Assessing the Prerequisite of Successful CSR Implementation: Are Consumers Aware of CSR Initiatives?
- 5.7k Downloads
As a reflection of the values and ethics of firms, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has received a large amount of research attention over the last decade. A growing area of this research is the CSR–consumer relationship. Results of experimental studies indicate that consumer attitudes and purchase intentions are influenced by CSR initiatives – if consumers are aware of them. In order to create this awareness, business is increasingly turning to ‹pro-social’ marketing communications, but such campaigns is met with scepticism and their effectiveness are therefore uncertain. Consequently, researchers in the field (for example, Maignan, 2001; Mohr et al., 2001) have called for empirical studies to determine the level of actual consumer awareness of CSR initiatives. This study examines the Australian banking sector, which engages in and promotes its CSR activities, to help fill this gap. Results from our qualitative study with bank managers, and our quantitative study with consumers, indicate low consumer CSR awareness levels. Consumer understanding of many of the social issues banks engage with is also low. While CSR is effective in eliciting favourable consumer attitudes and behaviour in theory, CSR has not proven its general effectiveness in the marketplace. The low consumer awareness of the various social issues in which firms engage with their CSR programs suggests that firms may need to educate consumers, so they may better contextualise CSR initiatives communicated. However, better context may amount to little if claimed CSR initiatives are perceived as inconsistent with other facets of the business that reflect its values and ethics.
Keywordsbanks communication consumer awareness corporate social responsibility
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
This study was completed with assistance of a Faculty of Research Grant from the Faculty of Commerce, University of Wollongong, Australia. Preliminary results have been presented that the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference in 2007.
- Anand P., Sternthal B. 1989, Strategies for Designing Persuasive Messages: Deductions from the Resource Matching Hypothesis. in Cafferata P., Tybout A. M. (eds) Cognitive and Affective Responses to Advertising. Lexington Books, Lexington, 135–159Google Scholar
- Bhattacharya C. B., Sen S. 2004, Doing Better at Doing Good: Whey, Why, and How Consumers Respond to Corporate Social Initiatives. California Management Review 47(1), 9–24Google Scholar
- Carrigan M. 1997, The Great Corporate Give-Away: Can Marketing do Good for the “Do-Gooders”?. European Business Journal 9(4), 40–46Google Scholar
- Cone Inc.: 2004, Cone Corporate Citizenship Study. http://www.coneinc.com, accessed May 2006
- Dawkins, J.: 2004, ‹The Public’s Views of Corporate Responsibility 2003’, White Paper Series, MORI. Available from http://mori.com, accessed 31 May 2006
- Environics: 1999, The Millennium Poll. http://www.mori.com, accessed May 2006
- Friedman, M.: 1970, ‹The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits’, New York Times Magazine 33(September 13), 122–126Google Scholar
- King, D. S. and A. Mackinnon: 2002, ‹Who Cares? Community Perceptions in the Marketing of Corporate Citizenship’, in A. Jörg, S. Waddock, B. Husted and S. Sutherland Rahman (eds.), Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking, Chapter 12 (Greenleaf Publishing Limited, Sheffield)Google Scholar
- Kohler, A.: 2003, ‹Party’s over, Bank on It’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 2003, http://www.smh.com.au, accessed January 2007
- Kotler P., Brown L., Adam S., Burton S., Armstrong G. 2006, Marketing. 7th Edition, Pearson, Prentice Hall, Frenchs ForestGoogle Scholar
- Lovelock, C., P. Patterson and R. Walker: 2004, Services Marketing, an Asia-Pacific and Australian Perspective, 3rd Edition, Chapter 2 (Pearson Prentice Hall, Frenchs Forest)Google Scholar
- Mohr L. A., Webb D. J., Harris K. E. 2001, Do Consumers Expect Companies to be Socially Responsible? The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Buying Behavior. Journal of Consumer Affairs 35(1), 45–72Google Scholar
- Pomering, A. and S. Dolnicar: 2007, ‹Consumer Response to Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives: An Investigation of Two Necessary Awareness States’, Conference Proceedings, ANZMAC, University of OtagoGoogle Scholar
- Porter M. E., Kramer M. R. 2002, The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy. Harvard Business Review 80(12), 56–68Google Scholar
- Price L. L., Feick L. F., Higie R. A. 1987, Information Sensitive Consumers and Market Information. Journal of Consumer Affairs 21(2), 328–341Google Scholar
- Public Relations Watch: 2006, http://www.prrwatch.org, accessed May 2006
- Roberts, J. A.: 1996, ‹Will the Real Socially Responsible Consumer Please Step Forward?’, Business Horizons 39, 79–83Google Scholar
- Schultz, M. and M. Morsing: 2003, ‹The Catch 22 of Integrating CSR and Marketing: Findings from a Reputation Study of Danish Companies’, Conference Proceedings, MSI, Boston University, 17–19 September 2003Google Scholar
- Webb D. J., Mohr L. A. 1998, A Typology of Consumer Responses to Cause-Related Marketing: From Skeptics to Socially Concerned. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 17(2), 226–238Google Scholar
- Work Foundation: 2004, http://www.theworkfoundation.com/, accessed December 2004
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Cross Cutting Themes – Corporate Responsibility: 2004, http://www.wbcsd.org, accessed May 2004