Ties That Bind: Exploring Existing Brand and Cause Relationships in Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns: An Abstract
Over the last several decades, cause-related marketing (CRM) has become an important piece in building the relationship between for-profit corporations and non-for-profit organizations (Elliot, 2009). Under the umbrella of “doing well by doing good,” firms have been able to attract consumers that are socially and environmentally conscious through CRM initiatives. These individuals seek out products and services than go above and beyond simply meeting their wants and needs but that extends assistance or charity to their local communities, natural environment, or starving populations around the world. In light of the growing consumer interest in cause-related products and services, this study aims to better understand the relative influence that various factors, including pre-existing connections to the cause and brand, can have on individual emotions and an individual’s intent to purchase products from firms associated with a cause.
Various aspects of cause-related marketing efforts have been studied. While previous research has examined the effects of a consumer’s connection to, or involvement with, a cause (Grau & Folse, 2007; Lafferty, 1996), few studies have focused on the effects of brand loyalty or brand engagement in CRM situations (as noted by Laffery et al., 2016). Similarly, while several studies have examined the motives associated with consumer CRM support (Bower & Grau, 2009; Chang & Chang, 2015), the effects of emotions such as obligation and anticipated guilt on CRM purchase and attitudinal outcomes have not been fully explored. This current research is intended to fill this gap in the literature and provide insights for CRM managers.
This research utilizes a two-study approach. First we conduct a qualitative study, whereby we administered an open-ended survey via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. The results of that survey and previous literature are used to develop a model of CRM purchase behavior which includes pre-existing brand and cause connections, consumer emotions related to the cause-related campaign, and their ultimate purchase decision, among other factors. This model is then tested using a second MTurk sample. Results and implications are discussed. The results of this study begin to fill gaps in the existing literature, offer ideas for future research, and give managerial insights regarding the role of pre-existing brand and cause commitment.