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Dual nature of cause‐brand fit: Influence on corporate social responsibility consumer perception

Enrique Bigné (Department of Marketing, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain)
Rafael Currás‐Pérez (Department of Marketing, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain)
Joaquín Aldás‐Manzano (Department of Marketing, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 30 March 2012

9191

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the dual nature of social cause‐brand fit by studying the influence of two cause‐brand fit categories, functional fit and image fit, on the formation of brand corporate social responsibility consumer perception (CSR perception) in a cause‐brand alliance (CBA) context.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model is proposed, based on previous research, which explains the effect of functional fit and image fit on altruistic attributions, brand credibility and CSR image; these relationships were assessed through structural equation modelling. The model was estimated with a sample of 299 Spanish consumers of toiletries and cosmetics products, randomly selected. Two newly created, printed CBA advertisements served as the basic stimulus of the study.

Findings

This research shows that consumers perceive functional and image fit differently, and each has its own mechanism for influencing brand CSR perception. While functional fit has a direct, although gentle influence on CSR perception, image fit has an indirect influence, as it is used as a cue to evaluate altruistic brand motivations and brand credibility.

Research limitations/implications

The chosen research approach may reduce the generalisability of the results. Further empirical testing using alternative brands and outcome measures is encouraged.

Practical implications

Both types of fit influence the formation of CSR perception, and should therefore be postulated as decision criteria to brand managers for choosing the CBA partner. Specifically, brands which are likely of being perceived as not credible or egoistic when associating with the cause, must pay special attention to image fit.

Originality/value

This work analyses and compares simultaneously the influence of functional fit and image fit on CSR brand perception formation in the context of a CBA strategy.

Keywords

Citation

Bigné, E., Currás‐Pérez, R. and Aldás‐Manzano, J. (2012), "Dual nature of cause‐brand fit: Influence on corporate social responsibility consumer perception", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 3/4, pp. 575-594. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561211202620

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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