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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference


BRAND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: HOW LEGITIMATION STRATEGIES IMPACT CONSUMER PERCEPTION
(A2021-94707)

Published: May 25, 2021

AUTHORS

Camille cornudet, cornudet.iae@univ-paris1.fr; Géraldine Michel, IAE Paris-Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

ABSTRACT

To satisfy their consumers in their quest for meaning, brands are communicating more and more about their social responsibility. However, this approach is often seen as greenwashing. In this context of suspicion, brands use three main legitimation strategies (authorization, rationalization, and narrativization) to convey their social responsibility efforts. How do these legitimation strategies influence consumers’ perception of a brand’s social responsibility? What is anthropomorphism’s role? How can individual characteristics influence the perception of a brand’s social responsibility? To answer these questions, we carried out a between-subjects experimental design (n=465) that shows the positive influence of legitimation strategies on the perception of brand social responsibility. Our results also highlight the mediating role of anthropomorphism, which amplifies the influence of legitimation strategies on how brand social responsibility is perceived. Finally, our study shows that the more a consumer is empathetic, the less influence legitimation strategies will have on the perception of brand social responsibility.