Communicating Corporate Responsibility to Fit Consumer Perceptions: How Sincerity Drives Event and Sponsor Outcomes
Journal of Advertising Research. 57 (4), 410-421, 2017
28 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2019
Date Written: 2017
One area of special importance is the intersection between event sponsorship and corporate social responsibility — namely the event as a marketing communication venue to convey CSR. A second area of interest is to address metrics used to evaluate success of how event consumers perceive sponsor’s corporate social responsibility. Here, authors use some newer metrics of event word-of-mouth and event social responsibility (Scheinbaum and Lacey 2015). Given the importance of work in this area, the objective is to present a theoretically driven framework showing how attendee perceptions of an event as socially responsible and sponsor sincerity impact both the event and sponsor. In short, a premise here is to include how consumers infer a motivation of sincerity from a sponsoring brand when it comes to a sponsorship. It is also of interest to examine how consumers perceive the event itself and how that interlays with attitudes toward the title sponsor. When consumers perceive an event is socially responsible, it could strengthen how they perceive the sponsor’s sincerity for supporting the event. As part of this work, it is crucial to examine sponsor-event fit and how it relates with consumer perceptions of the event’s social responsibility. A mismatched partnership could backfire on the event and title sponsor. When consumers perceive that a sponsor and an event fit together well, they could have higher perceptions of the event as socially responsible (e.g., to the local community, local businesses, etc.). Consumers could also perceive the sponsor as more sincere when the event seems to fit with the sponsoring brand. Sponsor-event fit drives perceived event social responsibility especially strongly when management puts clarity in the event’s positioning (Pappu and Cornwell 2014) — which is another relatively fresh metric in examining sponsorship-linked marketing outcomes. A reason may be explained by how consumers implicitly attribute the sponsor motivations for sponsoring the event — the basis of attribution theory. The literature review begins with a brief overview of attribution theory, which serves as the primary theoretical underpinning of the framework. The authors next provide an overview the literature with respect to corporate social responsibility, sponsorship effects, and any intersection of event sponsorship and social responsibility scholarship. This is followed by a description of the research method, which is drawn from a field study of 490 participants. The authors conclude with the study’s findings with respect to theory and practice, and share potential areas for future research.
Keywords: CSR, Event Marketing, Branding, Sponsorship, Cycling, Sports Marketing, Structural Equation Modeling, Attribution Theory, Field Study, Consumer Psychology
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