Purpose: Cause-related marketing activities are increasingly becoming a meaningful part of corporate marketing plans. This paper aims to examine the relationship between the company, cause and customer, and how fit between these three groups influences consumer response via generating a positive attitude toward the company-cause alliance and purchase intent for the sponsored product. Design/methodology/approach: Two studies are carried out, first among students and second among consumers. Findings: Two studies (study 1=232 students, study 2=531 consumers) demonstrate that company-cause fit improves attitude toward the company-cause alliance and increases purchase intent. Additionally, this effect is enhanced under conditions of customer-company and customer-cause congruence, and the consumer's overall attitude toward the sponsoring company. Skepticism about the company's motivation for participating in a cause-related marketing initiative was not relevant to consumer purchase decisions. Research limitations/implications: Results from these studies suggest that consumers may in fact make two different assessments of the sponsoring company in a cause-related marketing campaign. One assessment may be more cognitive where the consumer compares his or her own identity to that of the company: "Is this company like me? Are our identities alike?" The second assessment is more affective or emotional: "Do I like this company? Do I feel positively about this company?" The strength of the consumer sample suggests that when building a cause-related marketing program, marketing managers should select a cause that makes sense to the consumer to be a partner in the alliance, build a general positive feeling toward their brand, and limit any self-serving promotion of the cause-related marketing alliance to the target consumer population. Originality/value: The paper provides useful information on the relationship between the company, cause and customer, and how the fit between these three groups influences consumer response.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management