Consumer Behaviour Analysis in Relation to CSR Activities of Cosmetics Brands
Students: Alev Selbes & Samira Mohamed Master of Science in Marketing Advisor: Karen Brunsø, Professor PhD 30.08.2010 Århus School of Business Department of Marketing and Statistics
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an important topic in recent years, especially within the cosmetics industry. The consumers are becoming more involved with CSR and the demand for socially responsible brands is increasing. On the other hand, cosmetics brands are implementing more and more CSR activities. This paper focuses on the CSR activities of the cosmetics brands and how they affect consumer purchase behaviour. A qualitative research has been conducted, which consisted of in-depth interviews with cosmetics consumers and an interview with Estee Lauder Companies. Consumers find CSR an important topic in the cosmetics industry and would to like to see more socially responsible cosmetics brands. They would like to be informed more about what the cosmetics brands are actually doing in terms of social responsibility. However, they would like to be persuaded in a way that the CSR activities of the cosmetics brands are really meant to improve the society and the environment, not just used as a marketing tool. When it comes to buying cosmetics brands; quality, price and ingredients are considered to be the main purchase factors by consumers. However, it can be stated that even though CSR is not considered to be a purchase factor, it does have a significant impact on the purchase decisions. When it comes to purchasing cosmetics products, the majority of the consumers are searching for products that are fragrance free and allergy tested, and that do not contain unhealthy chemical additives (in relation to the purchase factors “ingredient” and “quality”). These issues are part of the environmental responsible activities that are provided by several green cosmetics brands, such Clinique and Aveda.
The cosmetics brands consider CSR as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to gain competitive advantage and to raise brand awareness. However, the activities need to be in alignment with the identity and the image of the brand. In this way, CSR activities contribute to the brand image while increasing the credibility of these activities in the consumers‟ mind. Moreover, it is necessary for the cosmetic brands to communicate their CSR activities to the consumers, in order to inform them continuously and make them aware about the CSR commitment of the brands. In addition, the cosmetics brands can cooperate together through certain CSR initiatives in order to increase the credibility of the importance of CSR in the cosmetic industry. The industry initiatives raise CSR awareness and support the overall image of the cosmetics industry as well as the image of the cosmetics brands.
This thesis has been written as part of our Master of Science in Marketing study at the Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University.
It was a challenge to pursuit and to determine the specific problems of the subject we have chosen for our thesis in the context of its complexity. Furthermore, searching and receiving the relevant information turned out be a great challenge as well. However, working on our thesis has been a great learning experience. We were able to explore and gain more knowledge about Corporate Social Responsibility in the cosmetics industry. We would like to thank Aarhus School of Business and our supervisor Karen Brunsø for their time and support during our thesis period. Karen spent time and effort giving us useful feedback and support in our research. We would also like to thank Estee Lauder Companies for their contribution to our thesis. Especially our interview with Isabel Martin was very valuable for us in order to understand the importance of CSR from commercial point of view. We...