An Analysis on the Public Perception of the Tobacco Industry's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Marketing Communications

An Analysis on the Public Perception of the Tobacco Industry's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Marketing Communications

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Inhaltsangabe:Introduction: Tobacco companies strive for the status of good corporate citizens. However, they need to accept that they are fighting on a different legitimacy battlefield: they practice CSR for the mere right to exist. (Palazzo a Richter, 2005) When scanning the trends within the business environment throughout the past decade, a concept that has gained much attention is the increasing involvement of companies in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Companies started to increasingly address and demonstrate their commitment to CSR, yet many businesses struggle with this effort (Lindgreen a Swaen, 2010). More than ever before, corporations are investing a tremendous amount of resources in various social and environmental initiatives (Du et al., 2010). This trend illustrates that nearly 90% of all current Fortune 500 companies explicitly address CSR initiatives and there is an increasing number of companies that report and communicate their CSR involvement (Kotler a Lee, 2005; Crane et al., 2009). CSR as an academic theory and business tool has emerged as a consequence of corporate scandals due to an increasing number of unsafe products, environmental pollution, accounting frauds etc, and brought forward by transnational corporations realization to account for and redress their adverse impact on society (Hirschorn, 2004). Another driving force for companies CSR engagement is the increasing interest of the public in knowing what company stands behind the products and brands they market, using this knowledge to reward good and punish bad companies (Bowd and Harris, 2006). In a research conducted by Cone (2007), 87% of American consumers are likely to prefer a brand that is linked with a good cause (Du et al., 2010), which implies a common need for companies to address and communicate CSR related initiatives. Whereas many companies rely on proactive CSR communication, for instance cause related marketing strategies such as Krombacher Beer s Klimaschutz Projekt, or CSR integrated advertising messages like BP or EON, a great number of companies trust in a more inward CSR communication through e.g. its corporate websites with the focus to inform mainly non-governmental organisations (NGO s) or other specific stakeholder groups (Hirschland, 2005). This divergence with respect to approaches and adapting CSR communication appears to arise from a perceived sensitiveness of the CSR issue as well as a general ambiguity and lack of knowledge about its potential and perhaps more importantly its risks. Hence, the question can be raised why CSR communication is such a sensitive issue, in spite of increasing interest in corporate behaviour (ErnstaYoung, 2007). While CSR involvement of companies is increasingly expected and encouraged by the public, CSR communications is not always appreciated, often seen critically, and perceived as self-complacent and even distasteful by company stakeholders (Morsing a Beckmann, 2006). This is particularly the case for corporations that operate in controversial industries, such as tobacco companies. Tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco (BAT), Imperial Tobacco (IP) or Philip Morris International (PMI) invest a considerable amount of resources and create so much noise in being perceived as a good corporate citizen. They would like to be perceived as socially responsible companies, in order to gain public trust and credibility (Owoeye, 2010). Marketing in general is viewed with a high level of cynicism and suspicion when conveying a more socially responsible image (Acikdilli a Jahdi, 2009), and its communication, in many cases, is perceived as manipulative and insincere (van de Ven, 2008).The accomplishment of overcoming the two key challenges of CSR communication, CSR awareness and stakeholder skepticism (Du et al., 2010), presents a difficult and critical task for every company, but more predominately for tobacco companies. This following research will analyze, incorporating both a company and consumer perspective, recent CSR marketing communications (CSR marcom) attempts of tobacco companies and how the transmitted messages are perceived by the public. While previous research has linked the connection and impact of CSR on corporate performance, little research can be found focusing on the effect and perception of CSR communication. As mentioned by Bert van de Ven (2008) and Morsing a Beckmann (2006), there is not much research concentrating on how consumers perceive CSR marcom. Whereas CSR is a widely discussed issue within the academic and business world, minimal research focused on CSR communication issues within controversial industries, particularly the tobacco industry. Research on CSR communication is still scarce and diverse, and compiling an overview of theories concerned with communicating CSR can be quite complex due to its fragmented nature of existing literature (Morsing a Beckmann, 2006). Hence, by outlining and integrating several approaches and frameworks concerned with CSR communication throughout this research, the development of a recapitulatory and coherent theoretical framework for evaluating CSR communications provides a valuable contribution to the existing literature. The results of the primary research extends the existing literature by adding an international approach to analyze consumer perceptions on CSR marcom by tobacco companies, and aims on demonstrating critical dissimilarities with respect to different demographic characteristics (e.g. nationalities, gender and smokers/non-smokers). The results will provide the industry with information on whether consumers are aware of tobacco companies communicating CSR, how credible and effective their CSR communications are, whether consumers believe in the sincere nature of CSR marcom by tobacco companies, whether the perception of CSR as communicated by tobacco companies influences the consumer s purchase and brand decision. This research paper strives to add to existing academic body of knowledge on CSR communication by pursuing the following research question: Based on the public perception, how effective are CSR marketing communications of tobacco companies? One aim of the research paper is to provide an overview and analyze recent CSR communications by tobacco companies. In order to effectively approach the analysis on respective CSR communications, the development of a theoretical framework provides the basis for a meaningful analysis. The obstacles of CSR communication, as well as the various existing academic sources that provide fragmented information, need to be conceptualized and added together to build on a meaningful argument on the defined research question. The secondary research provides the basis for the conceptualization and integration of a number of various theories and frameworks addressing CSR communication. Furthermore, secondary research will set the stage for the primary research, incorporating an international panel to identify possible variations among nationalities and other demographic factors. Secondary as well as primary research is directed at achieving the following research objectives: 1) To investigate how tobacco companies communicate their CSR initiatives and who they address with these measures. 2) To assess critical aspects of CSR communication with a more specific view on tobacco companies. 3) To explore consumers perception of CSR communication and how they relate to identified CSR effects. 4) To identify how CSR can be communicated more effectively. 5) To draw managerial implications from the findings with respect to tobacco companies. First, within the Literature Review section the reader will be given an overview of the approach to CSR taken in this report, in which background information of CSR, dominant CSR theories and theorists, as well as CSR with respect to communication issues and tobacco companies will be critically reviewed and presented to the reader. By comprehensively reviewing various frameworks, models and theories concerned with CSR communication, the main objective of the Conceptual Framework section is to demonstrate, based on existing literature, a theoretical model incorporating and integrating the most prominent theories in the field, which will be an important step to set the stage for the model to be tested within the following primary research. The Methodology section of this research paper will then demonstrate the research methodology conducted in the form of an online questionnaire, and outline the data collection method and procedure, and provide justification, accuracy and reliability with respect to the research design and the data collected. The main objective of the Data Analysis section is to project and describe the collected data in light of the conceptual framework. In the Conclusion, key findings will be summarized and related back to the research question. Managerial implications that arise from research will then be outlined in the sector of Recommendations, followed by the Limitations and Discussion. Inhaltsverzeichnis:Table of Contents: 1.Introduction5 1.1Introduction to the Topic5 1.2Academic a Managerial Relevance7 1.3Research Objectives8 1.4Structure a Method9 2.Literature Review10 2.1Background to CSR10 2.1.1Defining CSR10 2.1.2The Development of CSR12 2.2Influential CSR Theories13 2.2.1Stakeholder Theory13 2.2.2Shareholder Value Theory15 2.3The Position and Function of CSR today16 2.3.1CSR as a Marketing Tool17 2.3.3The Tobacco Industry in the UK, Germany and Croatia19 2.3.4CSR a the Tobacco Industry21 2.3.5The Tobacco Industry s Limits of CSR23 2.3.6CSR and its Stakeholders25 2.3.6The Tobacco Companies Stakeholders26 2.4Communicating CSR28 2.4.1Marketing Communication29 2.4.2CSR Marketing Communication31 2.4.3Tobacco Companies CSR Marketing Communication32 2.4.4The Trouble with CSR Communication34 2.5CSR Communication Approaches35 2.5.1The Three Communication Strategies35 2.5.2The Three Communication Strategies in the Context of the Tobacco Industry37 2.5.3The AC2ID Test38 2.5.4The AC2ID Test in the Context of the Tobacco Industry40 2.5.5Du, Bhattacharya and Sen s Framework for CSR Communication41 2.5.6Du, Bhattacharya and Sen s Framework for CSR Communication in the Context of the Tobacco Industry42 2.5.7Sub - Conclusion43 2.6Perceptions of CSR Communication45 2.6.1Perceptions of CSR Communication in a Cultural Context46 3.Conceptual Framework48 3.1Analysis Strategy49 3.2The Framework50 4.Methodology52 4.1Questionnaire Design53 4.2Data Collection Method55 5.Data Analysis56 5.1Questionnaire Results57 5.1.1Respondent Demographics57 5.1.2CSR Awareness58 5.1.3CSR Commitment and Impact59 5.1.4CSR Motive61 5.1.5CSR Fit63 5.1.6Stakeholder Involvement66 5.1.7Further Results68 6.Conclusion70 7.Recommendations72 8.Limitations and further discussion74 9.Bibliography76 10.Appendix87 Appendix A87 Appendix A (1): Tvornica Duhana Rovinj s CSR section on its website87 Appendix A (2): Overview of the PM21 Public Relations Campaign88 Appendix A (4): BAT s CSR section on its website89 Appendix A (5): PMI s interactive map of their charitable giving programs90 Appendix B91 Appendix B (1): Questionnaire91 Appendix C102 Appendix C (1): Data Reliability Test102 Appendix C (2): Crosstabs103 Appendix C (3): ANOVA Test119 Textprobe:Text Sample: Chapter 2.5, CSR Communication Approaches: As research of CSR communication is still at an early stage, it is insufficient to discuss this topic from only one perspective It requires consideration of various existing approaches to understand the current state of research (Podnar, 2008), which will be attempted throughout the following sections. 2.5.1, The Three Communication Strategies: In the notion of Freeman s stakeholder theory, Morsing and Schultz (2006) argue for extensive stakeholder involvement through CSR communication. Simply put, the authors suggest the need to focus on stakeholder involvement throughout the CSR communication process. As part of this standpoint, Morsing and Schultz have developed three CSR communication strategies. The stakeholder information strategy can be considered a one-way communication model. The purpose of this strategy is to disseminate information on CSR to stakeholders in a non-persuasive, yet informative way. Although being a one-way communication strategy, the authors underline that many NGOs and business follow this rather simplified strategy. As opposed to the stakeholder information strategy , the stakeholder response strategy is based on a two-way communication approach between the organization and public. The objective of this strategy is not solely informative in nature, but rather an attempt to change the public s attitude and behaviour towards an organization. Communication back to the company is considered feedback with respect to how stakeholders react to a certain communication initiatives. Therefore, it is argued that this strategy is very sender-orientated and the aspired two-way is really a one-way communication approach where feedback only serves as a reinforcement for company actions. The concept of the stakeholder involvement strategy is based on a dialogue between the organization and its stakeholders, where not only the organisation aims at influencing the stakeholders, but this persuasion should also take place vice versa. As the stakeholder response strategy can be referred to as an asymmetric approach, due to its one sided communication character, this strategy can be considered symmetric and constantly attempts to incorporate and involve stakeholders in every step of the communication process. The three communication strategies as mentioned above are very closely linked and partially based on Grunig and Hunt s (1984) Public Relations Theory. Being based on PR, namely a marcom tool, reinforces the marcom approach of this paper and provides a meaningful concept for this research. The authors suggest that under the umbrella of the stakeholder involvement strategy , a combination of all three strategies must be applied to develop and practice an effective CSR communication (Morsing and Schultz, 2005). A stakeholder dialogue approach embeds the crucial elements of other strategies. The implementation thus requires to approach, listen to, and respond to stakeholders in a mutually beneficial way with respect to CSR communications. This tactic is in alignment with Grunig and Hunt s (1984) work, who state that there is not a right or wrong model, rather every model or a combination is applicable under certain circumstances. 2.5.2, The Three Communication Strategies in the Context of the Tobacco Industry: As mentioned previously, the basis for analyzing CSR efforts and its communications need to be subject to the company s industry and environment (van de Ven, 2008). Whereas the stakeholder involvement strategy sounds like the most reasonable approach for every company that communicates CSR, it is hardly ever practical due to a company s complex environments (Werner, 2009). As demonstrated before, tobacco companies are somehow restricted when it comes to stakeholder collaboration, as many NGOs may refuse to interact with tobacco companies for fear of a bad reputation by cooperating with the industry (Palazzo and Richter, 2005).This leaves the tobacco companies relatively alone and isolated and it appears difficult to establish anything close to the a stakeholder involvement strategy . According to CatellA³ et al. (2009), Palazzo and Richter (2005), companies can only aim at practicing a transactional CSR approach, namely addressing and responding to changing expectations of the company s key stakeholders in a way it is feasible and contingent for the company. Thus, until this point, the assertion can be confirmed that in terms of communicating CSR, tobacco companies need to communicate in an honest and transparent way, address issues their key stakeholders find most relevant and obey to the rules and legislation set by authorities. As mentioned before, it is certainly eligible to involve stakeholders in a two-way communication process and give the public a voice . This approach might be difficult for the tobacco industry, but it represents an opportunity for growth. 2.5.3, The AC2ID Test: In his article, Bert van de Ven (2008) points out the difference between a consequentialist and a virtue ethics perspective with respect to the marketing of CSR. For the consequentialist approach, it is sufficient when the overall outcome of a CSR issue addressed is positive. With respect to the virtue ethics perspective however, the question why and the motives behind the CSR initiatives and its communication become significant. Therefore, if companies aim at marketing their CSR approach, it is necessary to determine an ethical framework that goes beyond solely consequentialism (van de Ven, 2008). It is important for companies to be associated with virtue ethical terms , as the public punishes firms which they consider insincere or untrustworthy, and where the public perceives CSR communications by companies as solely strategic and profit orientated (Becker-Olsen et al., 2006). Additionally, the author stresses the importance of the virtues of accuracy, namely verification that the content of CSR communications is true; and truthfulness, being the extent to which a company believes or identifies itself with what is communicated. Hence, the author concludes that a company s virtues are the basis for marketing and communicating CSR. In order to determine whether a company is virtuous, and therefore qualify for effective CSR communication, a model of corporate identity is required. The author therefore suggests the AC2ID framework by Balmer and Greyser (2003). Van de Ven (2008) underlines that only by having the five identity types aligned, namely the actual, communicated, conceived, ideal and desired identity, a meaningful foundation for CSR communications can be arranged. In other words, if there is a misalignment between one or more identities, there is likely to be a mismatch between what is conveyed with regards to CSR communications and how those communications are perceived by the receiver. This can be referred to as the promise/performance gap (van de Ven, 2008). According to the results of his research, van de Ven (2008) states that the actual identity should be the starting point of building a virtuous brand. This is reinforced by Schlegelmilch and Pollach s work (2005) who argue that the combination of subtle, integrated communication, combined with a corporate ethical culture that fosters ethical behavior, is the key to successful CSR communication. Furthermore, the above mentioned communication approaches need to reflect the notion of sensemaking and sense-giving (Morsing and Schultz, 2006). While sense-making calls for a company to publish what their stakeholders want and appoints a meaning to it, sense-giving describes the actual support of the sense-making by walking the talk (Morsing and Schultz, 2010). Following the notion of sense-making , McWilliams et al. (2006) opines that companies can choose between a persuasive or informative approach with respect to conveying the CSR content to its stakeholders. Whilst the persuasive strategy aims on persuading consumer taste by highlighting the CSR product attributes, the informative approach attempts mainly to convey information about the CSR characteristics and various initiatives a company addresses. Only the informative approach can be considered meaningful for tobacco companies, as linking CSR messages with their actual concrete tobacco product seems to be hardly feasible.Du, Bhattacharya and Sena#39;s Framework for CSR Communication With respect to maximizing companiesa#39; returns to CSR, ... Commitment can be described from three perspectives: how many resources the company has invested in a specific ... In terms of CSR impact, a company must not only communicate its CSR practice, but also make others believe that its initiatives do make a real positive difference.

Title:An Analysis on the Public Perception of the Tobacco Industry's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Marketing Communications
Author:Alexander Nogolica
Publisher:Diplomarbeiten Agentur - 2012-01-31


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