more about cooperation/teamwork and prudence, whereas ethics is more about compliance plus fairness/honesty.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103697
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Early online date30 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • morality
  • ethics
  • brand value
  • perceived value
  • retail branding
  • template analysis

Cite this