The Impact of Cause Branding on Consumer Reactions to Products: Does Product/Cause 'Fit' Really Matter?

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Abstract:

This paper examines the issue of 'fit' between causes, companies, products and brands in the field of Cause Related Marketing (CRM). The linking of charitable causes and commercial ventures via their branded identities has become very widespread in the last ten years. The literature states that obtaining a good 'fit', in terms of the positioning and objectives of both product and charity, is very important to the success of CRM initiatives. However, there is no empirical support for this common assertion. This paper describes an experiment that was designed to test the assumption that 'fit' is important. The results of the experiment indicate that the degree of 'fit' between products and causes does have a significant effect on consumers' evaluations of products that carry a cause 'brand identity' as part of a CRM campaign. The results also indicate that cause cues in low involvement purchase situations create their impact by disrupting existing decision heuristics, rather than by the creation of new heuristics of assessment. This finding has implications for commercial managers when they are assessing the 'fit' and potential benefits of CRM associations.

Keywords: CAUSE RELATED MARKETING; CHARITY; CO-BRANDING; CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR; FMCG; FOOD MARKETING; INVOLVEMENT; LOW; NON PROFIT

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/0267257041838746

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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