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Will consumers give us another chance to bounce back? Effects of precrisis commitments to social and product responsibility on brand resilience

Jiyun Kang (Division of Consumer Science, White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Amy A. Faria (Division of Consumer Science, White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Judy Lee (School of Business, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Woo Jin Choi (School of Business Administration, University of Seoul, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 20 January 2023

Issue publication date: 26 July 2023

1058

Abstract

Purpose

Merely being known as a highly ethical or strong performer cannot shield a company from every kind of crisis. From product failures to environmental and social issues, a brand’s ability to manage crises and rapidly regain consumer trust is essential. This study aims to explore whether consumer perceptions of a brands’ prior commitments to two different areas of corporate responsibility (social and product responsibility) alleviate the postcrisis attribution of accountability and further build brand resilience, examining differences between two types of crisis situations – values versus performance crises.

Design/methodology/approach

A scenario-based online survey on product versus ethical labor issues was conducted. The data were collected from a highly valid, nationwide sample set of more than a thousand US consumers. Multigroup structural equation modeling was used as the primary data analysis method.

Findings

A brand’s precrisis commitment to social responsibility was found to decrease attribution of accountability across both types of crises. It also strengthened brand resilience, but this effect was more prevalent in a performance than a values crisis. The effects of precrisis commitment to product responsibility on brand resilience were minimal or insignificant across crisis types.

Originality/value

Previous research underexplores which types of corporate responsibility commitments provide a firm with a better protection against crises. This study significantly advances the knowledge regarding the type of commitments that can substantially increase brand resilience, which supports the rationale of making stronger commitments to social responsibility than to product responsibility. Practical insights are provided into how investments in corporate social responsibility help alleviate consumers’ negative perceptions during the outbreak of a brand crisis and build more brand muscle that enables resilience against future crises.

Keywords

Citation

Kang, J., Faria, A.A., Lee, J. and Choi, W.J. (2023), "Will consumers give us another chance to bounce back? Effects of precrisis commitments to social and product responsibility on brand resilience", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 927-941. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-03-2022-3899

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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