The Relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility and Brand Equity within the Business-to-Business Service Sector

105 Pages Posted: 26 May 2021

Date Written: April 9, 2021

Abstract

This research study explored the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and brand equity, within business-to-business (B2B) group health insurance service firms. Since its inception as a business concept, CSR has been thought of as an exercise in being a good corporate citizen, but traditionalist views have suggested it opposes the revenue-centric focus of business ventures. There is a large body of existing literature that examines corporate social responsibility, or brand equity, or both but in the product or goods sector, or within business-to-consumer models. This research sought to close gaps in the existing research by analyzing the seminal research on CSR and brand equity, focused on B2B service firms, using primary research. A quantitative, non-experimental survey method was used with 59 qualified respondents who had purchased group health services from a B2B service provider such as a Third Party Administrator, Agent/Broker, or Pharmacy Benefit Manager. Survey respondents were screened for decision-making authority and experience in order to participate in the survey. Data analysis showed that there is a positive relationship between CSR and brand equity. It also showed that economic and ethical responsibility were the CSR initiatives which had the most impact on brand equity, and brand loyalty was the dimension of brand equity that was most impacted by CSR. Each of the findings was statistically significant, all with p < .001. Identifying CSR, specifically economic and ethical responsibility, as having the potential to increase brand equity, especially brand loyalty, may be valuable for B2B service firms and their marketing teams, who are focused on marketing efforts that will yield tangible results. The research suggests that CSR initiatives may lead to increased brand equity, specifically brand loyalty and that CSR can be considered more than simply a moral imperative in today’s business environment, but also a marketing activity.

Keywords: brands, brand equity, brand equity theory, brand management, business to business (B2B) brand, B2B marketing, corporate branding, corporate marketing, service brands, B2B service, corporate social responsibility (CSR), CSR, brand equity, B2B CSR, service brands and CSR, B2B service brands and CS

Suggested Citation

Smith, Madeline, The Relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility and Brand Equity within the Business-to-Business Service Sector (April 9, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3850480

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