Academic journal article Business: Theory and Practice

The Nature of Socially Responsible Communication in Indian companies/Socialiai Atsakinga Reklama Indijos Imonese

Academic journal article Business: Theory and Practice

The Nature of Socially Responsible Communication in Indian companies/Socialiai Atsakinga Reklama Indijos Imonese

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The upsurge of the concept of Societal Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the last few decades has led to an increased interest among researchers to probe into this area. There are several instances of companies behaving in a socially responsible manner. Some companies perform corporate social responsibility due to statutory reasons, while there are businesses which try to meet customers' demands regarding their responsibilities (Verstegen 1996). There are companies that practice societal marketing with an intention of retaining their customers for a much longer period. These companies try to create trust among their customers by implementing such activities. In the sixties, a product could be differentiated from others on the base of its instrumental value; while in the eighties it was the expressive value that made all the difference (Heyden, Rijt 2004). Pine et al. (1998) opined that "the business could effectively distinguish itself from competitors by way of creating unique experiences that form the core of the product offering. Such experiences should be memorable, capable of taking different forms and should always be consistent with the sort of business and products of the offerings".

Several Companies show social responsibility and supported societal causes in order to distinguish themselves from competitors (Maren 1997). A socially responsible firm creates meaningful and relevant experiences for prospective customers; and sponsors causes and events that have a positive impact on the business in the long run. A firm may support sports and cultural events, and causes like health care or politics as per its convenience and orientation. However, the vision, strategy, and values of a company play a major role in distinguishing the firm before its customers (Handboek 1997).

Companies can hence, express their societal involvement by supporting and promoting societal issues and by way of Corporate Philanthropy. The present study is an exploratory research into the nature of corporate philanthropy in advertising and marketing communication by Indian companies.

The paper begins with an overview of Corporate Philanthropy, followed by Corporate Social Responsibility and Communication of such Corporate Social Behaviour. The paper then moves on to focus the role of advertising in promoting Corporate Behaviour and then analyses advertisements that include some socially responsible message.

2. Review of literature

The literature that delves into the social aspects of a business organization (viz. promoting Literacy, Health awareness issues, Women empowerment, Child welfare, and Environment protection) can be classified into two groups which are Corporate Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility. The subsequent fall out of which are corporate communications and advertising of Corporate Philanthropy and Corporate Communications. The literature on Corporate Philanthropy views the organization as a good corporate citizen, who is responsible towards the society. Corporate Social Responsibility literature on the other hand opines that business and the society are interdependent and need to work in a synchronized manner. Corporate Communication deals with the disclosure of such responsible activities of firms in order to affect the perceptions of the public. While most of the communication by firms is by way of Prospectus, Annual Reports and advertisements; the role of advertising has been taken into account in this study. The following section concentrates on elucidating the above mentioned issues.

Corporate Philanthropy

Carroll (1991) defines four domains of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic. Organizations are considered to have an inherent profit motive therefore; economic performance is given greater importance than the other three above-mentioned CSR components. …

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