This study examines the impact of marketing-oriented corporate social responsibility (CSR) communications on perceptions of the firm and its brands among consumers in two diverse cultures, economies, and political landscapes. The authors’ main hypotheses are based on global brand positioning theory, which posits that consumer perceptions are enhanced if the brand is viewed as global. In general, the results support the notion that multinational firms emphasizing global CSR efforts engender more positive perceptions across multiple dimensions. Yet regarding tactical issues, the results also show the importance of some specific needs according to local tastes and experiences. The authors provide implications for marketing theory and practice as well as future research directions. Keywords: corporate social responsibility, advertising, global consumer culture positioning, culture, survey research
n recent years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs have received increased attention from scholars and practitioners. This movement has resulted in several important findings, including the belief that robust CSR efforts and communications enhance a variety of stakeholder perceptions (Sen and Bhattacharya 2001; Vian et al. 2007) and that a lack of social responsibility might damage stakeholder relationships (Argenti and Haley 2006). Because most of this
academic work has been conducted in the United States and a few other developed countries (Maignan and Ralston 2002), the findings may have limited generalizability to developing economies and offer little guidance for firms seeking to systematically promote multinational CSR efforts. Furthermore, CSR efforts with global themes and execution tactics are emerging in the marketplace (Matten and Moon 2008). There is an observed trend that the CSR efforts of European and other non-U.S.-based multinational firms are becoming similar to those of U.S. firms, which favor explicit policies and programs along with greater transparency in reporting and communications. This perspective is indicative of CSR
Karen L. Becker-Olsen is Associate Professor of Marketing, College of New Jersey (e-mail: kbecker@ tcnj.edu). Charles R. Taylor is the John A. Murphy Professor of Marketing (e-mail: raymond.taylor@ villanova.edu), and Ronald Paul Hill is the Robert J. and Barbara Naclerio Chairholder (e-mail: ronald.hill@ villanova.edu), Villanova School of Business, Villanova University. Goksel Yalcinkaya is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Whittemore School of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire (goksel.yalcinkaya@ unh.edu).
Journal of International Marketing ©2011, American Marketing Association Vol. 19, No. 2, 2011, pp. 30–44 ISSN 1069-0031X (print) 1547-7215 (electronic)
30 Journal of International Marketing
efforts that actively develop and implement programs and strategies that “combine social and business value and address issues perceived as being part of the social responsibility of the company” (Matten and Moon 2008, p. 409). Therefore, prior research and current corporate-based trends support worldwide, integrated marketing communications that highlight an explicit CSR program (Weyzig 2006). Although some scholars have reported a positive relationship between a country’s level of economic development and the importance of CSR to consumers (Marta and Singhapakdi 2005), there is an apparent movement toward increased emphasis on CSR across all markets (Matten and Moon 2008). Moreover, recent research on international marketing efforts indicates that there are benefits associated with the use of global branding and global promotional approaches (Okazaki, Taylor, and Zou 2006; Steenkamp, Batra, and Alden 2003). For...