Social Responsibility and Event-Sponsor Portfolio Fit: Positive Outcomes for Events and Brand Sponsors
European Journal of Marketing. 53(2), 138-163 (2019)
47 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2019
Date Written: 2019
Purpose – This study examines the outcomes of consumer perceptions of event social responsibility (ESR) for a sponsored community event and its sponsor portfolio (i.e., group of sponsoring companies). It integrates a new antecedent and new moderators of ESR with extant findings to provide a comprehensive model that is theoretically grounded in social identity theory, congruency theory, and image and affect transfer.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors test the theoretical framework via a field study of attendees (n=879) at a sponsored, large-scale sporting event that provided ESR through health and wellness education and activities. A field study is especially appropriate because of the experiential nature of sponsored events and ESR.
Findings – Fan identification with the sport is an antecedent of ESR, and motivation to attend the event’s supporting activities moderates the relationship between fan identification and ESR. High event-sponsor fit strengthens the relationship between ESR and word-of-mouth and between ESR and sponsor patronage.
Research limitations/implications – This study illuminates the role of ESR as a key driver of outcomes for events and for their sponsor portfolio. Future research should investigate ESR in contexts other than sport and use longitudinal data that includes actual purchases. It should further examine the construct of sponsor portfolio since so many events have multiple sponsors.
Practical implications – Event sponsorship offers an attractive platform for brands to demonstrate good corporate citizenship, so marketers should consider ESR as a key criterion when selecting events to sponsor. Marketers should sponsor events with high event-sponsor portfolio fit to enhance the outcomes related to ESR for both sponsors and events. This research generally underscores the importance of creating auxiliary, interactive experiences for event attendees.
Originality/value – This research identifies a new antecedent and new moderators of event social responsibility and integrates them with extant findings to create a comprehensive, theoretically-grounded model. It investigates outcomes for the event and its sponsor portfolio.
Keywords: CSR, sponsorship, marketing, branding, consumer behavior, WOM, affect transfer, social identity, sports marketing, cycling, structural equation modeling, sponsor-event fit
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