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Title:Which creates the bigger halo: cause-related marketing or cause-sponsorship?
Author(s):Restko, Amy
Advisor(s):Nelson, Michelle R.
Department / Program:Advertising
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Corporate social responsibility
Cause-related marketing
Cause sponsorship
Halo effects
Abstract:Corporate social responsibility (CSR) used to act as a set of rules for companies to abide by, but it has evolved into a central part of the business strategy (Keys et al., 2009). CSR practices have proven to greatly enhance the company’s reputation and brand. This study tests the benefits of a positive halo effect from CSR campaigns and explores the role of involvement in the relationship. A halo effect can be described as a cognitive bias in which one trait can positively affect the subsequent perceptions of a brand (Madden et al., 2012), and this study defines involvement through personal relevance. While there has been research on the positive brand effects produced by CSR, there is limited research into how consumer involvement in terms of personal relevance to the CSR campaigns can contribute to the extent of the halo effects. The present study examined to what extent two types of CSR (cause-related marketing; CRM and cause sponsorship; CS) versus a control group, create an overall favorable impression of the brand. Specifically, a 3 x 1 experiment was conducted with university students to see if a CS, CRM or control (no CSR) Facebook page for a fictitious café brand influenced liking of the brand, quality and other brand attributes, CSR, willingness to recommend, behavior, and behavioral intent. Based on halo effects and involvement, it was expected that the CSR campaigns would have a larger effect on the dependent variables. It was further hypothesized that CRM would create a bigger halo than CS and the control, and that involvement—in terms of personal relevance—would moderate the positive effects of that halo. In other words, if CRM induces greater message involvement, that involvement should heighten the positive effects of CSR. Results of the experimental study revealed that no halo effects were found on brand attribute ratings; however, both CSR campaign messages (CRM and CS) resulted in higher overall CSR ratings for the brand. Further, participants who view a CS campaign are more willing to recommend the Facebook page of the restaurant brand than the CRM group, and participants in the CS group are more likely to visit the restaurant. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed and further research is recommended.
Issue Date:2015-01-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Amy Restko
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-01-21
Date Deposited:2014-12

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