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From CSR to CSI

From CSR to CSI The purpose of this paper is to analyses consumers’ hostile responses and “creative” re-interpretation of a proactive corporate social responsibility (CSR) brand communication campaign on social media by a leading Italian company in the energy industry that came to be perceived as a reactive corporate social irresponsibility performance.Design/methodology/approachTaking Palazzo and Basu’s framework of scapes (2007) as a starting point, the paper explores the intersection between branding and CSR studies. After consideration of the lack of empirical studies on this subject, a content analysis of tweets generated from the campaign “Guerrieri” of Enel is performed.FindingsFindings show the dialogic bottom-up approach results are ineffective because of the hijacking of original intent of the company in implementing its CSR communication initiatives. That is to say that corporate brand (CB) strategies can be easily re-interpreted in social media-scape from an opposing perspective, raising the risk of digital hijacking and boycotting initiatives.Practical implicationsFrom a practical standpoint, the study informs managers so that they can evaluate complex problems implicated in the creation of CSR activities aimed at engaging consumers and virtual communities. Besides, the paper would like to aid managers when they face discontent or activism, suggesting they should turn the attention of their stakeholders through a re-evaluation of relevant CSR activities, potentially leveraging on a loyal public, which has completely interiorised CB values and can act as brand ambassadors.Originality/valueThe paper is one of the first attempts to study the nexus between CSR and CB in digitally empowering contexts, clarifying the crucial role of social media-scape. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1352-2752
DOI
10.1108/qmr-12-2017-0184
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to analyses consumers’ hostile responses and “creative” re-interpretation of a proactive corporate social responsibility (CSR) brand communication campaign on social media by a leading Italian company in the energy industry that came to be perceived as a reactive corporate social irresponsibility performance.Design/methodology/approachTaking Palazzo and Basu’s framework of scapes (2007) as a starting point, the paper explores the intersection between branding and CSR studies. After consideration of the lack of empirical studies on this subject, a content analysis of tweets generated from the campaign “Guerrieri” of Enel is performed.FindingsFindings show the dialogic bottom-up approach results are ineffective because of the hijacking of original intent of the company in implementing its CSR communication initiatives. That is to say that corporate brand (CB) strategies can be easily re-interpreted in social media-scape from an opposing perspective, raising the risk of digital hijacking and boycotting initiatives.Practical implicationsFrom a practical standpoint, the study informs managers so that they can evaluate complex problems implicated in the creation of CSR activities aimed at engaging consumers and virtual communities. Besides, the paper would like to aid managers when they face discontent or activism, suggesting they should turn the attention of their stakeholders through a re-evaluation of relevant CSR activities, potentially leveraging on a loyal public, which has completely interiorised CB values and can act as brand ambassadors.Originality/valueThe paper is one of the first attempts to study the nexus between CSR and CB in digitally empowering contexts, clarifying the crucial role of social media-scape.

Journal

Qualitative Market Research: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 22, 2021

Keywords: Value; Corporate social responsibility; Identity; Corporate branding; Corporate social irresponsibility; Social media-scape; Ethics; Consumption; Content analysis; Enel; Corporate brand

References