This study explores the importance of public relations in shaping the corporate brand (CB) by investigating the impact of C-executives facial appearances on consumer attitudes toward the CB and purchase intentions (PI). The facial appearance of C-executives and its fit with types of customer interviews have significant influence, especially for interviews pertaining to the dimensions of market orientation, as well as interviews about corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Facial appearance in this study refers to babyfacedness versus maturefacedness, a feature that influences various judgments. For example, babyfaced people are perceived as more innocent, honest, and warm, whereas maturefaced people prompt perceptions of competence and expertise. Therefore, perceived inferences related to babyfacedness should influence attitudes toward the CB and PI. In the case of CSR, perceived benevolence might mediate between babyfacedness and company attitude, such that attitude toward CB and PI should be higher when C-executives are babyfaced rather than maturefaced. In the case of a competitor- or technological-oriented interview, leadership should mediate between babyfacedness and attitude toward the company, such that attitudes should be higher when C-executives are mature- rather than babyfaced.
The results largely confirm these hypotheses for PI, though this study cannot determine whether babyfaced traits specifically increase attitudes toward the CB. Further research should help clarify these outcomes. Overall, it is worthwhile for companies to match the type of interview with the facial characteristics of their C-executives as a means to strengthen the corporate brand and enhance purchase intentions.