Publication Details

This conference paper originally published as Dolnicar S & Pomering A, Consumer response to corporate social responsibility initiatives: an investigation of two necessary awareness states, In M. Thyne, K. R.. Deans & J. Gnoth (Eds.), Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (pp. 2825-2831). 3-6 December 2007. Dunedin, New Zealand: Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy.


Consumers increasingly expect companies to make a broader contribution to society. The business benefits of doing so, however, are currently not evident. Prior studies conclude that consumers’ purchase decisions are positively influenced by socially responsible initiatives. However, this insight appears to be of little practical relevance if the level of awareness of such initiatives among consumers is very low. McWilliams and Siegel (2001) emphasise that if CSR is to act as a point of differentiation, awareness of a firm’s CSR activities is crucial. We empirically test this awareness level. In doing so we respond to Maignan’s (2001) call for research to determine the extent to which consumers are aware of CSR activities businesses engage in. We also determine the extent to which consumers are aware of the social issues firms engage with their CSR programs, a critical antecedent to making sense of firms' CSR-related claims.