The role of CSR in brand equity: Case of selected Woolworths stores in Pietermaritzburg.
Zulu, Simangaliso Bayabonga.
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a multifaceted concept. There is no single accepted definition of CSR. It means different things to different authors, academics and business-people. CSR has attracted a growing interest from business scholars and authors. CSR is described as a commitment by companies to invest and manage their social programs for the wellbeing of the society. These companies aim to make a difference in the community they operate in. On the other hand, brand equity refers to a value premium that a company generates from a product with a recognisable name when compared to a generic equivalent. The problem is that companies spend on CSR activities partly to build goodwill, but it is unclear whether CSR activities contribute to brand equity in the South Africa context. This study explored ways to overcome this issue by saying it is mandatory for companies to allocate a certain portion of their net profit to CSR projects. This is a crucial initiative for companies to build their brand equity and not harm the environment. The primary objective of the study was to examine the relationship of CSR and brand equity. The data were collected by means of a quantitative survey. Sampling design was used when choosing a sample of population. The researcher selected non-probability sampling method–convenience sample. Sample size was 120 participants. The researcher used descriptive and inferential statistics in the analysis of the data. Key findings of this study reveal that CSR initiatives are the major source of building brand image and customer loyalty which ultimately enhance brand equity of the company. In addition, the findings revealed that CSR is an effective organisational tool when it comes to attracting interest from consumers. This study recommends that companies need to: educate customers about CSR; need to be proactive in socially responsible oriented businesses; increase customer engagement and sponsorship, adopt a focused CSR approach, and participates in events that promote giving. The imitations of this study include the questionnaire format, the geographic location and the non-probability sampling technique used. This study concludes with remarks encouraging companies to design and implement CSR programmes in the communities that they operate in.