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Corporate Societal
Marketing: A Promising
Form of Corporate Social
Responsibility
Paul N. Bloom
Kenan-Flagler Business School
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Basic Argument

Among the many social responsibility
initiatives a company can pursue,
corporate societal marketing programs
deserve close attention, as they can
differentiate your brand in the eyes of
(skeptical) consumers and enhance your
bottom line, while also improving social
welfare.
Agenda
Review trends in “corporate societal
marketing”
 Discuss why it can work
 Cover the implications for marketers
 Highlight the biggest implementation
challenges

Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and
environmental (green)
programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and
environmental (green)
programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and
sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and
environmental (green)
programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and environmental
programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
(green)
Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and
environmental
(green) programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and
environmental (green)
programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and
environmental (green)
programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and
environmental (green)
programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
Statement of Ethics
Corporate Societal Marketing

Marketing initiatives that seek to differentiate a
brand/company through social involvement
 Cause-related marketing
 Corporate social marketing
 Strategic philanthropy and sponsorship
 Community relations projects
 Sustainable development and
environmental (green)
programs
 Economic development programs
 Quality/safety improvement programs
 Self-regulation initiatives (e.g., ethics codes)
 Consciousness raising
Outlook for CSM

Promises to become more prevalent
 Hard
to differentiate brands through better
product features, better service, cleanliness,
or more clever and visible advertising.

Therefore need to turn to:
price (i.e., Wal-Mart) or
 pulling on heart strings to create affinity and limit
skepticism
 CSM may do this better than CRM (and loyalty
programs) or sports sponsorships
 Examples: Newman’s Own, Whole Foods,
Starbuck’s

What CSM Can Do

Can improve social welfare
 Through
the program itself
 Through helping nonprofits be more effective
Can improve corporate social reputation
 Can improve brand image and equity
 Can improve employee loyalty and service
 Can improve brand sales and profits

Corporate
Employee
Corporate
Social
Loyalty and
Profits
Initiatives
Service
Nonprofit
.
Societal
Corporate
Brand
Brand
Social
Welfare
Social
Image and
Sales
Reputation
Equity
Initiatives
Corporate
Marketing
Initiatives
How CSM Does What It Does



All marketing initiatives are designed to create more
favorable beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors
toward brands
Compared to other actions, adding social content to an
initiative may create stronger changes in beliefs, etc. by
getting consumers to weight “style of marketing” more
positively and strongly in evaluating a brand than other
functional and image attributes
It may do this whether the cause-brand fit is strong or
weak
Exposure to
Marketing Initiative
Amount of Social
Content of
Initiative
Degree of Fit of
Initiative with
Brand
Judgments/Feelings:
Beliefs/Weights Given
to Initiative & Other
Attributes
Brand Attitude
Brand Purchase
Intention
Brand Purchase
Behavior
More Specifically…

Consumers have “persuasion knowledge”
 They
are always trying to figure out what marketers
are up to


High levels of skepticism
Reward what they like (Attitude toward Ad a strong predictor
of Attitude toward the Brand)
 Hence,
“style of marketing” becomes an important
attribute in evaluating a brand

When it’s social it may get weighted more heavily and
positively than when it’s more conventional.


Also, halo effects on other functional and image attributes
When it’s a good fit, it may be better or worse, depending on
consumer feelings about sincerity
Pilot Study Demonstrating Effect



Asked consumers to rank eight different
“profiles” of a beer brand, where they were
varied systematically based on container type,
price, calories, protein, and type of sponsorship
(2 levels of each).
Can infer how much they weight these attributes
based on the rankings
Some of the participants ranked a brand that
had a social sponsorship as an option and
others had a sports sponsorship as an option
12 ounce Bottle
$5 per 6 pack
150 calories per serving
Fortified with 1.5 grams of Protein per serving
Sponsor of the Budweiser Designated Driver Program
RANK IS: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (no ties
please)
Conjoint Results
Budweiser part-worths
0.15
0.1
Mean
0.05
0
HF-S
LF-S
HF-C
LF-C
-0.05
-0.1
-0.15
Type of Sponsorship
“Designated Driver” and “Help Kids Read” >
NASCAR and ABC Family Movie
A high fit social cause will lift the ranking of a profile
equivalently to a 50 cent price cut per 6 pack.
Implications for Managers



Look for social causes as a way to differentiate
yourself
Avoid really low fit social causes, but lower fit
may work better if it is distinctive and credible
In addition to differentiability, pay attention to
how substantial the market is that cares about
the cause
 May
require a more subtle approach if not substantial
 Examples in the Green Marketing context
Green Marketing Strategy Matrix
Low
Differentiability
on Greenness
Low
LEAN GREEN
Substantiality of
Green Market
Segments
High
DEFENSIVE
Substantiality of GREEN
Green Market
Segments
High
Differentiability
on Greenness
SHADED
GREEN
EXTREME
GREEN
Implementation Challenges

Making your efforts be perceived as credible and
distinctive



Need a portfolio of causes


Avoid being seen as a “tool” of associations and big companies
(although working with their social programs is fine)
Strike out on your own with alliances with community groups
Since some causes may be risky (e.g., responsible drinking,
tobacco control), look for less risky other causes (e.g., education,
the elderly, auto safety)
Sustaining the effort and continuing to inform consumers
about what you are doing


Needs attention similar to what is given to all aspects of
Integrated Marketing Communications
Need internal marketing to get all employees cooperating