Companies may inform consumers about their pro-environmental actions by using either positively or negatively framed messages that, respectively, highlight the possible benefits deriving from such actions versus the drawbacks deriving from inaction. It is still unclear, however, how these two communication tactics influence consumers’ intentions and behaviors. Three studies demonstrate that negatively framed messages have a positive effect on company trustworthiness, which, in turn, exerts a favorable influence on message receivers’ intentions and behaviors. Such an effect holds only when receivers are concerned about environmental problems and perceive the company as potentially harmful to the environment. The results highlight the importance of using an appropriate framing to foster trust in environmentally responsible companies.
- message framing
- environmental concern