Publication Details

Pomering, A. A. (2005). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): an examination of consumer awareness, evaluation and purchase action. In S. Purchase (Eds.), Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (pp. 75-81). Fremantle, Australia: Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy.


Despite marketplace polls reporting heightened consumer interest in and support for companies acting in socially-responsible ways, there remains to date little evidence of such consumer support translating into general purchase behaviour. There is a gap in our knowledge regarding which particular socially-responsible behaviours are likely to prove most influential with consumers and be rewarded with supportive purchase behaviour, and how awareness of firms’ commitments to these behaviours is to be brought to consumers’ attention. It appears from the marketplace success of some socially-responsible, or ‘ethical’ brands, such as The Body Shop and recently launched clothing brands such as American Apparel and Edun, that the reporting and marketing of CSR is gaining popularity, yet there is little extant research to guide these initiatives. The increased expectation in the community that companies should engage in CSR has resulted in organizations being called to account by anti-corporate and other activist groups, and concerned consumers, for their irresponsible behaviours. Organized consumer boycotts achieve much negative publicity resulting in organizations seeking ways to avoid such situations occurring, however, there is limited research to guide managers in the manner to best portray the organization in a positive manner. Further there is scant academic research examining how consumers perceive the CSR activities of organizations and whether there are any subsequent effects on purchase evaluations and behaviour. This paper calls for greater research into the manner in which consumers interpret the corporate social responsibility (CSR) stances of organisations and how these corporate activities form part of the brand beliefs of consumers.