Companies doing good, home and away: exploring customer attitudes to company-instigated CSR initiatives’

Lizette Vorster, David Hart, Mahmoud Abdelrahman

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been studied from a variety of angles, but more insight is required into consumer sentiments surrounding CSR initiatives linked to the brands they consume from (Wang and Anderson 2011; Feldman and Vasquez-Parraga 2013). While there are multiple studies regarding consumer engagement in CSR (Holiday, Hayes, Britt and Lyu, 2021; Hur and Kim, 2017; Uzunoğlu, Türkel and Akyar, 2017), recent events such as the refugee crisis and the covid-19 pandemic highlight socio-economic and socio-cultural inequalities and have sparked increased interest in social change (Benach 2021). There are several government and company-led support schemes attempting to address these inequalities, such endeavours are subject to public scrutiny as consumer responses are mixed and influenced by personal affinities (Ferreira and Ribeiro 2017). Consumers’ views on national identity are particularly prevalent in influencing their charitable preferences, with donors typically leaning towards domestic over international causes (Hart and Robson 2016; Strizhakova and Coulter 2019). It would be especially valuable for marketers to understand if such preferences transfer to support for company-led CSR initiatives. Specifically we will investigate responses to cause related marketing efforts, which are “a tool to give voice to company involvement in corporate social responsibility” (Lerro et al., 219, p.2).

Study Focus
The current study aims to investigate consumer sentiments about companies’ involvement in activities designed to decrease child poverty domestically (within the UK) versus in other countries. The study objectives are to: 1.) Explore the role of national identity (nationalism, patriotism and internationalism) as determinants of attitudes towards CSR activities; 2.) Assess consumer responses to CSR activities focused on domestic versus international beneficiaries; and 3.) Explore the impact of CSR perception on purchase intention and loyalty. Study insights could inform strategic decision making for brands’ CSR initiatives whilst facilitating enhanced consumer engagement. A conceptual model has been created which brings together national identity, attitudes toward corporate social responsibility, loyalty and purchase intentions.

Methodology
The study takes a quantitative approach and will be distributed to a representative sample of UK participants. Our survey includes two hypothetical advertisements for a fictitious retail brand which promotes involvement in a national or international food poverty initiative. Respondents will answer items across our seven constructs, including adapted measures on CSR (Bianchi, Bruno and Sarabia-Sanchez, 2019; Schmeltz, 2012; Schmeltz 2014); internationalism and nationalism (Kosterman and Feshbach, 1989); patriotism (Blank and Schmidt, 2003) and purchase intention (Alalwan 2018; Shaouf et al. 2016). Structural Equation Modelling will be used to analyse the data.

Study Status and Anticipated Contribution
The study is currently at the pilot stage, and it is anticipated that data will be collected and some preliminary analysis undertaken by the time of the conference. The findings from the study will add to existing knowledge around consumers preferences for domestic versus international causes, and as such provide guidance to brands on how to select optimal CSR strategies. The study will also provide insights on how selecting a CSR cause that resonates with consumers can impact on their future behaviour, specifically purchase intention and loyalty.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Academy of Marketing 2022 Annual Conference and Doctoral Colloquium: Marketing: The Fabric of Life
EditorsStuart Roper, Claire McCamley
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9781862182127
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventAcademy of Marketing Conference 2022: Marketing: The Fabric of Life - University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jul 20227 Jul 2022
https://www.academyofmarketing.org/conference/conference-2022/

Conference

ConferenceAcademy of Marketing Conference 2022
LocationUniversity of Huddersfield
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityHuddersfield
Period05/07/202207/07/2022
Internet address

Keywords

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • National Identity
  • Social Change
  • Consumer Charitable Responses
  • Purchase Intention
  • Brand Loyalty
  • Food Poverty

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