Silence Speaks Louder Than Words

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Silence Speaks Louder than Words:
How to Communicate about CSR Engagement Effectively

 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


A Case Study of Noir


Authors:

Lea Tae-Mee Søndergaard Nielsen (282853) Gro Anna Haldrup Skovbjerg (282834)

Supervisor: Michael Hübertz Characters: 98.895 Date: May 5th 2010 BA in Marketing and Management Communication Aarhus School of Business



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Executive Summary This thesis seeks to shed light on the challenges companies face when attempting to promote their CSR endeavours and suggests how they can communicate a credible CSR message in order to overcome consumer scepticism. As companies to a greater extend are held account for the social consequences of their business activities, the pressure to be socially responsible has created a tension between business and society and caused companies to think of CSR in generic ways. In fact, the most common corporate response has been neither strategic, nor operational, but cosmetic; public relations and media campaigns, the centrepieces of which are often glossy CSR reports that showcase companies’ socially and environmentally good deeds. However, the extensive use of CSR for marketing communication has caused consumers to question the motivation behind the actions and resulted in increased scepticism and cynicism toward companies’ CSR messages. To gain an understanding of how companies can avoid this consumer scepticism and communicate a credible CSR message, this thesis explores the field of CSR and identifies the benefits as well as shortcomings of the various communication tools. Furthermore, it seeks to examine how Noir, a company highly recognised for its sustainable business model, has chosen to communicate about its CSR engagement. To determine the effectiveness of Noir’s communication strategy, a quantitative research in the form of questionnaire has been conducted. The overall findings indicate that a rather “silent” approach to CSR communication is recommended when operating in European countries. By following Noir’s example and relying on corporate communication, WOM, and publicity, companies can overcome scepticism and convey effective, credible CSR messages. (Characters: 1537)



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TABLE OF CONTENTS 
 INTRODUCTION (GRO & LEA) .........................................................................5
 PROBLEM STATEMENT (GRO & LEA) ..............................................................6
 METHOD (GRO & LEA).....................................................................................6
 THEORY AND STRUCTURE (GRO & LEA) ........................................................ 7
 THE
THEORETICAL
PART .................................................................................................................................................................. 7
 THE
ANALYTICAL
PART .................................................................................................................................................................... 8
 DISCUSSION.......................................................................................................................................................................................... 9
 DELIMITATIONS (GRO & LEA) ........................................................................9
 THREE DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO CSR (LEA) ......................................... 10
 THE
SHAREHOLDER
APPROACH ................................................................................................................................................... 10
 THE
STAKEHOLDER
APPROACH .................................................................................................................................................... 11
 THE
SOCIETAL
APPROACH ............................................................................................................................................................. 13
 COMMUNICATING...
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