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Sustainability and Sociallyresponsible business: Consumer’s response to Cause-related Marketing campaigns fora sustainable future *Vivek Aggarwal, Research Scholar, Faculty ofManagement Studies, Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar. Email id: vivek.

[email protected] **Prof. (Dr.) Vinod Kumar Singh, Professor and formerHead and Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar.

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                                                                                                                            Abstract Many researchers have studied the concept of sustainabledevelopment and socially responsible businesses. But the main reason forcompanies engaged in social responsibility practices is as a driver of valueadded in monetary terms. In this context, Cause-related Marketing (CrM) hasbecome one of the most important strategic tools for fulfilling theirobligations towards society being a part of corporate social responsibility andalso to get consumer attention in return by differentiating themselves andtheir products in the competitive markets. But it is very difficult for consumersto judge the fairness of a CrM campaign supporting a social cause.

The purposeof this research was to investigate the understanding about CrM campaignscarried out for promotion to reveal the emotional sides of Indian consumers andits effect on consumer’s support to a social cause and in turn on consumer’spurchase intention. On the basis of review of literature the researchers have drawnthe following hypothesis that there is a significant association between CrM andconsumer’s purchase intention. A survey was carried out through a selfadministered questionnaire in the urban areas of Ghaziabad and Noida among 200 malesand females students technically known as millennials (generation Y). Furtherdata analysis was carried out using suitable statistical technique like hierarchicalregression analysis and it has been found that effect of cause-relatedmarketing campaigns on purchase intention of consumers is significantlymoderated by consumer cause involvement. These results can be helpful for companies to formulate strategicapproaches to promote their products for a sustainable future through consumerparticipation. Keywords: Cause-related marketing, Corporate social responsibility, Purchase intention, Sustainability.    IntroductionCause-related marketing (CrM) is integration of social responsibilitydimension of business and for-profit corporate strategy. Its main feature isthat there is link between donation, product sale and consumer action (Galan–Ladero et al.

2013).  CrM can influencevarious business functions and can be helpful in creating a sustainable andsocially responsible business. Although, relationship between socialresponsibility and profit cannot be well established, but with growing interest of companies towards social responsibilitypractices like CrM the monetary benefit can be a stimulus for it. However,social responsibility has become a necessity for businesses, because ofimportance attached to social responsibility efforts by key stakeholders. There are many examples of cause-related marketing activities andprograms in India.  Like through its education andenvironment sustainability program “Shiksha” P&G commits a donation for every purchase since year 2005.

Many of the socialresponsibility programs conducted by companies like Marico (Ek Kadam Pragiti kiAur), HUL (Swachh Aadat, SwachhBharat), Colgate Palmolive (Education Scholarship) changed the fate of many bytheir active involvement in socially beneficial activities and understandingtheir corporate social responsibilities well (Kureshi & Thomas 2014).Cause involvement identifies the personalimportance of a social cause for an individual. It is degree to which consumersfeels a cause to be personally significant. In fact it can be act as a measureto evaluate whether the CrM campaignis a profit oriented or altruistic act and which can significantly affects itsinfluence on consumer attitudes and behaviours towards the brand and can affectconsumer’s purchase intention (Hajjat 2003; Patelet al. 2016; Grau & Folse 2008).

There is strong link between educated youth and sustainable economicdevelopment (Foundation 2017), that’s why this study focuses on CrM campaignssupporting the social cause education. In this regard, the main objective ofthis paper was to investigate the understanding about CrM campaigns by Indianconsumers and its effect on consumer’s involvement with a social cause and inturn on consumer’s purchase intention. Present study focuses on young consumersof age group 20 years -35 years belonging to Y generation also referred asmillennials (Cone Communications 2015).ConceptualFoundationCorporate social responsibility (CSR) as a form of corporatephilanthropy has been in practice since as early as the late 1800s (Adkins 1999) . In today’s competitive eracompanies must adopt new strategies to gain sustainable competitive advantage bothat local and international level, and become more accountable for businessexpenditures, CrM can be one of such strategy which can be helpful in achievingthis. Since first commercialCrM campaign by American express in 1983 there is growing interest about CrMboth by companies and among the researchers in various countries (Adkins et al. 2010; Patel et al.

2016; Sung & Lee2016; Wymer & Sargeant 2006; Hou et al. 2008; Lafferty & Goldsmith2005) and can refer as “a method offormulating, implementing and promoting activities that involves a promise froma organization to support financially a chosen cause once consumers haveinteraction in revenue-providing exchanges that satisfy structure andindividual objectives.” (Varadarajan & Menon 1988)Cause involvement hasboth direct and indirect effect on purchase intention (Grau & Folse 2008; Patel et al. 2016; Hajjat2003; Webb & Mohr 1998). If theconsumers cause involvement is high, it increases effect of CrM on attitude-purchaseintention link as it helps them to easily recognize even the unfamiliar sponsorbrand. Consumers having high cause involvement give more importance to socialcause supporting campaigns and tend to make large donations to social cause (Hajjat 2003).

According toGrau & Folse (2007) consumer choose to donate frequently to the socialcauses related with their personal lives and they consider this association asan important reason to donate. But support of consumers for the CrM campaignhaving low cause involvement may be due to familiar partnering brand (Grau & Folse 2008; Bigne-Alcaniz et al. 2010).

Response of consumertowards a product in form of recommendation to others, enquiry about theproduct or to purchase may be termed as purchase intention. Purchase intention indicatesthe possibility that a purchaser will purchase a specific item; the higher thepurchase intention, the more prominent the buy likelihood (Patel et al. 2016; Aggarwal & Singh 2016).The consumers that were highly associated with socialcauses are likely to have higher positive attitudes towards the brand and thereis a stronger purchase intention among generation Y towards the productassociated with a social cause (Cone Communications 2015). It’s been observed that the successful CrM campaignsled to drastic increase in sales. Consumers show raised purchase intentions forthe product identified with the cause–brand partnership after they feel thatthe cause has importance to their lives. On the basis of review of literature the researchershave drawn the following hypotheses –Hypotheses 1:                    There is a significant association between onlineCrM campaign and purchase intention. Hypotheses 2:                    CrMhas a stronger positive influence on purchase intention when consumers havehigher cause involvement.

MeasuresBased on the literature review a research framework is developed whichstudies CrM as an independent variable and its effect on causeinvolvement wasinvestigated. Also effect of cause involvement on purchase intentions of consumer was studied.  H1 Consumer’s Purchase Intention   Cause-related Marketing Campaigns   Cause Involvement   H2 Figure1: Research FrameworkFor this study therespondents were make familiar with CrM at the beginning of the survey byproviding them with the definition of CrM.  The campaign selected for the present studywas by Procter and Gamble Co. (P) as it is one of the oldest andcontinuous campaigns (running since 2005) by an FMCG company and supports theeducation of children a way for economic sustainability.In this company promises todonate a certain amount towards the education project “Shiksha” as whenconsumer purchase any one of the company product (like Arial, Pampers, Whisper,and Pantene) associated with the campaign (La Ferle et al. 2013) .Cluster sampling was used totake sample from the population comprises of young consumers of Ghaziabad andNoida which are the part of conglomerate national capital region (NCR) of India,from this population using cluster sampling a sample of 250 was taken.

Total 250questionnaires were distributed to male and female students of universities andcolleges of age group 20 -35 (generation Y or millennial generation).  Out of 250, 197 questionnaires were found to be useful for studygiving response rate of 79%.  Astructured questionnaire is used for data collection. Items related to CrM campaigns are adopted from various studies (Sin?i? ?ori? & Dropulji? 2015; Rosset al.

1992)also for measuring consumers’ purchase intention scale was adopted fromprevious researches (Hou et al. 2008; Duffett 2015). The responses were recorded on a 5 point Likert scale with answersranging from “1=strongly disagree” to “5=strongly agree”.  The validity and reliability of scale was measuredthrough Cronbach’s Alpha and KMO and Bartlett’s test of sphericity which was0.890 and 0.865 respectively, all these values can be considered highlyreliable (Field, 2009).

Results and discussionDemographics of the Respondents: In the sample of 196 respondents comprises of students, there were Table1: Demographic Profile of Respondents Demographic Variables n % Gender Male 110 55.8 Female 87 44.2 Age Group ( in years) 20 to 25   104 52.9 25 to 30   70     35.3 30 to 35   23     11.

8 Educational Qualification Graduate   75 38 Post Graduate    65 33 Doctorate    33     16.8 Under Graduate    12   6.1 B. Ed.    12       6.

1  Correlation Analysis: Correlation analysis of results (Table 2) shows that CrM and purchaseintention are positively correlated to each other. Level of significance ofthis relation is .000 which showed that the relation was highly significantp< .01 and value of Pearson correlation between CrM and purchase intentionis r = .691. This value is not very close to +1 but is very positive.

Itsshowing that with the increase in CrM, level of purchase intention will alsoincrease. The relationship between CrM and cause involvement was significant asp <.01, value of Pearson correlation r=.708 which was positive and close to+1. Similarly, relationship between cause involvement and purchase intentionwas r=.

751 which was also positive and significant as p=.000 which is <.01.Thus, with increase in CrM the cause involvement increases and with increase incause involvement purchase intention will increase.   Table 2: Correlation of CrM, Purchase Intention and  Cause Involvement   CI CrM PI CI Pearson Correlation 1 .708** .751** Sig.

(2-tailed)   .000 .000 N 197 197 197 CrM Pearson Correlation .708** 1 .691** Sig.

(2-tailed) .000   .000 N 197 197 197 PI Pearson Correlation .751** .691** 1 Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .

000   N 197 197 197 **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Moderation EffectTo test the hypothesis that the purchase intention are a function ofmultiple factors, and more specifically whether cause involvement moderates therelationship between CrM campaign and purchase intention, a hierarchical multipleregression analysis was conducted. In the first step, two variables wereincluded: CrM campaign and cause involvement.

These variables accounted for a significantamount of variance in consumer’s purchase intention, R2 = .615, F (2,194) = 154., p < .001.

 Results showedthe variables had positive impact on the purchase intention towardscause-related products.  Therefore H1 is accepted.To avoid potentially problematic high multicollinearity with theinteraction term, the variables were centered and an interaction term between CrMcampaign and cause involvement was created (Aiken & West, 1991). Next, theinteraction term between CrM campaign and cause involvement was added to theregression model, which accounted for a significant proportion of the variancein consumer’s purchase intention, ?R2 = .01, ?F(1, 193) =5.209, b =.

0175, 95% CI -.0337 -.0014, t(193) =2.14, p =  .

0335. Figure2: Interaction plotExamination of theinteraction plot showed an enhancing effect that as CrM campaign and causeinvolvement increased, consumer’s purchase intention increased. At low CrMeffect, consumer’s purchase intentions were similar for consumers with low,average, or high involvement. Consumers with high cause involvement had the highestpurchase intention. Thus moderating influence of cause involvement on therelationship of the CrM campaign and purchase towards cause-related productswas confirmed. Therefore, H2 is accepted.Limitationsand managerial Implications Despite the interesting findings present study has certain limitations.

First, this research has study responses of students belonging to generation Yonly and due to the limited sample size research findings may not begeneralized. Future studies needed to examine the role of demographic factors suchas income level and education and other independent variables like cause brandfit, skepticism , brand loyalty on purchase intention of consumer. The findings of this studycan be directly or indirectly used by companies to CrM campaigns can be helpful in enhancing the causeinvolvement of a consumer and increase purchase intention of consumer.  ConclusionSociety today needs businesses to support good causes. As the popularityof CrM increases, it is important for marketers to understand why the responseof consumers about CrM campaigns differs. Involvement of consumers with type ofcause supported by the campaign can be a reason. The current study shows thatcause involvement have a positive relation with purchase decision of consumersand CrM campaigns can be helpful in enhancing cause involvement.

Thus companiesmust extend support to causes having high consumer involvement education may besuch a cause. There are many opportunities with companies to enhance theirfinancial support to education in India. Further research may be done to foundthe effects CrM has on the long-term sustainability of the nonprofitorganizations.References

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