Do all brand CSR initiatives make consumers happy? The role of CSR-brand (mis)fit and sense of relatedness

Faheem Gul Gilal, Naeem Gul Gilal, Luis F. Martinez, Rukhsana Gul Gilal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to explore whether brand corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives increase consumers’ happiness via a mediating mechanism of emotional brand attachment and to examine how brand CSR’s effect may be moderated by CSR fit (e.g. CSR-brand fit vs misfit) and sense of relatedness (e.g. low vs high). Design/methodology/approach: A series of six studies (including the one that is available online), combining field and experimental data, were conducted to test the hypothesized relationships. Findings: Results support the hypothesis that brand CSR initiatives make consumers happy by increasing their attachment to the brand (Studies 1 and 2). This effect is strengthened both directly and indirectly through emotional attachment when brands engage in CSR fit activities (Study 3), but it is weakened when brands engage in CSR misfit activities (Study 4). Furthermore, the effect is more pronounced when brands choose CSR activities that have a high sense of relatedness, and it is eliminated when brands use CSR activities with a low sense of relatedness (Study 5). Finally, the results indicate that when brand CSR programs make consumers happy, they become more likely to purchase, spread positive word of mouth and pay a premium (Study 6). Originality/value: This research has several major implications for business-to-consumer companies that are unsure about the value of brand CSR initiatives, want to make consumers happy but are unsure which CSR strategies to focus on and/or have decided to launch CSR initiatives but lack guidance on the specific strategies relevant to their desired performance outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 942-957
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2023


  • Brand CSR programs
  • Consumer happiness
  • CSR mis(fit)
  • Emotional brand attachment
  • Sense of relatedness


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