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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Business | 2014
Thesis number: 13767
AIDS galas and meat free mondays - a case study on the promotional CSR communication of luxury fashion brands
Author: Hindrén, Noora
Title: AIDS galas and meat free mondays - a case study on the promotional CSR communication of luxury fashion brands
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; muoti; fashion; brandit; brands; imago; image; viestintä; communication; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; markkinointi; marketing; sosiaalinen media; social media
Pages: 125
Key terms: CSR communication; CSR advertising; social media; luxury brands; credibility
The objective of this study was to find out how luxury fashion brands communicate CSR to the consumers. Because covering all the communication channels was not feasible, the research was narrowed down to CSR advertising in print media and CSR communication in Facebook. These two media were selected because they both target the big audience,and there was only little previous research on CSR communication in those contexts, and even less from the perspective of luxury fashion brands. The type of communication studied can be referred to as promotional CSR communication, which differs from informative CSR communication in terms of communication goals and means of persuasion: promotional CSR communication aims at improved CSR image and increased sales, and it takes advantage of all three means of persuasion, ethos, pathos and logos.

Based on the literature review credibility was recognized as the most important aspect in the promotional CSR communication of modern luxury fashion brands. Thus, the empirical analysis focuses on the elements influencing the credibility of communication. Those elements were divided into two groups: 'context-dependent factors', and 'general guidelines and means of influencing'. From the context dependent factors themes communicated were the main object of analysis the key questions being how the themes fit the brand image and the actual CSR performance of the brand. Third party endorsement and factualness were identified as concrete means for enhancing the credibility of communication. The study was conducted as a case study and the research method was qualitative content analysis. Two quite different brands were selected as case companies in order to see whether the CSR strategy and motivations are reflected in the communication.

Both of the case companies communicated themes with somewhat vague connection to the brands, however, also examples of good cause-brand fit were found. The case companies did not use factual claims, and concreteness in broader terms was also rare. One of the brands took advantage of third party endorsement, where as the other one did not. The brand with CSR engagement stemming from the founder's values and integrative CSR strategy had more variation in its communication and the messages supported an image that CSR was an integral part of the brand identity. The brand without such background communicated mostly about charity involvement. Both of the case companies appeared to be holding back their promotional CSR communication one way or another, which might be explained by the prioritization of a luxurious image over CSR messages.
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