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Is this for our sake or their sake? Cross-cultural effects of message focus in cause-related marketing

Hongjoo Woo (Clothing & Textiles, Yonsei University, Seoul, The Republic of Korea)
Seeun Kim (Consumer and Design Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Michelle Lynn Childs (Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 30 July 2019

Issue publication date: 28 August 2020



The purpose of this paper is to examine how cause-related marketing (CRM) messages with a global focus and a national focus influence perceived brand authenticity and participation intentions among consumers across two countries, USA and South Korea, based on the social identity perspective. In addition, the study examines how perceived altruism of the brand mediates these relationships.


Hypotheses were tested by 2×2 between-subject quasi-experiment among about 260 US and Korean consumers. Data were analyzed using multivariate analyses of covariance (MANCOVA) and a moderated mediation analysis.


Results indicated that, overall, US consumers perceive higher brand authenticity and participation intentions toward CRM in than Korean consumers. Korean consumers perceived higher brand authenticity and participation intentions from a CRM message with a national focus, while US consumers did not have a significant preference between message focuses. According to the result of moderated mediation analysis, consumers’ perceived altruism toward the brand mediated the effects of interaction between message focus and consumer nationality.


This study provides a unique perspective about what specific kind of CRM message could be more effective for consumers in different cultures, and proposes a theoretical explanation of why such difference is observed based on consumers’ social identities and in-group favoritism.



Woo, H., Kim, S. and Childs, M.L. (2020), "Is this for our sake or their sake? Cross-cultural effects of message focus in cause-related marketing", International Marketing Review, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 671-694.



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