CSR communication to consumers in clothing markets - Mapping consumer interest, awareness, attitudes and expectations

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School of Business | Master's thesis
International Business Communication
International Business Communication
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CSR communication to consumers in clothing markets - Mapping consumer interest, awareness, attitudes and expectations. Objective of the Study The aim of the study was to investigate consumer perceptions of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and CSR communication in order to improve company ability to effectively communicate on CSR. The study was motivated by research indicating low consumer awareness of and trust in CSR. The study focused on the clothing industry as clothing companies have increased their CSR investments following pressure from stakeholders. Methodology and Theoretical Framework The empirical part of the research consisted of a self-completion questionnaire distributed online and completed by 166 Finnish nationals. Based on the theoretical framework, consumer views were investigated in the survey in three levels: CSR interest, CSR awareness, and attitudes and expectations towards CSR communication. The survey included both closed and open-ended questions. The latter were analyzed using quantitative content analysis. Findings and Conclusions Firstly, the findings indicate a higher consumer interest in corporate responsibility than previous research from the clothing industry. Secondly, consumer awareness of CSR initiatives taken in the industry appears fairly limited. Thirdly, the findings add to knowledge of consumer attitudes and expectations on CSR communication. Concerning message content, consumers wish clothing companies to address environmental issues and to offer information on the impact of their CSR initiatives. Regarding channels, the findings indicate that clothing companies are likely to achieve highest awareness for and trust in their CSR messages by communicating through product labels and company websites. The findings provide guidance for the strategic design of CSR communication.
CSR, CSR communication, clothing industry, consumer awareness, consumer perceptions
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