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제목 The role of CSR in crises—How companies can respond to crises and maintain brand image
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작성일 2020.02.19 15:46:51 조회수 40
summary New study explains how maintaining brand image requires CSR authenticity and effective communication
prof. 신문방송학과 김지선 교수님

 

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                             

 

The role of CSR in crises—How companies can respond to crises and maintain brand image

 

New study explains how maintaining brand image requires CSR authenticity and effective communication

 

All corporations suffer from crises at some point. Depending on their response, the crisis can have various effects: it can either damage the company’s reputation or rebuild customer trust. Thus, it is important to understand effective strategies that not only help in damage recovery but also maintain brand equity. In a new study, a researcher from Incheon National University talks about various factors related to CSR that play a role in post-crisis customer perception.

 

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To maintain brand reputation, communication and authenticity are key when dealing with corporate crises.

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

 

When companies face crises, they often turn to solutions based on corporate social responsibility (CSR). But often, resolving issues through CSR cannot save corporations from a damaged reputation. Thus, to regain customer trust and maintain the brand image, it is crucial to communicate the complexity of crises to all stakeholders, including—you guessed it right—customers. Rather than have consumers simply accept a response to crisis, more information can be provided to help them understand the company’s strategy. Previous studies have helped to develop strategies related to crisis response, but they do not take into account the perspective of customers. In a new study published in Journal of Business Ethics, a research team, led by Dr. Jeesun Kim at Incheon National University, attempted to bridge this gap.

 

In their study, the researchers combined two strategies—the situational crisis communication theory (which suggests that negative perception is caused if an organization perceives a crisis to be intentional rather than unintentional) and the persuasion knowledge model (which suggests that consumers actively interpret the underlying motives of companies)—to examine how consumers actively cope with a crisis. Then, participants were recruited to complete surveys based on this new integrated model. In the survey, they were provided two types of news articles about fictitious companies. Phase 1 of the survey showed a news article reporting that an accident had occurred, and the participants were asked if they thought the event was accidental or intentional. Phase 2 included news articles stating the motives and history of the company and its CSR initiatives. Customer responses to both types of articles were analyzed in detail.

 

Though this survey, the researchers found that the effect of CSR is not consistent and varies according to the type of crisis and CSR motives. For example, if the crisis was intentional, CSR did not have an effect on consumer intentions, but if it was accidental, it had an effect to some extent. They also found that for older companies with a long history of CSR, customers were more likely to perceive their motives as genuine. For newer companies, customers were less trustful and needed more information to come to a judgment. Dr. Kim says, “Given that crisis is associated with various situational factors, our integrated model provides a more concrete framework to understand how consumers—as active stakeholders in the crisis—interpret and cope with a corporation’s CSR-based crisis response.”

 

This study explains how critical it is to perform CSR initiatives ethically and authentically. Moreover, the motives and expectations for CSR should be clearly communicated and understood throughout the corporation. Dr. Kim concludes, “While consumers attribute responsibility to why a crisis happened, CSR-based crisis response messages can influence consumers positively in recovering from it, depending on the type of crisis.”

 

Indeed, keeping CSR activities ethical and transparent can surely help companies to inculcate faith in customers and maintain a positive image!

 

Reference

Authors:

Chang-Dae Ham1, Jeesun Kim2,*

Title of original paper:

The Role of CSR in Crises: Integration of Situational Crisis Communication Theory and the Persuasion Knowledge Model

Journal:

Journal of Business Ethics

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3706-0

Affiliations:

1.       Department of Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA

2.       Department of Mass Communication, Incheon National University, Incheon, Korea

 

*Corresponding author’s email: jeesun@inu.ac.kr

 

 

About Incheon National University

Incheon National University (INU) is a comprehensive, student-focused university. It was founded in 1979 and given university status in 1988. One of the largest universities in South Korea, it houses nearly 14,000 students and 500 faculty members. In 2010, INU merged with Incheon City College to expand capacity and open more curricula. With its commitment to academic excellence and an unrelenting devotion to innovative research, INU offers its students real-world internship experiences. INU not only focuses on studying and learning but also strives to provide a supportive environment for students to follow their passion, grow, and, as their slogan says, be INspired.

 

Website: /mbshome/mbs/inuengl/index.html

 

About the author

 

Dr. Jeesun Kim (Ph.D., University of Missouri School of Journalism) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication at Incheon National University, Korea, where she teaches courses on public relations, crisis communication, and social media in strategic communication. Prior to joining Incheon National University, she was an Assistant Professor at both California State University, Fullerton and Grand Valley State University, USA. Her research interests include crisis management and communication, the role of corporate social responsibility in the context of corporate crises, and strategic conflict management in public relations.

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