The impact of corporate social responsibility on brand equity: consumer responses to two types of fit

Francisco Guzmán (Department of Marketing and Logistics, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Donna Davis (Department of Marketing, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 21 August 2017



A significant stream of research investigates the influence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives on firm performance and consumer response to CSR programs. However, how CSR initiatives help build brand equity remains relatively unexamined. This study aims to demonstrate how CSR influences brand equity in response to perceptions of two types of brand–cause fit.


The authors analyze two types of fit between a brand and a social cause (disaster relief): brand value–cause fit and brand function–cause fit. Structural equation modeling is used to estimate the fit of the data with the proposed model.


Survey evidence from 370 millennial undergraduate students in the USA suggests that the two types of brand–cause fit have differential effects on attitude toward the brand and ad, which in turn influence brand equity.

Research implications/limitations

The research operationalizes brand–cause fit as a construct with two components: brand value–cause fit and brand function–cause fit. It tests these two types of fit and finds evidence for differential effects on consumer attitudes.

Practical implications

The findings offer practical considerations for managers about the importance of considering two types of brand–cause fit in selecting social causes and crafting effective corporate communications about the firm’s CSR initiatives.


Results suggest that it is possible for firms to craft desirable win–win–win strategies that build brand equity by investing in a strategic approach to CSR initiatives.



Guzmán, F. and Davis, D. (2017), "The impact of corporate social responsibility on brand equity: consumer responses to two types of fit", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 435-446.

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