Reasons for this can be multinational corporations’ increasing influence on world economy as well as scandals revealing horrible working conditions in different industries. In spite of the fact that the demand for CSR is growing, there has always been critics. The most influential critic is Noble Prize winner Milton Friedman, who claims CSR to be a waste of stockholders’ money. However, several articles claim, opposite Friedman, that CSR rather increases a company’s financial performance in the long run. These claims have made us curious about in what way CSR is related to a company’s performance.
Moreover, it has led to us wanting to find out how CSR can influence customer perceptions on a product or service offering. Conclusions –All the initiatives gave a positive influence on the respondents’ perceptions, but the ones resulting in the most positive changes of the perceptions and willingness to buy were social responsible business practises, cause-related marketing and corporate philanthropy, which are initiatives where the company are doing the largest effort instead of just encouraging others to make an effort.
The respondents answered that they trust the companies’ information about CSR to some extent, but also think a third party should scrutinise the companies’ activities and inform. The most favourable channel for CSR information was from environmental organisations, government organisations and the third party web media. Therefore it seems like the respondents value that the companies provide information, but are not too forward and pushing the information on them by for example advertisements.
Keywords : CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility, Cause promotion, Cause-related marketing, Corporate social marketing, Corporate philanthropy, Community volunteering, Social responsible business practices. Introduction: CSR is today a frequently used concept, as companies to a larger extent are held accountable for what is happening in the society. The company should also inform the stakeholders about their CSR activities in an appropriate way, in order to capitalise from all possible benefits.
In order to make a trustworthy impression and gain the most benefits, the choice of CSR activity and way of communication is crucial for the company, and therefore the perceptions of the consumers are very important to know more about and understand. In the last decade tendencies towards a more social aware community have been strong. In itself these trends are nothing that is particularly new. People have always preached for problems like public health, wildlife protection, prevention of child labor etc.
What is different now is that companies to a larger extent are held accountable for what is happening in our society. Companies that engage in CSR activities are likely to have different motives for doing so. Many researches claim that corporate social responsibility originally consists of activities that a company performs out of commitment and duty. However, there are also commercial motives for CSR activities. For example CSR activities may result in advantages when it comes to receiving funding, recruiting new employees, cost reductions etc.
To capitalise from all possible advantages it is crucial for the company to communicate their CSR work in an appropriate way. Theoretical Framework: Types of CSR Activities: a) Cause promotion Cause promotion is often done in the way that the company provide funds, contribute financially or with any other resource, with the objective to increase awareness, support fundraising or participation, or to recruit volunteers for a specific cause. In this initiative persuasive communications are important, to create concern and to persuade people to contribute or participate to support the cause.
In successful campaigns use of motivating messages and the choice of effective media channels are crucial. They also make use of publicity, printed materials, special events, web sites, advertising, featuring the logo and key message of the company and those who represent the cause. Further methods are employee involvement, messages on product labelling and to provide store space for promotions. Many of the potential benefits are marketing related, like strengthened brand positioning and preference, increased traffic and consumer loyalty.