Nav: Home

Do consumers think products are better when companies donate to charity?

March 31, 2015

Does hearing about a company's charitable donations raise your opinion of their products? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, corporate social responsibility leads consumers to believe products are better quality.

"Corporate social responsibility can lead consumers to believe that the products of companies engaged in socially responsible activities are better performing. We attribute this to a 'benevolent halo effect' where positive attitudes toward a company translate into positive beliefs about the company's products," write authors Alexander Chernev and Sean Blair (both Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University).

In four studies, the authors tested the impact of corporate social responsibility on consumer perceptions of product quality. In one study, consumers rated red wine as tasting better when told about a winery's charitable donation to the American Heart Association. In other studies, consumers thought various products such as running shoes, tooth whiteners, and hair loss treatments performed better when told the companies donated to charity.

However, the benevolent halo effect was diminished when a company advertised its corporate social responsibility efforts. Advertising may not be the best approach for companies to inform customers about their charitable activities. Social media and public relations may be more effective in convincing consumers of the benevolent nature of a company's actions and thereby increase the positive impact of corporate social responsibility on the perceived performance of a company's products.

"Doing good can indeed translate into doing well. Contrary to the popular view among many executives that corporate social responsibility is unlikely to benefit their company, our findings suggest that in addition to benefiting society, corporate social responsibility can contribute to a company's bottom line by improving consumer evaluations of their products," the authors conclude.
-end-
Alexander Chernev and Sean Blair. "Doing Well by Doing Good: The Benevolent Halo of Corporate Social Responsibility." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2015. For more information, contact Alexander Chernev or visit http://ejcr.org/.

University of Chicago Press Journals

Related Consumer Research Articles:

Special issue explores consumer access and power
A special issue from the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing explores the definition of consumer access and consumer power with some insights being prophetic as it relates to access during the current global health crisis.
Want to stop consumer hoarding in times of crisis?
Consumer stockpiling and hoarding took center stage in recent months as the COVID-19 virus has spread around the world, and with it, panic buying on the part of millions.
Flavor research for consumer protection
In 2013, the German Stiftung Warentest found harmful benzene in drinks with cherry flavor.
Boosting the impact of consumer research in the world
The authors urge consumer researchers to break their self-imposed boundaries in order to broaden their impact, lest they become irrelevant to non-academic marketing stakeholders and cede influence to non-marketing academic disciplines.
Credit counseling may help reduce consumer debt
By the end of fourth quarter 2018, total household debt in the United States reached a new high of $13.54 trillion.
Research: Religion affects consumer choices on specialty foods
People with strong religious beliefs are more likely to buy fat-free, sugar-free or gluten-free foods than natural or organic foods, according to new research that could influence the marketing of those specialty food products.
Retailers can manipulate consumer regret to beat competitors
Markdown retailers can survive the entry of an everyday low price retailer into a highly competitive market by manipulating price, product availability, and the regret consumers feel when they pay too much or wait till a product is unavailable to buy it, according to a new study.
Consumer sleep technology is no substitute for medical evaluation
According to a position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), consumer sleep technology must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and rigorously tested if it is intended to diagnose or treat sleep disorders.
Consumer choices for the climate
The gift-giving season is upon us, and perhaps you're wondering how to give gifts that won't wreck the climate.
Surveiling the consumer for loyalty and profit
Surveillance may be a dirty word when it comes to domestic politics, but understanding what interests the consumer and how technology may provide insights is a legitimate concern of retailers.
More Consumer Research News and Consumer Research Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.