Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 131, Issue 2, pp 375–399 | Cite as

Brand Social Responsibility: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Outcomes

  • Bianca Grohmann
  • H. Onur BodurEmail author
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Branding Social responsibility Sustainability Measurement 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Aaker, J. (1997). Dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3), 347–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, N. H. (1981). Foundations of information integration theory. New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, J. R. (1983). The architecture of cognition. Cambridge, NJ: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, N. H. (1996). A functional theory of cognition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Aquino, K., & Reed, A. (2002). The self-importance of moral identity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(6), 1423–1440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Auger, P., & Devinney, T. (2007). Do what consumers say matter? The misalignment of preferences with unconstrained ethical intentions. Journal of Business Ethics, 76(December), 361–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Auger, P., Devinney, T., Louviere, J., & Burke, P. (2008). Do social product features have value to consumers? International Journal of Research in Marketing, 25(September), 183–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Azoulay, A., & Kapferer, J. N. (2003). Do brand personality scales really measure brand personality? Journal of Brand Management, 11(June), 143–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bagozzi, R. P., & Baumgartner, H. (1994). The evaluation of structural equations models and hypothesis testing. In R. P. Bagozzi (Ed.), Principles of marketing research (pp. 386–422). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  10. Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1988). On the evaluation of structural equations models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16(Spring), 74–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Barone, M. J., Miyazaki, A. D., & Taylor, K. A. (2000). The influence of cause-related marketing on consumer choice: Does one good turn deserve another? Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(Spring), 248–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Barone, M. J., Norman, A. T., & Miyazaki, A. D. (2007). Consumer responses to retailer use of cause-related marketing: Is more fit better? Journal of Retailing, 83(December), 437–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Becker-Olsen, K. L., Cudmore, B. A., & Hill, R. P. (2006). The impact of perceived corporate social responsibility on consumer behavior. Journal of Business Research, 59(January), 46–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Belsley, D. A., Kuh, E., & Welch, R. E. (1980). Regression diagnostics. New York, NY: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Berens, G., van Riel, C. B. M., & van Bruggen, G. H. (2005). Corporate associations and consumer product responses: The moderating role of corporate brand. Journal of Marketing, 69(July), 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bergami, M., & Bagozzi, R. P. (2000). Self-categorization, affective commitment and group self-esteem as distinct aspects of social identity in the organization. British Journal of Social Psychology, 39(December), 555–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bhattacharya, C. B. (2010). Introduction to the special section on stakeholder marketing. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 29(Spring), 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Biehal, G. J., & Sheinin, D. A. (2007). The influence of corporate messages on the product portfolio. Journal of Marketing, 71(April), 12–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Broniarczyk, S. M., & Alba, J. W. (1994). The role of consumers’ intuitions in inference making. Journal of Consumer Research, 21(3), 393–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Brown, T. J., & Dacin, P. A. (1997). The company and the product: Corporate associations and consumer product responses. Journal of Marketing, 61(January), 68–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Brunk, K. H. (2010). Exploring origins of ethical company/brand perceptions—a consumer perspective on corporate ethics. Journal of Business Research, 63(3), 255–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Brunk, K. H. (2012). Un/ethical company and brand perceptions: Conceptualising and operationalising consumer meanings. Journal of Business Ethics, 111, 551–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Brunk, K. H., & Blümelhuber, C. (2011). One strike and you’re out: Qualitative insights into the formation of consumers’ ethical company or brand perceptions. Journal of Business Research, 64, 134–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Carroll, A. B. (1979). A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. The Academy of Management Review, 4(October), 497–505.Google Scholar
  25. Collins, A. M., & Loftus, E. F. (1975). A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological Review, 82(6), 407–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. DeVellis, R. F. (2012). Scale development: Theory and applications (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Dick, A., Chakravarti, D., & Biehal, G. (1990). Memory-based inferences during choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 17(1), 82–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Du, S., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Sen, S. (2007). Reaping relational rewards from corporate social responsibility: The role of competitive positioning. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 24(September), 224–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Eisend, M., & Stockburger-Sauer, N. (2013). Brand personality: A meta-analytic review of antecedents and consequences. Marketing Letters, 24(September), 205–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ellen, P. S., Webb, D. J., & Mohr, L. A. (2006). Building corporate associations: Consumer attributions for corporate socially responsible programs. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(Spring), 147–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Escalas, J. E., & Bettman, J. R. (2003). You are what they eat: The influence of reference groups on consumers’ connections to brands. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(3), 339–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Euromonitor. (2012). Packaged foods: Euromonitor Country Report. Accessed August 17, 2012, from http://www.euromonitor.com.
  33. Fan, Y. (2005). Ethical branding and corporate communication. Corporate Communications, 10(4), 341–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ford, G. T., & Smith, R. A. (1987). Inferential beliefs in consumer evaluations: An assessment of alternative processing strategies. Journal of Consumer Research, 14(3), 363–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equations models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 28(February), 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Fournier, S. (1998). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 24(4), 343–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gerbing, D. W., & Anderson, J. C. (1988). An updated paradigm for scale development incorporating unidimensionality and its assessment. Journal of Marketing Research, 25(May), 186–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Golob, U., Lah, M., & Jančič, Z. (2008). Value orientations and consumer expectations of corporate social responsibility. Journal of Marketing Communications, 14(April), 83–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Grohmann, B. (2009). Gender dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 46(1), 105–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gupta, R., & Sen, S. (2013). The effect of evolving resource synergy beliefs on the intentions discrepancy in ethical consumption. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 23(January), 114–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Gürhan-Canli, Z., & Batra, R. (2004). When corporate image affects product evaluations: The moderating role of perceived risk. Journal of Marketing Research, 41(May), 197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling. Accessed August 2, 2012, from http://www.afhayes.com/public/process2012.pdf.
  43. Henderson, T., & Arora, N. (2010). Promoting brands across categories with a social cause: Implementing effective embedded premium programs. Journal of Marketing, 74(November), 41–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Henriques, I., & Sadorsky, P. (1999). The relationship between environmental commitment and managerial perceptions of stakeholder importance. Academy of Management Journal, 42(February), 89–99.Google Scholar
  45. John, D. R., Loken, B., Kim, K., & Monga, A. B. (2006). Brand concept maps: A methodology for identifying brand association networks. Journal of Marketing Research, 43(4), 549–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Keller, K. L. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(January), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Keller, K. L., & Lehmann, D. R. (2006). Brands and branding: Research findings and future priorities. Marketing Science, 25(November/December), 740–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kenny, D. A. (2012). Measuring model fit. Accessed August 2, 2012, from http://www.davidakenny.net.
  49. Kenny, D. A., Kaniskan, R. B., & McCoach, D. B. (2011). The performance of RMSEA in models with small degrees of freedom. Unpublished Paper, University of Connecticut.Google Scholar
  50. Knox, S., & Maklan, S. (2004). Corporate social responsibility: Moving beyond investment towards measuring outcomes. European Management Journal, 22(October), 508–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lichtenstein, D. R., Drumwright, M. E., & Braig, B. M. (2004). The effect of corporate social responsibility on customer donations to corporate-supported nonprofits. Journal of Marketing, 68(October), 16–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lin, Y. C., & Chang, C. A. (2012). Double standard: The role of environmental consciousness in green product usage. Journal of Marketing, 76(September), 125–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Luchs, M. G., Walker-Naylor, R., Irwin, J. R., & Raghunathan, R. (2010). The sustainability liability: Potential negative effects of ethicality on product preference. Journal of Marketing, 74(September), 18–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Luo, X., & Bhattacharya, C. B. (2006). Corporate social responsibility, consumer satisfaction, and market value. Journal of Marketing, 70(October), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Madrigal, R., & Boush, D. M. (2008). Social responsibility as a unique dimension of brand personality and consumers’ willingness to reward. Psychology & Marketing, 25(June), 538–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Maignan, I. (2001). Consumers’ perceptions of corporate social responsibilities: A cross-cultural comparison. Journal of Business Ethics, 30(March), 57–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Maignan, I., & Ferrell, O. C. (2004). Corporate social responsibility and marketing: An integrative framework. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 32(Winter), 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Malär, L., Krohmer, H., Hoyer, W. D., & Nyffenegger, B. (2011). Emotional brand attachment and brand personality: The relative importance of the actual and the ideal self. Journal of Marketing, 75(July), 35–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Margolis, J. D., & Walsh, J. P. (2003). Misery loves companies: Rethinking social initiatives by business. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(June), 268–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Mohr, L. A., & Webb, D. J. (2005). The effect of corporate social responsibility and price on consumer responses. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 39(Summer), 121–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Netemeyer, R. G., Bearden, W. O., & Sharma, S. (2003). Scaling procedures: Issues and applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  62. Öberseder, M., Schlegelmilch, B., & Murphy, P. E. (2013). CSR practices and consumer perceptions. Journal of Business Research, 66, 1839–1851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Paharia, N., Keinan, A., Avery, J., & Schor, J. B. (2011). The underdog effect: The marketing of disadvantage and determination through brand biography. Journal of Marketing, 37(Feburary), 775–790.Google Scholar
  64. Paulhus, D. L. (1991). Measurement and control of response bias. In J. P. Robinson, P. R. Shaver & L. S. Wright (Eds.), Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes (pp. 17–59). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  65. Paulhus, D. L. (2002). Socially desirable responding: The evolution of a construct. In H. I. Braun, D. N. Jackson & D. E. Wiley (Eds.), Constructs in Psycholgical and Educational Measurement (pp. 49–69). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  66. Peloza, J., & Shang, J. (2011). How can corporate social responsibility activities create value for stakeholders? A systematic review. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(February), 117–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Peloza, J., White, K., & Shang, J. (2013). Good and guilt-free: The role of self-accountability in influencing preferences for products with ethical attributes. Journal of Marketing, 77(January), 104–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pracejus, J. W., & Olsen, G. D. (2004). The role of brand/cause fit in the effectiveness of cause-related marketing campaigns. Journal of Business Research, 57(June), 635–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rao, V. R., Agarwal, M. K., & Dahlhoff, D. (2004). How is manifest branding strategy related to the intangible value of a corporation? Journal of Marketing, 68(October), 126–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Ross, J. K., Patterson, L. T., & Stutts, M. A. (1992). Consumer perceptions of organizations that use cause-related marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 20(Winter), 93–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Salmones, M., García de los, M., Crespo, A. H., & Rodrígues del Bosque, I. (2005). Influence of corporate social responsibility on loyalty and valuation of services. Journal of Business Ethics, 61(November), 369–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Schnittka, O., Sattler, H., & Zenker, S. (2012). Advanced brand concept maps: A new approach for evaluating the favorability of brand association networks. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 29(2), 265–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sen, S., & Bhattacharya, C. B. (2001). Does doing good always lead to doing better? Consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility. Journal of Marketing Research, 38(May), 225–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sen, S., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Korschun, D. (2006). The role of corporate social responsibility in strengthening multiple stakeholder relationships: A field experiment. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(Spring), 158–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Shea, L. J. (2010). Using consumer perceived ethicality as a guideline for corporate social responsibility strategy: A commentary essay. Journal of Business Research, 63, 263–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sheinin, D. A., & Biehal, G. J. (1999). Corporate advertising pass-through onto the brand: Some experimental evidence. Marketing Letters, 10(February), 63–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Simmons, C. J., & Becker-Olsen, K. L. (2006). Achieving marketing objectives through social sponsorships. Journal of Marketing, 70(October), 154–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Singh, J. J., Iglesias, O., & Batista-Foguet, J. M. (2012). Does having an ethical brand matter? The influence of consumer perceived ethicality on trust, affect, and loyalty. Journal of Business Ethics, 111, 541–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Singhapakdi, A., Vitell, S. J., Rallapalli, K. C., & Kraft, K. L. (1996). The perceived role of ethics and social responsibility: A scale development. Journal of Business Ethics, 15(November), 1131–1140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Smith, N. C. (2003). Corporate social responsibility: Whether or how? California Management Review, 45(Summer), 52–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Steenkamp, J. -B. E. M., de Jong, M. G., & Baumgartner, H. (2010). Socially desirable response tendencies in survey research. Journal of Marketing Research, 47(2), 199–214.Google Scholar
  82. Torelli, C. J., Monga, A. B., & Kaikati, A. M. (2011). Doing poorly by doing good: Corporate social responsibility and brand concepts. Journal of Consumer Research, 38(February), 948–963.Google Scholar
  83. Twitchell, J. B. (2002). An English teacher looks at branding. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(2), 484–489.Google Scholar
  84. Wagner, T., Lutz, R. J., & Weitz, B. A. (2009). Corporate hypocrisy: Overcoming the threat of inconsistent corporate responsibility perceptions. Journal of Marketing, 73(November), 77–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Yoo, B., Donthu, N., & Lee, S. (2000). An examination of selected marketing mix elements and brand equity. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(Spring), 195–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Yoon, Y., Gürhan-Canli, Z., & Schwarz, N. (2006). The effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities on companies with bad reputations. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16(October), 377–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John Molson School of BusinessConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.John Molson School of BusinessConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations