Communication strategies for enhancing perceived fit in the CSR sponsorship context

Yong Seok Sohn

Kyung Hee University

Jin K. Han

Singapore Management University and Kyung Hee University

Sung-Hack Lee

Kyung Hee University

Introduction

Engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly common business practice globally and across industries. In particular, a popular form of CSR initiative has been corporate philanthropy,1 where a company supports a social cause or non-profit organisation through sponsorships – typically in the form of profit and/or resource donations (Varandarajan & Menon 1988; Chang & Lee 2011). Through such philanthropic initiatives, organisations can positively enhance their corporate image among their stakeholders, which in turn can yield tangible returns (e.g. higher profitability) and/or intangible benefits (e.g. positive attitude towards the firm and its brands; enhanced loyalty). Accordingly, much of the extant literature has focused on studying the robustness of CSR programmes on consumer responses under various contexts, including the sponsoring firm’s corporate image among consumers in times of crisis or negative information (Brown & Dacin 1997; Murray & Vogel 1997; Folkes & Kamins 1999; Sen & Bhattachararya 2001; Forehand & Grier 2003; Hill & Moran 2011).