Corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to evolve as a theoretical concept that increasingly integrates social aspects such as diversity, equity, and social justice (DEI). The study reported in this chapter tests the effects of inclusion as a CSR strategy on key characteristics that develop brand connection with female millennial consumers. Using the Self-Brand Connection theory, we test such components of brand connection as values, identity, and perceived connection. Using an example of a cosmetic brand that chooses to either offer an inclusive or noninclusive lineup of skin care products, the study uses an experimental design to present these two scenarios to two independent samples of female millennials. Results suggest support for the importance of inclusion as the respondents exposed to the inclusive scenario had a more positive attitude toward the brand in all components of brand connection versus respondents exposed to a noninclusive scenario. The difference between the groups was statistically significant in every case. We conclude that inclusion as a component of CSR has a significant impact on female millennials' self-brand connection. As a result, corporations should consider CSR effects in terms of inclusion when developing their branding strategies.
Laskin, A.V. and Kresic, K. (2021), "Inclusion as a Component of CSR and a Brand Connection Strategy", Pompper, D. (Ed.) Public Relations for Social Responsibility (Communicating Responsible Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 149-163. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-167-620211010
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