• Self-referencing significantly mediates the relationship between self-motives and purchase intention, moderated by a consumer’s perception toward a business’s role in society.
  • Congruent values between self-motive and perception of corporate social responsibility initiatives can increase self-referencing, which can result in increased purchase intention.
  • Marketers should find ways to appeal to both status consumption motives and consumers’ perceptions of a business’s societal role.


Companies are communicating increasingly about their efforts in the realm of corporate social responsibility (CSR; Tata and Prasad, 2015). These initiatives have become a mainstream marketing strategy (Eberle, Berens, and Li, 2013). Among Americans, 83 percent say they wish brands would support social causes.1 Consumers further respond that they would be more willing to purchase products from companies that engage with CSR initiatives (Sen, Du, and Bhattacharya, 2016).