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social values may strengthen the brand.185 Therefore it seems as if CSR values over time will become just as much of a “hygiene factor” as quality and design.186

The available research shows that CSR can have a range of favorable affects on consumer preference. There is a positive link between CSR and purchase behavior when certain conditions are fulfilled: when the consumer supports the issue central to the company’s CSR efforts, when the fit between the company and the issue is high, when the product is of high quality and when the consumer is not asked to pay a price premium for social responsibility.187 However, an increasing number of consumers are in fact willing to pay a price premium for products from a socially responsible company.188 One way that a company’s brand can benefit from CSR is through cause-related marketing, whereby a company promotes that a percentage of sales goes to support a specific charity.189 This can be viewed as a way to establish product differentiation by creating socially responsible attributes that affect company reputation.190

A company can also reap benefits through positioning itself as a CSR brand and the strategic rewards of CSR for a brand that positions itself along this dimension is greater than for those that merely engage in CSR.191 This is because consumers regard these brands as having taken a more extreme, uncommon and risky stance of positioning itself on CSR rather than merely engaging in such activities.192 It is argued that consumers will have more favorable beliefs about CSR brands, make more charitable contributions and reward CSR brands to a greater extent in terms of loyalty and advocacy.193 This is especially the case among a particular segment of customers. This loyalty is due to consumer-company identification. Consumer-company identification refers to consumers’ psychological attachment to a company based on substantial overlap between their perceptions of themselves and their perceptions of the company.194

5.1.2.2 Reputation and risk management CSR can be considered instrumental with regard to reputation and can be regarded as a form of brand

insurance.195 CSR reduces the risk of damage to brand evaluations in the case of a calamity, because consumers’ prior perceptions of CSR directly influence the attributions used in situations that are deemed out of the ordinary. These attributions contribute to an ascription of blame that affects brand

evaluations which in turn affects purchase intentions.196 impact on attributions than a positive CSR image.197

A negative corporate CSR image has a larger

5.1.2.3 Control

CSR efforts can also be used to enhance control in business networks.198 An example provided is that in the area of purchasing and procurement, corporate codes of conduct and standards such as SA

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Mark-Herbert, C. & von Schantz, C. (2007). Mark-Herbert, C. & von Schantz, C. (2007). Bhattacharya, C.B. & Sen, S. (2004), Becker-Olsen, K.L. et al (2006). Becker-Olsen, K.L. et al (2006), McWilliams, A. & Siegel, D. (2001), Smith, N. C. (2003). Varadarajan, P. & Menon, A. (1988). Garriga, E. & Melé, D. (2004), McWilliams, A. & Siegel, D. (2001). Du, S. et al. (2007). Du, S. et al. (2007). Du, S. et al. (2007). Bhattacharya, C.B. & Sen, S. (2004). Werther, W. & Chandler, D. (2005). Klein, J. & Dawar, N. (2005). Bhattacharya, C.B. & Sen, S. (2004), Klein, J. & Dawar, N. (2005).

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Aguilera, R.V. et al (2004), Svedberg-Nilsson, K. (2004).

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