NEW YORK: Advertising intensity is a powerful driver for the success of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, according to new research published in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

Authors Mahabubur Rahman (Rennes School of Business), M. Ángeles Rodríguez-Serrano (University of Seville), and Mary Lambkin (University College Dublin) examined the CSR programs of 264 companies in the S&P 500 for their study.

One of the key findings: “The greater the advertising expenditure was, the stronger was the relationship between CSR activities and marketing performance.”

More specifically, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Marketing Performance: The Moderating Role of Advertising Intensity provides evidence that “companies engaging in community and environmental CSR activities reap the benefit of their investment in the form of improved market share.

“Customers viewed CSR activities positively and rewarded such activities by buying more products and services from these companies.”

The academics continued: “The findings also show that the relationship between CSR activities and market share was moderated positively by the extent of advertising intensity.

“Advertising lessens the information gap between companies and their customer, making customers aware not only of the companies’ products and services, but also of other initiatives, such as CSR.”

One additional contribution to the body of CSR research literature: “Companies do not have to advertise their environmental and community CSR activities.

“Even if they just advertise their products, the advertisements will create awareness about the company itself, which will encourage consumers to seek out more information about the company’s other activities, including CSR.

“As the customers become aware of the company’s CSR initiatives, they tend to buy more of its products, thereby positively influencing marketing performance.”

“Corporate Social Responsibility and Marketing Performance: The Moderating Role of Advertising Intensity” appears as part of a special What We Know About Corporate Social Responsibility Messaging section of JAR.

Sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by WARC staff