Corporate Social Responsibility and its effects on Brand Trust
Research identified that corporate social responsibility (CSR) has had a positive impact on consumer behaviour, but even so little was known about these effects (Sen & Bhattacharya, 2001). The limited amount of research on CSR and consumer behaviours to date has determined that CSR affects consumers both indirectly and directly, through company evaluations and purchase intentions, but the effects are varied (Sen & Bhattacharya, 2001). Research into trust specifically in a brand context is limited (Delgado-Ballester, 2004) and the relationship between CSR and brand trust specifically needs to be investigated. This research investigates the relationship between CSR and brand trust, as well as the variables that best represent CSR. The study empirically measured CSR using an adapted scale based upon Turker‘s (2009) CSR scale and a brand trust scale developed by Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman (2001). The data for the study was collected in a mall-intercept survey undertaken in Botany Town Centre. The findings showed that two components represented CSR which were legal & employee and ethics & economic. As these components represent CSR, it would indicate there are different areas that both represent CSR and effect brand trust. In the multiple regression analysis, the legal & employee component was the most influential component for the overall data and the socially responsible company. CSR explained a 22% variance on brand trust. The variance of brand trust that is explained by CSR in regards to the socially responsible company is greater than the variance explained by the less socially responsible company. The more socially responsible the company the larger percentage effect CSR has on brand trust. Overall this study explores the linkages between CSR and brand trust. This study provides a foundation for further research and identifies several important implications for the leaders of organisations to consider in terms of CSR investment and the effects on brands within their portfolio.