The present literature review aims to develop an in-depth understanding of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) role in improving the brand image, brand attitude and brand value of the business organizations in the global market. The literature review conducted demonstrates a critical analysis of the current knowledge in the context of the research topic by identifying the strengths and weakness in the available literature. In context of the research topic, the literature view addresses the following concepts that are, examining the CSR effects on brand image, brand attitude and brand value of the multinational organisations. The next topic addressed in the literature review is impact of CSR strategies on brand image and brand reputation in the context of the global market. This is followed by analysing the role of the CSR strategies and practices in improving the attitudes and willingness of the customers. At last, an understanding of the fundamental roles of CSR in developing positive brand image and enhancing brand value is undertaken in the literature review. The following hypothesis are analysed in detail for conducting the overall literature review from the above topics:
Global corporations are enhancing their awareness on their duties and obligations towards the societal welfare through incorporating CSR into their strategic aims and dobjectives. According to Herbert and Schantz (2007), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of business organisations can be defined as integration of social and environmental concerns in the operational activities for protecting the interests of the stakeholders. It is regarded as a significant part of the ‘triple bottom line’ strategy of multinational organisations that emphasizes on the importance of businesses to attain economic, social and environmental sustainability. The author stated that CSR activities of a MNC play a significant role in promoting its goodwill by communicating its social and environmental welfare activities across the world. The main strength of the literature is that it has effectively identified the significance of communicating the corporate responsibility conduct for organisations to improve their brand management. The literature has very-well addressed the importance of CSR communication to company’s stakeholders in enhancing its brand image. It has also emphasised on the importance of CSR communication through illustrating the case study of a multinational corporation, that is, Skanska AB Corporation. However, the literature has not effectively addressed the importance of brand management for organisations. It has mainly focused on strategies that can be used by an organisation in communicating CSR information to the stakeholders and placed less emphases on the impact of CSR on strengthening the brand image (Herbert and Schantz, 2007).
In the views and opinions of Wu (2014), CSR has a large impact on the brand image perceived by a customer of a global organisation. Businesses are recently emphasising on investing largely on CSR activities with the intention of developing a good brand image in the global market by fulfilling their social responsibilities. CSR has become a prominent factor in attaining Total Quality Management (TQM) through improving its operational effectiveness by attracting customer and retaining employees. The main strength of the literature reviewed is that it has incorporated the use of a business example of MOS Burger to demonstrate the perceived brand image in the mind of consumers of the corporations integrating CSR model. The literature does not provide an in-depth explanation of the impact of CSR on strengthening the brand image of an organisation. The literature is brief to provide an exhaustive analysis of the research topic (Wu, 2014).
As per the arguments proposed by Makasi et al (2014), business managers need to be pro-active in meeting the changing needs of its stakeholders for attaining a strong market position. This can be achieved by the brand managers operating in global scenario through meeting their baseline expectations associated with corporate social responsibility. The main strength of the literature review is that it has very well emphasised on incorporation of CSR into corporate branding. It has also presented the data collected from different organisations to explain the significance of CSR incorporation in strengthening the brand management. The main limitation of the literature reviewed is that it has mainly utilised quantitative data for explaining the significance of CSR on brand value of an organisation. It lacks detailed qualitative analysis about the topic in context (Makasi et al, 2014).
According to the views of Ganescu (2012), CSR activities enhance the brand value of an organisation through enabling it to attain sustainability. Corporate sustainability is achieved by multinational businesses through meeting effectively all the requirements of its stakeholders. The literature reviewed incorporates in-depth quantitative and qualitative information related to the topic in context. It has provided valuable insights into different concepts regarding the research topic such as significance of CSR in creating value through developing a sustainable business model and has effectively collected quantitative information to demonstrate the argument proposed in the literature. The main limitation of the literature is that it has not clearly emphasizes on the impact of CSR on brand management of organisations operating in global environment (Ganescu, 2012). The hypothesis proposed as per the respective research topic was that ‘CSR have large impact on the brand image, brand attitude and brand value of the multinational organisations’. The literature analysed in this context revealed that the hypothesis developed was true as CSR promotes goodwill about an organisation to the customers thus strengthening its brand image.
The corporate social responsibility strategies play a significant role in changing the minds and perceptions of customers about the product and services offered by an organisation. The impact of operational activities of a corporation on society and environment develop a positive or negative perception on the customer’s minds about a firm’s offering and thus has a huge influence on their purchase decision. Thus, it is necessary for business organisations to adopt responsible business practices through incorporation of CSR strategy in its operational framework. In this context, the author Ju Wu et al (2016) stated that responsible behaviour of a multinational organisation towards the environment and society in which it operates helps it to achieve customer loyalty. The literature has effectively addressed the impact of CSR on the purchase intention of the customers. It has highlighted the significance of adopting a CSR strategy for the multinational organisations in market planning to positively influence the purchase intention of its customers. The literature lacks in demonstrating the different CSR strategies that can be utilised by business organisations operation in global context to modify the purchase intention of the customers (Ju Wu et al, 2016).
According to Wu and Wang (2014), consumers worldwide are becoming largely concerned about the CSR activities carried out by an organisation. They are increasing their knowledge about the responsible practices adopted by an organisation for the betterment of society. The author is of the opinion that successful implementation of CSR policy would positively influence the consumers to purchase its product and thus attaining a competitive edge. The customers link psychologically to a brand if it appropriately meets its needs and expectations through the adoption of responsible business practices. The literature reviewed is quite advantageous in developing insights into the interconnection existing between brand image recognition, brand attitude with achieving customer satisfaction and buying willingness. This argument is well explained in the literature study through illustrating the case study of Starbucks. Starbucks has achieved brand commitment with its customers through the adoption of responsible business practices such as minimising the pollution, participating in the local community construction and community services. The limitation of the literature reviewed is that does not provide an overview regarding the different theoretical framework regarding CSR and customer loyalty can provide more depth into the impact of CSR strategies on buying willingness of customers (Wu and Wang, 2014).
In the views of Yueh Su et al (2015), CSR is directly related to the brand image of a company in customer’s mind. The literature has provided an exhaustive analysis regarding the influence of CSR strategies on the perceived image of a brand in customer’s mind. It has also provided a different perspective on the influence of CSR on customer purchase intention through illustrating that CSR impact on consumer purchase decision is also influenced by other tangible factors such as price, quality and convenience. The author is of the opinion that the effects of CSR on consumer purchase intention are highly dependent on the marketing communication strategies adopted by a brand. The fact has been well depicted in the literature through demonstrating the example of Taiwan food sector. The study recommends that the food sector of Taiwan should incorporate CSR into the marketing strategies such as emphasising on green procurement to positive influence the customer purchase intention. The literature, however, lacks a detailed explanation regarding the importance of CSR strategies in marketing communication for developing a positive brand image in the customers mind (Yueh Su et al, 2015).
Kojo and Kingsley (2014) provided more in-depth into the impact of CSR strategies on customer’s purchase behaviour through business leaders are placing more focus on protecting their brand reputation through achieving sustainability by making conscious efforts to maintain their corporate social responsibilities. The literature has incorporated the theoretical framework of social identity theory for demonstrating the fact that customers have a positive brand image of the company that is more engaged in promoting their social development such as enhancing their own self-consistency and self-esteem. The literature lacks in application of extensive theories for illustrating the interconnection between customer loyalty and socially responsible practices of a brand (Kojo and Kingsley, 2014). The hypothesis developed for the respective topic from the overall discussion can be restated as ‘CSR strategies and practices exert a large influence on the attitudes and willingness of customers’. Thus, it can be concluded from different literatures related with the topic that CSR positively influence customer purchase intention on their proper integration into its marketing communication strategies.
Multinational corporations around the world are placing more focus on strengthening their corporate branding through achieving social quality in comparison to technical and functional attributes of their products and services. The businesses across the world are aiming to gain social quality through integrating CSR strategies in their operational activities. In this regard, the author Sahu and Pratihari (2015) stated that an effective CSR strategy in global context for achieving social sustainability is stakeholder engagement. Strategic approach to CSR in the views of author refers to implement exceptional efforts and resources to develop a shared value for all the stakeholders of an organisation. The literature has also emphasised the importance of ethical practices in an organisation as a strategic approach to CSR. Ethical practices for a business organisation refer to its moral obligations that it should undertake for promoting societal welfare. Thus, the author in the overall literature has defined strategic CSR is meeting all the ethical and moral obligations of a global corporation towards public welfare and aligning it with their strategic objectives and gaols. Corporate marketing through integration of CSR activities is very beneficial for the global companies to achieve a strategic approach to CSR. The literature lacks a well-illustration of the role of corporate communication in achieving a strategic approach to CSR (Sahu and Pratihari, 2015).
Kercher (2007) has examined the impact of globalisation and international business on corporate social responsibility strategies of business corporations. The author evaluated the argument that ‘whether the global corporations have a social obligations towards stakeholders or only towards shareholders’. The literature states that there is increasingly debate around the CSR activities of multinational companies as they can largely influence the domestic and international policies of the communities in which they operate their business functions. The jurisdictions of the countries are developing and implementing rules ad legalisations for MNC’s relating to the areas of human rights, environment protection, health and safety. This is due to large size of these corporations that can have a large negative impact on the societal welfare of the communities in which they operate. MNC’s have to comply with all these legislative rules for developing a positive brand image in the mind of all its stakeholders. The main limitation of the literature reviewed is that does not illustrate the different CSR strategies that can be adopted by multinational corporations for complying with different legal rules and regulations existing in the global context (Kercher, 2007).
According to Mujtaba and Cavico (2013), businesses operating in a global environment besides acting legally and morally for achieving their profit motive also need to emphasise on the notion of social responsibility. The author has emphases that business organisations can undertake a strategic approach to CSR through their active involvement in social causes, charities and civic life. The literature has depicted that resolving complex social problems pertaining in the communities where MNC’s operate can act as a significant potential opportunity for the businesses to attain competitive advantage. The active involvement of multinational companies in societal infrastructure development, technological innovation, education and health care will certainly enhance their profitability through raising the living standard of the community people where they carry out their business functions. The author however has not emphasized in the literature about the various strategic approach that can be taken by business mangers operating in a global context to demonstrating their social responsibility to the public (Mujtaba and Cavico, 2013).
Ismail (2009) argued that CSR can be regarded as strategic approach undertaken by business corporations to conduct their operations in ethical, societal friendly and beneficial to community development. The author has also utilised the various concepts obtained from utilitarian, managerial and relational CSR theories to explain the reason for CSR becoming an international concern for business managers. All these CSR theories emphasises on enhancing social performance for business firms to maximise their profitability. Business organisations operating in a global environment can integrate CSR into their strategic approach by obtaining an effective collaboration between business, government and civil society. The literature, however, does not provide a comprehensive review regarding the different CSR strategies that can be adopted by business for building bra d image in the global context (Ismail, 2009). The hypothesis developed in this context can be restated on the basis of the literature analysis as ‘CSR strategies have a huge positive impact on the brand image and brand reputation in the global market context’.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives undertaken by an organisation are the vital determinants of its brand image in the global market. Tustin and Jongh (2008) stated that corporate citizenship of an organisation act as its vital intangible asset. CSR plays a fundamental role in enhancing the ethical value of a brand in customer’s mind. This, it is vitally important for businesses to obtain a complete understanding of growing attitudes of customers towards ethical purchasing. The main limitation of the literature is that the study has been carried out in context of South Africa and thus its wide acceptance in the international context can be questioned (Tustin and Jongh, 2008). The research study conducted by Chu and Lin (2012) emphasised on the concept of integrating CSR in the marketing strategies of a global corporation for appropriately conveying corporate values to the consumers. However, the study has only been undertaken in the context of cosmetic industry of China and therefore cannot be successfully applied in the global scenario (Chu and Lin, 2012).
Fioravante (2009) has emphasised on the concept of corporate philanthropy as a strategic perspective for global organisations to incorporate socially responsible business practices. The author has recommended the adoption of corporate philanthropy as a strategic option for business firms in developing marketing strategies for achieving the public trust regarding their products and services. The research has only undertaken the CSR role in developing brand image for organisations through conducting philanthropic activities (Fioravante, 2009). As per the views of Visser (2011), the main aim of a business organisation should be to serve society through offering them high quality and safe products promoting the ecosystem development. The business organisations should not emphasise merely on attaining profitability but place focus on protecting the interests of all its stakeholders to become socially responsible. The research study has not effectively addressed the different CSR approaches that should be adopted by a global corporation in developing its positive brand value (Visser, 2011). The hypothesis developed in this context can be restated as ‘CSR have a large fundamental role in developing positive brand image and enhancing brand value or reputation’.
The analysis and evaluation of different literature related with the research topic revealed that CSR activities of a corporation have a large impact in improving the brand image, brand attitude and brand value of the business organizations in the global market. It has been discovered from the overall literature review that business organisations operating in global scenario need to develop proper awareness of their responsibilities towards community and the environment in which they operate. Their business functions should not have any adverse impacts on society and environment but should lead to their development. This facilities business firms to positively influence the customers’ mind regarding their products and services. The different hypotheses are developed for examining the research problem in detail. These hypotheses are discovered to be true in all aspects after critically analysing and examining the different literatures available in the context of research topic.
Chu, S. and Lin, J. 2012. Do Chinese Consumers Care About Corporate Social Responsibility? Asian Journal of Business Research 2 (1), 69-91.
Fioravante, P.L. 2009. Corporate Philanthropy: A Strategic Marketing Consideration. Journal of Applied Business and Economics 11(3).
Ganescu, M.C. 2012. Corporate social responsibility, a strategy to create and consolidate sustainable businesses. Theoretical and Applied Economics XIX (11), pp. 91-106.
Herbert, C. and Schantz, C. 2007. Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility – Brand management. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies 12 (2), pp.4-11.
Ismail, M. 2009. Corporate Social Responsibility And Its Role In Community Development: An International Perspective. The Journal of International Social Research 2(9), pp. 200-209.
Ju Whu, T. and Tang, H. 2016. Would corporate social responsibility affect consumers’ attitudes towards brand and purchase behavior? Buyer-seller guanxi as the moderator. Social Sciences 53, pp. 272-287.
Kercher, K. 2007. Corporate Social Responsibility: Impact of globalisation and international business. Corporate Governance eJournal.
Kojo, B. and Kingsley. 2014. Corporate Social Responsibility a Key For Building A Strong Brand In Ghana. International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management II (8), pp. 1-14.
Makasi, A. et al. 2014. The Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility (Csr) on Corporate Brand Positioning. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences 5 (20), 2597-2607.
Mujtaba, B.G. and Cavico, F.J. 2013. Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Model for Global Firms. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics 10(1), pp. 58-74.
Sahu, S. and Pratihari, S. 2015. Strategic CSR, Corporate Identity, Branding and Marketing: Review & Comments. Rev. Integr. Bus. Econ. Res. 4(3), pp. 121-140.
Tustin, D.H. and Jongh, D. 2008. Ethical consumerism as a key consideration for future brand strategy development in South Africa. Southern African Business Review 12 (3), 24-49.
Visser, W. 2011. The age of responsibility: CSR 2.0 and the new DNA of Business. Journal of Business Systems, Governance and Ethics 5(3), pp. 7-22.
Wu, S. 2016. The Interference Effect of Perceived CSR on Relationship Model of Brand Image. International Journal of Business and Management 10 (10), pp. 35-47.
Wu, S. and Wang, W. 2014. Impact of CSR Perception on Brand Image, Brand Attitude and Buying Willingness: A Study of a Global Café. International Journal of Marketing Studies 6 (6), pp. 43-56.
Yueh Su, Y. et al. 2015. Does ‘doing good’ always lead to ‘doing better’? Consumer purchase intentions to corporate social responsibility. Management, Knowledge and Learning.
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