Building corporate reputation, overcoming consumer skepticism, and establishing trust: choosing the right message types and social causes in the restaurant industry

Abstract

This study aims to examine the effects of message type and adoption of various social-cause categories on consumers’ reactions in building trust, reducing consumer skepticism, and bolstering corporate reputations within the restaurant and foodservice industries. A 2 (type of message: a text-only message versus one with text and visuals) × 4 (types of social causes: health, human services, animal welfare, and environmental concern) between-subjects experimental design was employed. The sample involved 433 U.S. adult consumers who volunteered to take a survey. Participants responded with the lowest levels of skepticism, the highest levels of trust, and the greatest respect for corporate reputation when the messages they viewed included visuals to go along with the message text. No differences were found among the four types of social causes with regard to participants’ responses, except for perceived trust. We also found interaction effects on participants’ responses regarding the relationships between types of messages and social-cause categories.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Alhouti S, Johnson CM, Holloway BB (2016) Corporate social responsibility authenticity: investigating its antecedents and outcomes. J Bus Res 69:1242–1249

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Andersen SE, Johansen TS (2016) Cause-related marketing 2.0: connection, collaboration and commitment. J Mark Comm 22:524–543

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Babin BJ, Griffin M, Hair JF Jr (2016) Heresies and sacred cows in scholarly marketing publications. J Bus Res 69:3133–3138

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Barone M, Norman AT, Miyazaki AD (2007) Consumer response to retailer use of cause-related marketing: is more fit better? J Retail 83:437–445

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Beckmann SC (2007) Consumers and corporate social responsibility: matching the unmatchable? Australas Mark J 5:27–36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Berger IE, Cunningham P, Drumwright M (2006) Identity, identification and relationship through social alliances. J Acad Mark Sci 34:128–137

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bergkvist L, Zhou KQ (2018) Cause-related marketing persuasion research: an integrated framework and directions for future research. Int J Advert. https://doi.org/10.1080/02650487.2018.1452397

    Google Scholar 

  8. Berglind M, Nakata C (2005) Cause-related marketing: more buck than bang? Bus Horizons 48:443–453

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bhaduri G, Ha-Brookshire J (2015) The role of brand schemas, information transparency, and source of message on apparel brands’ social responsibility communication. J Mark Comm 24:1–18

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bower AB, Grau SL (2009) Explicit donations and inferred endorsements: do corporate social responsibility initiatives suggest a nonprofit organization endorsement? J Advert 38:113–126

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Brønn PS, Vrioni AB (2001) Corporate social responsibility and cause-related marketing: an overview. Int J Advert 20(2):207–222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Brunel FF, Nelson MR (2000) Explaining gendered responses to ‘help-self’ and ‘help-others’ charity ad appeals: the mediating role of world-views. J Advert 29:15–28

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Buhrmester M, Kwang T, Gosling SD (2011) Amazon’s Mechanical Turk: a new source of inexpensive, yet high-quality, data? Perspect Psychol Sci 6:3–5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Burns AC, Biswas A, Babin LA (1993) The operation of visual imagery as a mediator of advertising effects. J Advert 22:71–85

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Chang CT (2012) Missing ingredients in cause-related advertising: the right formula of execution style and cause framing. Int J Advert 31:231–256

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Chang C-T, Chen P-C (2017) Cause-related marketing ads in the eye tracker: it depends on how you present, who sees the ad, and what you promote. Int J Advert 36(2):336–355

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Chang C-T, Cheng Z-H (2015) Tugging on heartstrings: shopping orientation, mindset, and consumer responses to cause-related marketing. J Bus Ethics 127:337–350

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Clow KE, James KE, Kranenburh KE, Berry CT (2009) An examination of the visual element used in generic message advertisements: a comparison of goods and services. Serv Mark Quart 30:69–84

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Cucchiara C, Kwon S, Ha S (2015) Message framing and consumer responses to organic seafood labeling. Brit Food J 117(5):1547–1563

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Diehl S, Terlutter R, Mueller B (2016) Doing good matters to consumers: the effectiveness of humane-oriented CSR appeals in cross-cultural standardized advertising campaigns. Int J Advert 35:730–757

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Du S, Bhattacharya CB, Sen S (2010) Maximizing business returns to corporate social responsibility (CSR): the role of CSR communication. Int J Manag Rev 12(1):8–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Einstein M (2012) Compassion Inc: how corporate America blurs the line between what we buy, who we are and those we help. University of California Press, Oakland, CA

    Google Scholar 

  23. Ellen PS, Mohr LA, Webb DJ (2000) Charitable programs and the retailer: do they mix? J Retail 76:393–406

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Elving WJL (2013) Skepticism and corporate social responsibility communication: the influence of fit and reputation. J Mark Commu n 19(4):277–292

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Farache F, Perks KJ, Berry A (2007) Corporate social responsibility communication: how corporations in the oil industry publicize their actions in the UK and Brazil. Int J Bus Res 7:25–34

    Google Scholar 

  26. Folkes VS (1988) Recent attribution research in consumer behavior: a review and new directions. J Consum Res 14:548–565

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Grazioli S, Jarvenpaa SL (2000) Perils of internet fraud: an empirical investigation of deception and trust with experienced internet consumers. Syst Man Cybern 30:395–410

    Google Scholar 

  28. Grunert KG (2011) Sustainability in the food sector: a consumer behaviour perspective. Int J Food System Dynamics 2:207–218

    Google Scholar 

  29. Grunert KG, Hieke S, Wills J (2014) Sustainability labels on food products: consumer motivation, understanding and use. Food Policy 44:177–189

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Gupta S, Pirsch S (2006) The company-cause-customer fit decision in cause-related marketing. J Consum Mark 23:314–326

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Hartmann M, Klink J, Simons J (2015) Cause related marketing in the German retail sector: exploring the role of consumers’ trust. Food Policy 52:108–114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Higgins ET (1997) Beyond pleasure and pain. Am Psychol 52:1280–1300

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Hirschman EC (1986) Humanistic Inquiry in Marketing Research: philosophy, Method, and Criteria. J Mark Res 23(August):237–249

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Howie KM, Yang L, Vitell SJ, Bush V, Vorhies D (2018) Consumer participation in cause-related marketing: an examination of effort demands and defensive denial. J Bus Ethics 147(3):679–692

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Huhmann BA, Franke GR, Mothersbaugh DL (2012) Print advertising: executional factors and the RPB grid. J Bus Res 65:849–854

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Hur J, Jang S (2015) Consumers’ inference-dynamics about healthy menu promotions in a bundle context. Int J Hosp Manag 44:12–22

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Irmak C, Sen S, Bhattacharya CB (2015) Consumers reactions to business-nonprofit alliances: who benefits and when? Mark Lett 26:29–42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Jennings L (2010) Sustainability playing in restaurants. National Restaurant News 2

  39. Jochim T, Ottenbacher MC, Harrington RJ (2015) What and how are firms in the quick-service restaurant industry reporting on corporate social responsibility? J Foodserv Bus Res 18:258–286

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Joireman J, Liu RL, Kareklas I (2018) Images paired with concrete claims improve skeptical consumers’ responses to advertising promoting a firm’s good deeds. J Mark Comm 24(1):83–102

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Keh HT, Xie Y (2009) Corporate reputation and customer behavioral intentions: the roles of trust, identification and commitment. Ind Mark Manag 38:732–742

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Kemp E, Kennett-Hensel PA, Kees J (2013) Pulling on the heartstrings: examining the effects of emotions and gender in persuasive appeals. J Advert 42:69–79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Kim S (2018) The process model of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication: CSR communication and its relationship with consumers’ CSR knowledge, trust, and corporate reputation perception. J Bus Ethics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3433-6

    Google Scholar 

  44. Kim S, Ferguson MAT (2018) Dimensions of effective CSR communication based on public expectations. J Mark Comm 24(6):549–567

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Kim K, Cheong Y, Lim JS (2015) Choosing the right message for the right cause in social cause advertising: type of social cause message, perceived company-cause fit and the persuasiveness of communication. Int J Advert 34:473–494

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Kulow K, Kramer T (2016) In pursuit of good Karma: when charitable appeals to do right go wrong. J Consum Res 43:334–353

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Lafferty BA, Edmondson DR (2014) A note on the role of cause type in cause-related marketing. J Bus Res 67:1455–1460

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Lafferty BA, Goldsmith RE (2005) Cause–brand alliances: does the cause help the brand or does the brand help the cause? J Bus Res 58:423–429

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Lafferty BA, Goldsmith RE, Hult GTM (2004) The impact of the alliance on the partners: a look at cause–brand alliances. Psychol Mark 21(7):509–531

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Lafferty BA, Lueth AK, McCafferty R (2016) An evolutionary process model of cause-related marketing and systematic review of the empirical literature. Psychol Mark 33:951–970

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Lee S, Oh H (2014) Effective communication strategies for hotel guests’ green behavior. Cornell Hosp Q 55:52–63

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Lewis JD, Weigert AJ (1985) Social atomism, holism, and trust. Sociol Q 26:455–471

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Line ND, Hanks L, Zhang L (2016) Sustainability communication: the effect of message construals on consumers’ attitudes towards green restaurants. Int J Hosp Manag 57:143–151

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Mason W, Suri S (2012) Conducting behavioral research on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Behav Res Methods 44:1–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. McDonalds (2012) McDonalds’ 2012–2013 Corporate social responsibility & sustainability report. Accessed on 21 August 2016. http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/sustainability/sustainabilityCRreports.html

  56. Minton EA, Cornwell TB (2016) The cause cue effect: cause-related marketing and consumer health perceptions. J Consum Aff 50:372–402

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Mögele B, Tropp J (2010) The emergence of CSR as an advertising topic: a longitudinal study of German CSR advertisements. J Mark Comm 16(3):163–181

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Mohr LA, Eroglu D, Ellen SP (1998) The development and testing of a measure of skepticism toward environment claims in the marketers’ communications. J Consum Aff 32:30–55

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Mora E, Vila N (2018) Developing successful cause-related marketing campaigns through social-networks the moderating role of users’ age. Total Qual Manag Bus Excell. https://doi.org/10.1080/14783363.2018.1427504

    Google Scholar 

  60. Morgan RM, Hunt SD (1994) The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing. J Mark 58(3):20–38

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Morsing M (2006) Corporate social responsibility as strategic auto-communication: on the role of external stakeholders for member identification. Bus Ethics 15(2):171–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Morsing M, Schultz M, Nielsen KU (2008) The ‘Catch 22′ of communicating CSR: findings from a Danish study. J Mark Comm 14(2):97–111

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Nan X, Heo K (2007) Consumer responses to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives: examining the role of brand-cause fit in cause-related marketing. J Advert 36(2):63–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) (2011) National center for charitable statistics. Accessed on 22 September 2016. http://nccs.urban.org

  65. National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) (2013) National taxonomy of exempt entities. Accessed on 23 September 2016. http://nccs.urban.org/classification/NTEE.cfm

  66. Nelson RA, Kanso AM, Levitt SR (2007) Integrating public service and marketing differentiation: an analysis of the American Express corporation’s “charge against hunger” promotion program. Serv Bus 1:275–293

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Nyilasy G, Gangadharbatla H, Paladino A (2014) Perceived greenwashing: the interactive effects of green advertising and corporate environmental performance on consumer reactions. J Bus Ethics 125(4):693–707

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Obermiller C, Spangenberg ER (1998) Development of a scale to measure consumer scepticism toward advertising. J Consum Psychol 7(2):159–186

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Öberseder M, Schlegelmilch BB, Murphy PE (2013) CSR practices and consumer perceptions. J Bus Res 66:1839–1851

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Ogilvy D (1983) Ogilvy on advertising. Crown, New York, NY

    Google Scholar 

  71. Osterhus TL (1997) Pro-social consumer influence strategies: when and how do they work? J Mark 61:16–29

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Pancer E, McShane L, Noseworthy TJ (2017) Isolated environmental cues and product efficacy penalties: the color green and eco-labels. J Bus Ethics 143(1):159–177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Parkinson TL (1975) The role of seals and certifications of approval in consumer decision-making. J Consum Aff 9:1–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Peer E, Vosgerau J, Acquisti A (2014) Reputation as a sufficient condition for data quality on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Behav Res Methods 46:1023–1031

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Petty RE, Cacioppo JT (1986) Communication and persuasion. Central and peripheral routes to attitude change. Springer, New York, NY

    Google Scholar 

  76. Polonsky MJ, Speed R (2001) Linking sponsorship and cause related marketing: complementarities and conflicts. E J Mark 35:1361–1385

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Pomering A, Dolnicar S (2009) Assessing the prerequisite of successful CSR implementation: are consumers aware of CSR initiatives? J Bus Ethics 85:285–301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Pracejus JWG, Olsen D, Brown NR (2004) On the prevalence and impact of vague quantifiers in the advertising of cause-related marketing (CRM). J Advert 32:19–28

    Article  Google Scholar 

  79. Robinson S, Eilert M (2018) The role of message specificity in corporate social responsibility communication. J Bus Res 90:260–268

    Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Robinson SR, Irmak C, Jayachandran S (2012) Choice of cause in cause-related marketing. J Mark 76:126–139

    Article  Google Scholar 

  81. Sanzo MJ, Álvarez LI, Rey M, García N (2015) Business-nonprofit partnerships: a new form of collaboration in a corporate responsibility and social innovation context. Serv Bus 9:611–636

    Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Schlosser E (2002) Fast food nation: what the all-American meal is doing to the world. Penguin, London, UK

    Google Scholar 

  83. Server Izquierdo RJ, Capó Vicedo J (2012) Corporate social responsibility of financial organizations in the social economy: a case study on savings banks. Serv Bus 6:99–115

    Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Skarmeas D, Leonidou CN (2013) When consumers doubt, watch out! The role of CSR skepticism. J Bus Res 66:1831–1838

    Article  Google Scholar 

  85. Tangari AH, Folse JAG, Burton S, Kees J (2010) The moderating influence of consumers’ temporal orientation on the framing of societal needs and corporate responses in cause-related marketing campaigns. J Advert 39(2):35–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  86. Teng L, Ye N, Yu Y, Wu X (2014) Effects of culturally verbal and visual congruency/incongruency across cultures in a competitive advertising context. J Bus Res 67:288–294

    Article  Google Scholar 

  87. Trimble C, Rifon NJ (2006) Consumer perceptions of match in cause-related marketing message. Int J Nonprofit Volunt Sect Mark 11:29–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  88. Trope Y, Liberman N (2003) Temporal construal. Psychol Rev 110:403–421

    Article  Google Scholar 

  89. Vilela AM, Nelson MR (2016) Testing the selectivity hypothesis in cause-related marketing among generation Y: [when] does gender matter for short- and long-term persuasion? J Mark Comm 22:18–35

    Article  Google Scholar 

  90. Vlachos PA, Tsamakos A, Vrechopoulos AP, Avramidis PK (2009) Corporate social responsibility: attributions, loyalty, and the mediating role of trust. J Acad Mark Sci 37(2):170–180

    Article  Google Scholar 

  91. Wang A (2010) Implications for brokerage firms’ financial disclosure: from CSR perspectives. J Financ Serv Mark 15:112–125

    Article  Google Scholar 

  92. Webb D, Mohr LA (1998) Typology of consumer responses to cause-related marketing: from skeptics to socially concerned. J Public Policy Mark 17(2):226–238

    Article  Google Scholar 

  93. Weiss AM, Anderson E, MacInnis DJ (1999) Reputation management as a motivation for sales structure decisions. J Mark 63:74–89

    Article  Google Scholar 

  94. Westberg K, Pope N (2014) Building brand equity with cause-related marketing: a comparison with sponsorship and sales promotion. J Mark Comm 20:419–437

    Article  Google Scholar 

  95. Wu LL, Mattila AS, Han JR (2014) Territoriality revisited: other customer’s perspective. Int J Hosp Manag 38:48–56

    Article  Google Scholar 

  96. Wyer RS, Hung IW, Jiang Y (2008) Visual and verbal processing strategies incomprehension and judgment. J Consum Psychol 18(4):244–257

    Article  Google Scholar 

  97. Wymer W, McDonald K, Scaife W (2014) Effects of corporate support of a charity on public perceptions of the charity. Voluntas 25:1388–1416

    Article  Google Scholar 

  98. Yang D, Lu Y, Zhu W, Su C (2015) Going green: how different advertising appeals impact green consumption behavior. J Bus Res 68:2663–2675

    Article  Google Scholar 

  99. Zhang L, Mattila AS (2015) An examination of corporate social responsibility and processing fluency in a service context. J Serv Mark 29:103–111

    Article  Google Scholar 

  100. Zhang L, Yang W, Zheng X (2018) Corporate social responsibility: the effect of need-for-status and fluency on consumer’s attitudes. Int J Contemp Hosp M 30(3):1492–1507

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sung-Bum Kim.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kim, D., Kim, S. & Kim, K.J. Building corporate reputation, overcoming consumer skepticism, and establishing trust: choosing the right message types and social causes in the restaurant industry. Serv Bus 13, 363–388 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11628-018-0386-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Cause-related marketing
  • Corporate reputation
  • Skepticism
  • Social causes
  • Trust
  • Type of message