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Doing well when doing good: the fit between corporate sponsorship and brand concept

Huawei Zhu (School of Economics and Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Qingan Li (School of Economics and Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Junyun Liao (School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 27 November 2018

Issue publication date: 4 December 2018




Firms are now investing heavily in sponsorship, yet much of this sponsorship fails to deliver the expected positive outcomes to firms. This paper aims to address this problem by taking into consideration the nature of corporate sponsorship and the fit between brand image developed by corporate sponsorship and established brand concept.


Two separate studies were conducted. Study 1 aimed to test the main effect of two types of corporate sponsorship on consumer responses to the brand and the mediating role of brand image perception. Study 2 used a different design to test the moderating effect of brand concept. Data collected from two distinct samples were analyzed using MANCOVA and regression analysis.


The results from two studies indicated that two types of corporate sponsorship commercial and philanthropic influenced consumer response through varied mechanisms. Specifically, commercial sponsorship increased the competence perception of sponsors and thereby enhances purchase intention, while philanthropic sponsorship promoted brand attitude through strengthening the warmth perception of sponsors. Moreover, the fit between established brand concept and brand image perceptions is critical for consumer responses. That is, warmth perception was more congruent with the self-transcendence brand concept, while competence perception fitted better with the self-enhancement brand concept in increasing consumer responses.


This paper divides corporate sponsorship into commercial and philanthropic sponsorship and investigates the process of achieving fit when conducting corporate sponsorship. More important, this paper adds to the literature by investigating the interaction between brand image produced by corporate sponsorship and original brand concept, which helps to reveal how fit occurs when conducting sponsorship.



The authors thank seminar participants of Research Center for Marketing Engineering and Innovation of China for their helpful suggestions. The authors are very grateful for the financial support from National Natural Science Foundation Grants (China) No. 71672135, 71872138 and No.91746206.


Zhu, H., Li, Q. and Liao, J. (2018), "Doing well when doing good: the fit between corporate sponsorship and brand concept", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 35 No. 7, pp. 733-742.



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