We examine the role of communication in stimulating consumer attitudes and buying behavior regarding corporate social responsibility (CSR). We review the literature on communicating CSR to consumers through (1) messages constructed and verified by the company (such as product claims and corporate advertising), (2) messages constructed by the company, but verified by a third party (such as disclosures), and (3) messages constructed and verified by a third party (such as independent consumer guides and publicity). Communication messages constructed and verified by the company can be quite effective in persuading consumers, if they are communicated in a credible way. The latter can, for example, be done by including specific behaviors and/or outcomes in the message. Messages constructed by the firm, but verified by a third party tend to have a higher credibility, but risk containing either too little information or too much. Finally, messages constructed and verified by a third party can be seen as highly credible, but can sometimes be seen as merely PR. In addition, both messages focusing on deontological responsibility (the firm’s motives and behavior), and messages focusing on consequentialist responsibility (the outcomes of the firm’s behavior) seem important to consumers. The results offer suggestions on how to communicate about CSR to consumers. The chapter provides the first comprehensive overview of the literature on communication about CSR to consumers.
|Title of host publication||Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: perspectives and practice|
|Editors||R. Tench, W. Sun, B. Jones|
|Place of Publication||UK|
|Publisher||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2014|
|Name||Critical Studies on Corporate Responsibility, Governance and Sustainability|
Berens, G., & Popma, W. (2014). Creating consumer confidence in CSR communications. In R. Tench, W. Sun, & B. Jones (Eds.), Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: perspectives and practice (pp. 383-403). (Critical Studies on Corporate Responsibility, Governance and Sustainability). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.