Company reputation and its influence on consumer trust in response to ongoing CSR communication

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There is considerable disagreement in academic scholarship and beyond as to whether, in cases of bad reputations, companies will want to communicate corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities because this kind of communication is likely to increase consumers? skepticism. In this regard, the two empirical studies discussed in this article examine the influence of prior company reputation on consumers? trust in response to CSR communication in general and the development in response to continuous CSR activities and their ongoing communication by companies as well as by the media in particular. The two studies show that consumers? trust in companies? CSR activities increases after a second presentation of information by companies even in instances when companies had prior negative reputations. The second study in particular fills a gap in the literature on underlying mechanisms of consumers? reactions to CSR communication. The results suggest that companies with prior negative reputations do not need to remain silent about their CSR activities; instead, CSR communication can help improve consumers? trust in companies. However, the findings of these two studies also suggest that this positive development is short-lived. Consumers? developing trust in companies? CSR activities decreases significantly if they are exposed to negative information on these companies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marketing Communications
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)115-136
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 17.02.2019

    Research areas

  • Sustainability Science
  • company reputation, Corporate social responsibility, CSR communication, skepticism, time series analysis