Brand Social Responsibility: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Outcomes
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Social responsibility is typically examined at the firm level, yet there are instances in which consumers’ social responsibility perceptions of the firm’s product brands differ from social responsibility perceptions with regard to the firm [i.e., corporate social responsibility (CSR)]. This article conceptualizes brand social responsibility (BSR) and delineates it from CSR. Following the development of a BSR scale (Study 1), this research demonstrates variations in consumers’ social responsibility perceptions across product brands even if they are owned by the same corporation and compete in the same product category (Study 2). BSR is distinct from CSR (Studies 3a–3c), and better predicts consumers’ responses to product brands compared to corporate level measures (Study 4). Consistent with the conceptual distinction, this research demonstrates the unique contribution of BSR and CSR in predicting product brand and corporate outcomes, respectively (Study 5). From a theoretical viewpoint, this research is one of the few to examine differences between product brand and CSR. From a managerial viewpoint, the consideration of social responsibility at the product brand level facilitates the assessment of social responsibility perceptions across brands in brand portfolios managed under a mixed-branding or house-of-brands strategy.
KeywordsBranding Social responsibility Sustainability Measurement
The financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to the first author and CMBBR resources in data collection are gratefully acknowledged. We are grateful for the comments and help of Pierre Chandon, Darlene Walsh, Simla Barki, and Kimberly Duval on earlier versions of this manuscript.
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