University of Twente Student Theses


Using the right CSR communication strategy: The impact on consumer attitude and behavior

Schiefelbein, Korinna (2012) Using the right CSR communication strategy: The impact on consumer attitude and behavior.

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Abstract:Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an useful tool for companies to engage in environmental and social projects and is, moreover, an effective marketing tool which gains more and more popularity within companies. However, CSR communication is a difficult undertaking because it bears a variety of threats and opportunities. For this reason the right CSR communication strategy is essential to effectively influence consumer attitude and behavior. In this thesis two studies were conducted to, firstly, gain an insight into the actual status of CSR in the Netherlands and, secondly, to analyze how the degree of proactivity in a company’s CSR communication strategy influences consumer attitude and, finally, consumer behavior. In the study about the general insight about CSR in the Netherlands it was found that Dutch consumers have a positive attitude regarding CSR and are interested in this topic. They see companies, the government but also themselves in obligation to contribute in environmental and social causes. Dutch consumers state that they already have some knowledge about environmental and social topics but are also interested to get more information about these topics. The second study showed that a more reactive communication strategy compared to a more proactive communication strategy has got a more positive impact on consumer attitude and behavior because it reduces consumer skepticism and it increases the company’s image and the perceived intrinsic motives. Moreover, it partly reduces the consumers’ perceived extrinsic motives for the company’s engagement. This positive attitude showed to go along with positive consumer behavior like increase Word-of-Mouth (WoM) about the company in general as well as over its CSR engagements and the consumers’ purchase behavior. It was also found that consumer attitude towards the companies CSR communication was more positive when the project the company engages in fits with the company’s image. Due to the high interest and positive consumer attitude companies should start or increase their engagement in CSR. Due to the fact that a more reactive communication strategy has got better effects on consumer attitude and behavior, it is advised that companies should use this kind of communication strategy. Additionally, companies should try to provide an informational message rather than a commercial one to provide information for the consumers. Moreover, they should support a project which fits with the company’s image. Future research should conduct researches including the impact of communication source as well as the message content to analyze how these factors together with the degree of the proactivity of communication influence consumer attitude and behavior.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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