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Dissertation Sample: Investigating The Impact Of Csr On Brand Perceptions
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I would like to declare that the material present in this project is my own original work is except where indicated and acknowledged has been provided in the references to all the sources I have taken for this work.
I dedicate my dissertation work to my family and a special feeling of gratitude goes to my loving parents. I also dedicate this dissertation to my many friends and who have supported me throughout the process. . I will always appreciate all they have done. It is with immense gratitude that I acknowledge the support and help of my Professor, who had encouraged me all the way through my course of study and have helped me at each step during preparing this piece of work. Finally, I dedicate this to the Almighty as without his blessings I would not have been able to complete the work.
I would never have been able to finish this dissertation without the guidance of my committee members, help from friends and support from my family. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my project advisor for his caring, guidance and patience and for providing me such an excellent atmosphere to do this research. I would like to thank all the faculty members for providing me such an opportunity to do this research. I would also like to thank my parents and other family members for encouraging me with their best wishes.
With the growing importance of business houses towards the society and its well being, CSR has carved out an important place in business operations. Today big firms gain identity and reputation in the market based on their corporate social activities. This research focuses on investigating the impact of CSR on brand perceptions, with the help of a case study on Starbucks. Thus analysing their strategies implemented to improve their CSR and also the critical relationship between CSR and brand perception today. A detailed literature survey was done to accomplish the study and which reflected the existing dynamics. The research is based on realism paradigm has followed the abdicative approach to bring out the brand perceptions of Starbucks customers. A detailed customer survey was done to understand the perceptions of the people. The quantitative data was analysed with the help of MS Excel statistical tool and qualitative data was analysed with the help of thematic analysis. Where only, 55% of the total survey population was a regular customer. It was quite appalling that 40% of the respondents thought that CSR was a marketing gimmick, and it was of very little importance for the society. A quarter of the survey population liked the Starbucks strategy to improve surrounding communities. But about 35 % of the respondents were unhappy about the low rate of employment of the local communities within Starbucks business operations, and thought they could improve their CSR by increasing employment opportunities. The managers of Starbucks were sustainably inclined to CSR and considered it as one of their priorities in business. It was evident from the data collected that CSR efforts of Starbucks were irrelevant to the customers and needs to focus more on social and environmental causes and take steps which can add value to consumers with respect to their needs and expectations. Thus, this research establishes a strong correlation between brand perceptions and CSR strategies.
Table of Contents
1.1. Enquiry Overview.. 9
1.2 Aim and objectives of the study. 10
1.3 Research questions. 11
1.4 Background of the study. 11
1.5 Rationale of the study. 13
1.5.1. What is the issue?. 13
1.5.2. Why it is an issue?. 13
1.5.3. Why it is an issue now?. 13
1.5.4. What could the research shed light on?. 14
1.6 Scope and limitations of the study. 14
1.7 Summary. 15
2.1 Introduction. 16
2.2 Conceptual Clarifications: CSR.. 16
2.3. Dimensions of CSR.. 19
2.3.1 Integrated sustainability approach: 21
2.3.2. Integrating sustainability representation. 22
2.4. Benefits of CSR.. 23
2.5. Challenges of Socially Responsible activities. 24
2.6. Establishing linkages between CSR and Brand perceptions. 25
2.6.1. The concept of Brand. 25
2.6.2. Brand Positioning. 26
2.6.3. Theoretical Model for Brand Positioning and CSR: 27
2.6.4. Impact of CSR on brand perceptions. 28
2.6.5. CSR and Brand perceptions. 30
2.6.6. Consumer Buying Decision and CSR: 31
2.7. Summary. 32
3.1. Introduction. 32
3.2. Research paradigms: 32
3.2.1. Positivism.. 33
3.2.2. Interpretivism.. 33
3.2.3. Realism.. 34
3.3. Research approach. 35
3.3.1. Inductive Approach. 35
3.3.2. Deductive Approach. 35
3.3.3. Combination of Inductive and Deductive methods: Abductive Approach. 36
3.4. Research strategy: Case Study. 37
3.5 Data collection methods. 39
3.5.1. Semi structured Interviews. 39
3.5.2. Conducting the interviews. 40
3.5.3. Survey. 40
3.5.4. Sampling Method. 40
3.5.5. Ethical Considerations. 41
3.6. Data Analysis: 41
3.7. Strengths of the methodology. 42
3.8. Weaknesses of the methodology. 42
3.9. Summary. 43
4.1. Introduction. 44
4.2. Data Analysis method: Thematic analysis. 44
4.3. Limitations of Thematic analysis. 45
4.4. Why Alternative Methods were not found Appropriate. 45
4.5. Focus on Thematic analysis. 46
4.5. The Questioner preparation: Thematic analysis research Focus. 46
4.6. Categorizing theme. 47
4.7. The Major Themes in the Research findings are as: 47
4.7. Supporting Evidences for Major Themes and Permeated themes. 49
4.8. Supporting Qualitative Findings and Discussion. 51
4.9. Summary. 52
5.1. Introduction. 53
5.2. Evaluation and Analysis of Key Findings. 53
5.3. Conclusion. 54
Objective 1 - To review existing conceptual models and theoretical issues related to CSR and brand perceptions 54
Objective 2: To identify the importance of CSR on brand perceptions. 54
Objective 3: To formulate a model that could address how CSR will improve brand perceptions 55
5.4. Recommendations and managerial implications. 55
5.5. Future Scope for Research. 56
5.6. Summary. 56
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1. Enquiry Overview
The main purpose of the research is to evaluate the effects of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives taken by the organizations on the brand perceptions. There are a number of strategies being used by the organizations in order to develop the brand perceptions in the competitive market. CSR is one of them. This chapter provides an enquiry overview of the research which is basically a synopsis of what can be expected in the research. The dissertation has been structured into five main chapters. The first chapter is Introduction, second chapter is Literature Review, third chapter is Research methodology, fourth chapter is Analysis and Findings and the last chapter is Conclusions and Recommendations.
The first chapter represents the introduction of the dissertation which explains the purpose and objectives of the research. The chapter also provides relevant industry background information and the reasons why the research is important. The chapter also states the scope and limitations of the research. Nevertheless, a brief of the brand and its offerings along with Objective settings for the rest of the project is been given.
The second chapter of the research offers a critical review and analysis of the extant literature which surrounds the topic. First of all, the chapter reviews the existing literature present on the corporate social responsibility. The researcher has chosen various literatures such as research papers, journals, books, online articles on the research subject and then critically analyzes the literatures in order to develop a theoretical framework of the research. This chapter is very important because it helps to support the findings from the primary research which will help to bring out the result of the research. The chapter also finds out the gaps present in the existing literatures. The chapter also critically analyzes various aspects of the brand perceptions and the ways in which brand perceptions can be developed. An in-depth analysis will be conducted of previous literature on the subject of brand perceptions.
The third chapter discusses the research paradigm, research approach and research strategy which was used in the study. It also justifies the reasons why the particular method was chosen. Next, the chapter explains the data collection methods used in order to generate the empirical data to support the aim and objectives of the research. The chapter also describes the sampling method chosen for the research and the reasons for choosing the sampling technique. The researcher also provides a detailed description of the semi-structured interview and questionnaire process used in the study. The researcher also describes the ethical issues that can arise in the research and the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology which was encountered.
The fourth chapter of the dissertation provides an explanation of the selected data analytical method and the chapter also demonstrates how thematic analysis allowed the collected data to be categorized into permeated and major themes. The researcher also provides a detailed description of each of the themes and then it provides the explanations of how each of the themes can be related to the aim and objectives of the research. At the end of the chapter, the researcher identifies the key findings of the research.
The fifth chapter presents an overall assessment of the findings and the extent to which the research has been able to meet the aim and objectives. The chapter first states the aim and objectives of the research first and then it discusses how the research objectives have been achieved during the study. Then, an evaluation of the analysis has been made of the key findings objective wise. Finally, the chapter presents an overall conclusion of the research and it also provides recommendations and suggestions for the future researches on the similar area.
1.2 Aim and objectives of the study
The major aim of the research is to understand the importance of corporate social responsibility to build up brand perceptions of any organization. Corporate social responsibility was taken a centre-stage in all the organizations which are inclined in expressing their commitment towards the greater society, considering them to be their stakeholders. This runs apart from the business interests they hold and the idea is to enrich the society and its occupants through the business processes they run. This is very vital as the consumer brand perception is also dependent on the CSR factors of an organization. No dedicated study has been carried out so far on the CSR activities of Starbucks and its effects on brand perceptions and thus, that bestows immense importance on this study.
The objectives of the research are:
- To review existing conceptual models and theoretical issues related to CSR and brand perceptions.
- To identify the importance of CSR on brand perceptions
- To formulate a model that could address how CSR will improve brand perceptions
1.3 Research questions
In order to get to the bottom of the topic and fulfil the objectives with which the study is being conducted, it is important to ask the right questions pertaining to the topic. The questions would initially strive to find out the general concept of the topic and then get into greater specificities by making Starbucks to be the subject of the study.
- What are the new issues in existing conceptual models and theoretical part related to CSR and brand perceptions?
- What is the importance of CSR in brand perceptions?
- How to develop a model that could address to improve the CSR on brand perceptions?
1.4 Background of the study
As the part of research, Starbucks Corporation is a global coffee chain based in Washington. Starbucks is referred as the largest coffee chain across the world. They are having a total of 23,300 stores in more than 65 countries across the globe. The stores of Starbucks serve varieties of cold and hot beverages, whole coffee beans, full leaf teas, snacks and pastries. A large number of Starbucks stores also sell pre-packaged food items and various items such as tumblers and mugs. Starbucks started their business as a coffee bean roaster and retailer in the year 1971 in Seattle since then they have expanded their business rapidly. Starbucks has been quite profitable since their inception. The first Starbucks store outside USA opened in the year 1996 in Tokyo. By the end of financial year 2013, the net profit of Starbucks has been more than US$ 14.89 billion. Starbucks has been chosen in this research because of their CSR activities across the globe (Sharma and Kiran, 2013)
Jackson (2010) stated that brand image has played its important role in the contemporary market and therefore, every companies are want to develop the image and service quality of their product in order to make get the brand reputation from the market. Krishnaswamy et al. (2009) commented that as Starbucks is also a branded company in UK market and therefore, the company is get to develop its new product in the market in order to make it reputation sustainable.
Kapferer (2008) noticed that in this competitive ground, many of the companies are performed in the market to gain their position. Starbuck also belong from that background that has huge competition with its competitors like Costa coffee, Nespresso in England. In this context the company also tried to develop some strategies that will help it to make its position sustainable in the market and notably CSR is the main strategy for the company that will help it to fruitful its business objectives. Levy and Lemeshow (2013) stated as per the market survey that brand image can help the company to develop its CSR or the corporate social responsibility in the market. It has stated like this because through using proper brand image, the company can able to make its own reputation in the market and also able to attract customers to purchase the product from the market. Lewis (2003) also added the quality and the service of the product in it because it also influence the company and also its stakeholders to improve its CSR role in the market.
Matten and Moon (2008) described CSR role as the practice of the company to manage its social, environmental responsibility and meet all the requirements of its stakeholders. As per the analysis of the CSR role of Starbucks, it has investigated by O'Connor and Netting (2009) that the company has properly practiced its corporate social responsibility especially the environmental and community properly. It has been investigated by Nan and Kwangjun (2007) that the stakeholders of the company are allowed to produce high quality and rich coffee beans to make good taste of coffee. Not only that the company is also able to maximise the environmental footprints in order to reduce the carbon footprint from the society and make it sustainable as well.
However, these responsibilities and practices undoubtedly increase the reputation of any companies in the market. Not only has the CSR role of the company, but the service and product quality also helped any organisations to increase its business in the market. Hence, Matten and Moon (2008) commented that if the company will provide its customers qualitative service from a long period of time and perform in the market ethically, then it will increase its brand perception among its customers and they all want to get attach with the service of the company as well. Therefore, it can state that the ethically performance and effective brand perception of the company will help it to develop its CSR among its territory and make its reputation sustainable in the market. Therefore, in this research, the impact of brand perception to improve the CSR rile of the company has analysed. Not only that by analysing the research issue, a sustainable CSR model also is going to develop for the company Starbucks in order to help it to get foremost position in the market.
1.5 Rationale of the study
1.5.1. What is the issue?
The major research issue is that the company has criticised for providing its customers dilute coffee product and therefore, it reputation has getting lose in the market. The second research issue is that the price of the product is also high compare to its competitors. Third issue is that the company not have proper CSR model that will help it to compete with its competitors in the market.
1.5.2. Why it is an issue?
In today’s competitive market, while the other companies or its competitors like Nespresso, Costa coffee are provided its customers qualitative product and criticised for servicing dilute coffee product to its customers. It not only harms the reputation of the company but also it’s affected its CSR responsibility. It totally reflected that the company not have modern CSR model to get attach with the service of its community and examine the product that has provided to its customers. Though the company has promote the sustainable strategy of its environment that is to reduce the carbon foot print from the society, on the other hand, it will increase the price of its product that not affordable for its many customers, Therefore, many of its customers are switch off their choice and preference from Starbucks to its competitors like Costa coffee, Nespresso, Caribou and so on.
1.5.3. Why it is an issue now?
While its competitors like Caribou, Nespresso, Costa coffee is able to expand their business in the competitive market; Starbucks is unable to do so. It also affected its profitability and therefore its market share has down from 1.6% in the year 2010.
It has came to know that being a global leading company, Starbucks has various and diversifies stakeholders group and the company has used various communication tools in order to interact with its stakeholders properly. In this case, as the modern CSR model is not developed by the company, therefore its communication tools also not properly handled that also create problem for the business expansion in the modern world.
Therefore, the modern CSR model and the product quality is became a major issue for the company because it will affect its profitability and also harm its business reputation in the market. Though customers have their good brand perception about the product of the company but recent criticism and dilute product lead the company towards its decline position that is the major issue for its growth.
1.5.4. What could the research shed light on?
Through this research some recommendations has provided to the company to make its performance better in the market and get benefit from it. The company has to recommend to develop its CSR model in order to get back its old reputation and able to beat its competitors as well.
1.6 Scope and limitations of the study
The study is based on the brand perception of Starbucks and its impact on the CSR role of the company. However, the researcher has analysed the all data both primary and secondary in its qualitative manner. It has stated like this because the researcher has to place its questionnaire to the stakeholders of the company and it seemed not possible for the researcher to get accurate data and feedback of the customers by close end questionnaire. Therefore, the researcher has placed the open end questionnaire to its customers and analyse it in qualitative manner to explain the total area of the research properly.
However, this will be a major limitation for the research, because the statistical data are not present in this project. On the other hand, the researcher only analyse the brand perception of the company and its impact on it CSR role, while there are many scooper of the research that could be analysed by the researcher related to the company Starbucks. The marketing strategy and the business environment of the company that also influence is CSR role also could be analysed while the researcher only focus upon the brand perception of the company. This is also the scope and limitation for the research that could be conducted or analysed in near future because through analysing all the marketing segments a proper and sustainable CSR model will able to develop in favour for the company.
In the entire introduction chapter, the researcher has developed the aim and objectives based on the research topic that is the brand perception and its impact of the CSR role of the company Starbucks. The aim and objectives described the current situation of the company and also recommend some ways that will help the company to develop its position in the market. However, based on the objectives, the background of the study has developed by the researcher. In this segment, the researcher has analysed the meaning of the brand perception and its impact on developing the CSR of the company. In the rationale of the statement, different issues that the company Starbucks has faced in the contemporary segment also described clearly. It also has stated that the research should focus on the CSR development of the company in the contemporary market. However, in the last part of the introduction chapter that is the limitation and scope, some limitations of this existing research and its scope also provided by the researcher., It indicated the future scope of the research in the market that will help the company to develop its commercial activities properly and get back its old reputation in front of its competitors.
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
Kitchen (2002) stated that in few decades CSR has played its important role in today’s marketing context. In the competitive marketing notion, the role of CSR is getting very complex and critical and therefore it gets necessary for every company to develop their CSR model in order to get benefit from it accordingly. Lewis (2003) commented that the modern CSR model also helps the companies in their decision making process and get develop their business accordingly. Nan and Kwangjun (2007) investigated that in today’s competitive edge, every companies are compete with each other in order to get their position in the international market. Therefore, the companies are not communicating with their native competitors and that’s why the CSR model is still seems incomplete and under developed for the companies. Therefore, in this chapter, the role of CSR and its impact on creating brand image of the companies among its customers has been analysed. Matten and Moon (2008) stated that strong brand image also create positive brand perception of the company in the market and therefore, the impact of the brand perception to improve the CSR also get analysed in this part as well.
2.2 Conceptual Clarifications: CSR
Micheal and Hopkins (2011) say, “CSR is a process to achieve sustainable development in societies.” Today CSR is a well known and well researched topic. Numerous literatures have been published on variety of perspectives of CSR, but the major gap that has been identified in the literature is that effective conveyance of CSR activities to the customer. However, although various studies deal with the perception of customers about CSR and its relation to the brand image, they miss out on the effectiveness of the activity itself (Williams, 2008). Hopkins (2011) also discusses the fact that, CSR includes treating the stakeholders of a company in an ethical and responsible manner. As pointed out by Kok et.al. (2001) there are two levels of corporate social responsibilities from the point of view of business firms, one of which points out the obligations of the firm to effectively implement their resource base not only to develop their profits but for the enhancement of the society and improvement of social welfare. Wilson et.al (2012) has also discussed that social welfare motives of organizations provide as strategic weapons which helps in positive interaction and communication with the society. Thus Dahlsrud (2008) in his paper has analysed 37 different definitions of CSR because he states that despite the presence of different unbiased definitions in the literature there exists an uncertainty in both corporate and academic worlds this concept (Elman and Jensen, 2014).
Waddock and Bodwell (2007, p:8) states that; “Social responsibility is used interchangeably with terms such as corporate responsibility and corporate sustainability.” CSR, in the research arena has been demonstrated as “conceptual anarchy”, as this has been perceived from various aspects. Carroll in (1991) pointed out that CSR is not a product of the 20th century but it has been in picture since businesses became profitable and it was realized that they have an responsibility towards their external environment. The significance of CSR activities was established as early as 1960’s. As per Davis (1973) it was evident that such activities which benefitted the society and environment, proved beneficial for the busineses and had long term advantages. Harrison and Freeman (1999) discusses that, in the 1980’s and 90’s it became a much more comprehensive and multidimensional concept which included concepts such as business ethics, corporate governance and also accounted for consumer interest in CSR activities and brand perceptions improvement.
In the later part of the century it was found out by researchers like Belk (2005) and Carrigan (2001) that the consumers were either primarily unaware of the socially and environmentally responsible activities of the organizations or they did not take any interest in such activities. Thus their incorporation in such activities were missing out. But at the same time, a contrast behaviour was seen noticed within a section of the consumers, who took keen interests in the beyond profit margin activities of the organizations. The influences of CSR activities were highly effective on building consumer trust and organization reputation. (Kitchen, 2002).
Carroll (1991) describes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as an integration of three major aspects, which are social, environmental and economical, conducted by the business voluntarily. The four layers are: Economic Responsibility (where the firm has to be profitable, in order to be beneficial to the society. If the firm faces losses it will be unable to take up any kind of responsibility); Legal Responsibility (the firm has to obey the laws, and abide by the rules); Ethical responsibility (obligation in the society to do right) and philanthropic responsibility (which includes the responsibility to improve life of others). The responsibilities are placed at different levels, the base of the pyramid is the economic responsibility which means its the base of the structure on which the principles are dependent. Philanthropic responsibility is the ultimate stage which is dedicated to improve quality of life of the society (Woodside, 2010).
Porter and Karmer (2006) stated that, “CSR is about creating shared value” the chain is a combination of shareholder considerations which include: corporate governance, return on investment and public reputation. These enhance the image of the company. The visions and outlook of the organization represents and builds: business integration, sustainability, and brand reputation. This leads to partnership and empowerment in the society and this is in accordance with the global regulatory framework. The role of effective leadership is also stressed in this framework. Michael E. Porter (2006) also says that this CSR value chain will help to frame a fragmented approach into a much more integrated and affirmative approach.
2.3. Dimensions of CSR
There are three main dimensions of CSR based upon the three-pillar model of sustainable development. It provides us with a framework which states that wholesome development could only be achieved by the simultaneous management of environmental, economic and social objectives (Woodside, 2010). Following the Brundtland Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, the United Nations describes Sustainability as the concept of a permanently sustainable development of economic, ecological and social dimension of human existence. These three pillars of sustainability are interdependent and require long term a balanced coordination (Castka et al. 2004).
Elman and Jensen (2014) commented that the first dimension of the CSR is that the economic dimension of the CSR that will discuss about the economic impact of the company to its performance. It has come to know that a company can able to make its business better by developing its CSR role effectively in the market. Therefore, Foote et al. (2010) stated that there are many companies that are performed to develop the CSR role of their company in order to boost up their financial performance. Fraser Robinson (2004) supported this view by indicating at the ‘Merit Award’ that has provided to an employee for its better performance and commercial activities inside the organisation.
Hence, the economic dimension of CSR is oriented with the understanding of the economic impacts of the business operations. David et al. (2005) commented that the company can set in the Multiplier Economic effect throughout the community by providing good services and salaries to its employees. It can also contribute through taxes to bring in changes in the areas they operate in (Feeney and Heit, 2007).
The social dimension of CSR pointed out by Kitchen and Schultz (2002) that the Company should have an obligation to make choices and actions which will be considered beneficial for the welfare of the society. This dimension has gained renewed recognition in the recent past, and three major areas of responsibility has been identified; responsibility towards the customers; employees and the community. Gabbay et al. (2000) stated that this includes providing safe and durable products to the customers and providing them a good value for their money. In the case of employees a socially responsible business firm will treat its employees justly with equal opportunities irrespective of their gender, sex, age, race or religion. The most important responsibility is towards the community where they operate in which they should provide and look after the health needs, prosperity and their stability (O'Connor and Netting, 2009).
The environmental dimension of CSR concerns of CSR are environment and sustainable development (Foote, Gaffney and Evans, 2010). The ecological impacts have been under conspicuous focus in the past three decades. Weaver et al. (1999) commented that the environmental impact of business firms include over use of natural non renewable resources; degeneration of biodiversity; pollution, climate change and deforestation. But the environmental problems transcend national boundaries, thus business firms should act as global actors in the global context (Deissler, 2011).
On the contrary, Olujide (2006) opined that the literature fails to provide a detailed account on who should the business firms regard as legitimate stakeholders, and their range of potential expectations from the company. Some researchers have limited the idea of CSR to the immediate community benefits but have omitted the broader implications of such actions. Lantos (2001, p. 92) have discussed about three perceptions of CSR activities such as ethical, altruistic and strategic.
2.3.1 Integrated sustainability approach:
The three-pillar model was from the developed as part of a large study. Central to this is the expansion to the institutional dimension, the operational approaches, cross-dimensional sustainability goals, the "assurance of human existence", "preservation of the social productive potential" and "preservation of the development and possibilities of action", as well as the integration of intra and intergenerational aspects of justice (Crane, 2008). This is not expected from the limited perspective of the individual dimensions, but there are - three general cross-dimensional sustainability targets projected onto the dimensions.
Becker-Olsen et al. (2008) stated that the result is operational inclusions of the general objectives in terms of sustainability-related constitutive elements of each dimension in the form of "rules.” On the other hand, Audi (2005) commented that the general objectives in detail are "securing the human existence", "preserving the social productive potential" and "preservation of the development and possibilities for action.” They represent both fundamental normative principles of justice in the sustainability in preservation or development dimension as well as their common analytical-functional premises. Intra and intergenerational aspects of justice can be seen in this context as peers and an anthropocentric perspective.”
The integrating sustainability triangle allows the continuous merging of the three dimensions of ecology, economy, and social. This shall be adjusted to the requirements of an integrated representation. Here there is the assumption of technical and scientific fields in triangular diagram. The diagram is known as Gibbs triangle, and forms a mixture of three components (x + y + z = 100%). The columns are interpreted as dimensions, which aspects of sustainability can be assigned continuously. For example, eco-efficiency concerns as an economic-ecological concept in two dimensions equally (50% + 50% ecology economics), while the biodiversity is mainly seen as an ecological theme (100% Ecology).
The central box represents a position with three, roughly equal contributions. In integrating sustainability triangle, all possible combinations can be represented. This integral representation allows for a much more nuanced analysis, more targeted involvement of other concepts (e.g. eco-efficiency) and at the same time a synoptic compilation (Wahyuni, 2012). Compared to previous approaches for a magical sustainability triangle, integrating the sustainability triangle takes advantage of the inner surface and emphasizes the interaction of the three dimensions of sustainability. It is suitable for many other applications such as; inter alia, sustainability assessment, collection of indicators or content divisions (BonJour, 2010).
2.4. Benefits of CSR
Aliseda (2006) stated that through analysing the benefits of corporate social responsibility not only help the company to develop its business but also to make expand its commercial activity in the contemporary market as well. Therefore, the benefits of the CSR can be disused in below:
Social development: BonJour (2010) argued that by developing the CSR role, any organisation can able to develop its society and the thinking of its customers accordingly. Dahlsrud (2008) stated that a company can develop the social background by providing people education, proper livings and other components. It also noticed by David et al. (2005) that some of the companies are developing their CSR role by donation, building hospitals, planning few of infrastructure projects and so on. It will help the companies in two aspects. One it will develop a positive image of the company towards the communities. Second, it also helps the organisation to develop its business in the contemporary market segment and get benefit from it.
Economic benefit: Deissler (2011) commented that the economic benefit of the company is related to its social development. Elman and Jensen (2014) supported this view and stated that the social development made by any company will attract the attention of its stakeholders and therefore, it will be helpful for the company to get develop from its economic sector and make its business expand in the commercial place. Gabbay et al. (2000) commented that stakeholders are the main resources for a firm and therefore, if the company is bale to satisfy its stakeholders first then it will seem as helpful for the company to make its business expanded in the contemporary place and get benefit from it accordingly.
Environmental benefit: Grix (2004) stated that it has seemed as the main duty for every commercial organisation to take part to make the environment sustainable to live in. Therefore, if the company will perform in the contemporary market effectively then it will seem to be beneficiary for the development of it. It not only help the company to make the society sustainable but also able to attract stakeholder to get attach with its service and make it beneficiary in the market as well. Tuckett (2005) also stated in this statement that the sustainable effort of the company also help it to provide some faithful shareholders and suppliers who will perform their activities properly in the competitive ground and always be with the company to make its reputation sustainable in the commercial place.
2.5. Challenges of Socially Responsible activities
Society does not comprise of a single stakeholder but is a combination of multiple stakeholders, which the business firm has to strategically address. This is the first major challenge of the business firm. Stakeholders have been divided into four distinct levels by Lantos (2001) such as the macro-environmental level, which comprises of larger societal factors which include the business and the society at large. Social responsibility is regarded as an obligation of business to society, as opined by Crane (2008); it is not just addressed to as response to problems but formulation of long term objectives so that the problem is mitigated in the future.
Preston (1995) commented that it is not only difficult but capital intensive to undertake such socially responsible activities. However, firms try to incorporate the Triple P’s (Profit, People and Planet) in their value system (Sharma and Kiran, 2013).
Limited local community participation is also identified in the literature as a major challenge to develop CSR activities. Sometimes there is a gap seen between the CSR initiatives taken by the companies and actual needs of the people. For example, Hopkins (2011) discusses that if a community needs employment companies should plan appropriate measures to provide sustainable jobs, to increase brand reputation and reliability.
2.6. Establishing linkages between CSR and Brand perceptions
The relationship between the two variables CSR and Brand perception is intrinsically entangled in today’s business scenario (Bonjour, 2010). In an extensive research carried out by Becker-Olsen et.al in 2006, the results show that 80% of the respondents who were consumers felt that companies should engage in social initiatives and companies with poor CSR records experience reductions in their brand image. It is necessary to understand the concept of brand before analysing its relationship with CSR activities.
2.6.1. The concept of Brand
Fraser and Robinson (2004) opined that over the years, a number of economists, cognitive, and advertising semioticians have sought to harness the concept of "brand" within their respective paradigms. The results showed considerable disagreement about what the elements of the brand are and how they interact with each other. Like most of the phenomena of communication, in fact, the concept of "brand" includes among its instances related disciplines which are also very heterogeneous (semiotics, psychology, sociology, economics, marketing, design, etc.).
Elman and Jensen (2014) reflected that the study of the components constitutive of its internal organization and its principles of operation is difficult to reduce to a single interpretative paradigm. In recent years the study of phenomena related to the brand has been progressively pushed towards a multidisciplinary approach, in an attempt to highlight the contributions of each discipline and at the same time maintain a vision of broad-spectrum (Wahyuni, 2012).
2.6.2. Brand Positioning
As per Kapferer (2008), Brand positioning is a very important aspect, which determines the experience of the brand among its customers. Strong brands acquire the capability to integrate all aspects of a product into an effective whole. The six aspects which are pointed out above show the different attributes to create an identity. The Physique is the brand’s physical features which are embodied in the minds of the customer.
Dahlsrud (2008) proposed that this aspect can evoke emotions about the product, it depends on what criteria the company wants to promote. The personality is the characteristics of the brand, which constitutes of specific character traits. Culture is the basic principles on which the brand is based Kapferer describes that the brand and the organisation’s culture has a direct relationship. These values are appreciated by the customers targeted. Relationship can be symbolized by the brand in a variety of manner. It is basically the relationship between the brand and the people.
On the contrary Bergh and Ketchen (2009) commented that reflection of the consumer: is what the user of the brand perceives. These reflections of the customers or the target group can be useful to promote the image. And the last is the Self image of the customers. This targets what other people think about the use of the product. During brand identity development all these factors are very important as it builds the future of the brand. CSR activities could influence the Brand Identity by enhancing its physique and personality (Baghi et al. 2009).
However, through the analysis, Audi (2005) has segmented the category of attributes. As per the statement, attributes are further divided into two categories: Product related and non-product related. Product related attributes are directly related to the function of the product and service, which define the product and is the main constituent. Whereas, Wilson et.al (2012) discuss that the non-product attributes are the external dimensions related to the product such as price information, packaging etc. All these attributes, benefits, and attitudes build the image of the product in the society.
Benefits are also categorized based on the motivation behind the purchasing decision of the customer. It can be functional; experiential or symbolic, these satiate a variety of underlying needs of the customer. Functional is the direct utility enjoyed by the customer, whereas experiential differs from customer to customer, and symbolic stands for satisfaction related to prestige, status or fashion (Basu, 2008).
Effective brand positioning is the main differentiating factor (also a competitive advantage) in comparison to the other industry competitors. The brand differentiating factor has to be desirable to the consumer, to act in favour of the company. This desirability is a three folded aspect which includes: the “differentiating factor should reflect relevance, distinctiveness, and believability” (Vilppo and Repo, 2011).
The CSR activities also cover these three components. Relevance is the first component, where the CSR activities are not just “Symbolic” in nature, but satisfy underlying needs of the society. Keller and Stamm (2008) suggest in their studies that most consumer behaviour is not influenced by the degree of responsibility of the product. But the ethicality of the brand can create consumer values. The relevance of their activities has to be realised by the consumers through external symbols, here Corporate Social Marketing has an influential role to play in creating brand Benefits. This helps to establish a positive linkage between the customer and the brand. Here the customer relates to the positive image of the brand to himself, which helps to define consumer value (Stamm, 2008).
The consumers must be educated about the product’s social and environmental benefits. (David, Kline and Dai, 2005) . Believability in case of CSR is built on strategic and value driven motives of the companies. To increase the believability standards of the CSR activities it is necessary for them to be engaged in CSR actions for a long period of time. It is also essential for companies to provide proof of their sustainable and responsible conduct through the use of standardized codes. Brand credibility is created through connecting the products of the company to a relevant social cause.
2.6.4. Impact of CSR on brand perceptions
Becker-Olsen et al. (2006) stated that the CSR movement has been thriving and there has been a shift in the focus of the companies to deeper and broader aspects of accountability and sustainability. Project Ocean is a recent corporate social responsibility initiative started by “Selfridges.” The objective of this campaign is to prevent selling of fish which is not sustainable. Most customers today are loyal to such brands which have involved themselves in protecting environment and other CSR programmes.
However, Bryman (2012) opined that this calls for an important and increased role of the marketing team of the company to attract the loyalty of the customers by highlighting its corporate social responsibility programmes. David et al. (2005) supported this view by stating that some companies have recently started extensive publicity and celebrity endorsements to market their products and attract customers to their products through social and entertaining means. At the same time, it is also important to not just attract customers and win their loyalty but also to maintain and sustain that loyalty over a long period in the future (Yin, 2009).
Elman and Jensen (2014) stated that the mission, vision, objectives and outcome of a corporate social responsibility programme can be best communicated to the customers by means of videos. Videos have the most vital influence on the customers. For example, there are many films and documentaries on the effect of over-fishing on environment, marine ecosystem, and entire human population. Such videos increase awareness of the general public about sustainability of the marine ecosystem and have a significant influence on the thinking and perception of the customers about marine ecosystem (Levy and Lemeshow, 2013).
There is an increasing demand from the customers for greater transparency as well as higher ethical conduct from the companies (Wilson et.al, 2014). Companies can not only influence the customers through videos on CSR programmes but also their peers in the market. The main objective of the companies should be to attract customer loyalty and for this purpose, they must choose a suitable medium to communicate with the customers about their corporate social responsibility initiatives. At the same time this must be done in a way that boosts sales and creates a brand value that lasts a lifetime.
Corporate social responsibility programmes have a very strong and significant relation with brand value and finally sales (Crane, 2008). Hence, it is very important for every company to strive to earn brand value in the market. A brand is a characteristic property that uniquely identifies products of a particular company from its peers. Brand value is also sometimes referred to as brand equity and is an intangible asset of any company. It is basically a relationship between a specific demand and offer at a particular instant of time and expresses the strength of the brand in the market. Brand equity is the summary of a no. of factors such as traits, value, recognition, loyalty, awareness, quality, and personality. Brands must be managed carefully to ascertain monetary value to a brand, called shareholder value and this process is termed as brand valuation (Servaes and Tamayo, 2013).
Brands can be of two types – concept brands and commodity brands. Brands associated with concepts which are abstract in nature and have no product associated such as awareness programmes are called concept brands. When a particular product or service is involved, the brand may be termed as commodity brand. Usually every brand has a distinctive symbol to uniquely identify the brand and the same is called as the logo of the brand. In addition to increased sales of the branded product or service, branding also helps in selling other products of these companies. For example, if customers trust Pilsbury branded biscuits, they will be more likely to buy cookies of Pilsbury also. Thus, brand value is similar to the personality of a product or service (Baghi et al. 2009).
2.6.5. CSR and Brand perceptions
CSR initiatives are becoming increasingly popular in all corporations. A new concept of CRM (Cause Related marketing) has emerged as a useful tool to improve brand image and perception. Today the consumers are well aware of the brands and their obligation and commitment to the society. These concepts have gained prominence not only in the management circles but also among the general public. This strategy is useful to communicate CSR activities to increase the brand awareness, improve brand image, through the involvement of consumer’s emotions, and establish a product-cause association. This includes the use of vivid messages to imprint the value of the brand in the minds of the customer (Sharma and Kiran, 2013). Various experiments have been investigated by researchers on how to increase the effectiveness of the strategy. One of the most useful ways is that, the marketing procedure involves a vivid description about the cause they target to improve or eliminate from the society and influence the taste and preferences of the buyer. The consumers have a tendency to increase the utility of the money they use, if companies are able to establish through their CSR initiatives that they are delivering more than just the product, it will enhance the satisfaction levels of the consumer. Therefore, this helps in altering the consumer buying decision. Thus “Cause Related marketing” (CRM) can be effectively put into use to promote CSR activities (Baghi et.al 2009).
If we discuss the role of CRM in general it includes a firm’s commitment to contribute a certain percentage of the revenue for a social cause or to a non-profit organisation, this is strategically presented to the customer through marketing to enhance loyalty and reputation. A very well known example is of General mills and their Yoplait campaign. The famous slogan which caught attention was “Save Lids to save Lives” (Nan and Kwangjun, 2007). This campaign focussed on donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, with every lid returned by the customers. The effectiveness of CRM strategy on customer perception has been an area of interest among the academicians. This has been mainly assessed by researchers through direct surveys, questioning the customers and portrayal through anecdotal stories and case studies (Aliseda, 2006).
2.6.6. Consumer Buying Decision and CSR:
Weaver et al. (1999) stated that CSR model suggests that Health; Environment; and Education are the three main areas where the various responsibilities of the firm lie. The intersection of the three zones reflects the philanthropic responsibility which is majorly targeted to improve quality of life. Olujide (2006) reflected that the various models studied through an extensive literature review suggest that the society deeply values the CSR activities of the firm. These activities enhance the opportunities associated with the firm.
On the other hand the positive forces such as customer satisfaction; enhanced loyalty levels, better stakeholder relationship and reduced regulatory interventions act as driving forces for organizations to incorporate better, meaningful and comprehensive CSR activities after acutely scrutinizing the needs of the area they operate (Wahyuni, 2012).
The model above shows that CSR influences corporate reputation, positive CSR activities enhances reputation whereas CSR activities which are done irresponsibly hamper reputation. Reputation is interlinked with customer satisfaction, both the factors decides the firm’s market value (Woodside, 2010).
Product related CSR activities target functional value, which is indirectly related to emotional value of the consumer. If the emotional, social, and functional values are targeted properly through CSR activities then the firm enjoys marketing outcomes such as loyalty, willingness to pay, and referral behaviours of the customers (Deissler, 2011). The stakeholder interests intersect with the business interests intrinsically. The domain of Strategic CSR identifies the overlapping interest zones. The salient stakeholder attributes are power; legitimacy and urgency. Through CSR initiatives competitive advantage can be gained by the organization and also new business opportunities may arise (Wilson et.al 2014)
In today’s world, the environmental issues gain prime importance among the young consumers. The specific market segments are willing to pay more for additional environmental benefits, but it is to be kept in mind that this is not universally applied and true for a certain section only. Thus, CSR activities to improve environment are regarded highly by most of the population but the willingness to pay for such actions varies. Studies have shown that the brand perception improves if such initiatives are taken intrinsically from within the organization (Crane, 2008).
This Chapter reviewed the literature overall CSR and Brand image have become intrinsically intertwined with each other. CSR provides new capabilities to companies to enrich their brand reputation and enrich brand perceptions. Various models have been used in the above section to show the established link between them. It is evident through a range of studies, that CSR and values-based management have played important roles as success factors in the long run. It has come to know that the CSR has acquired the status of a fashionable concept which every company is trying to implement to increase the strategic hold in the market.
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The research methodology chapter provides the entire framework of the undertaken research; it lays the foundation for discussion and analysis of the findings. This chapter mainly focuses on the strategy selected. Firstly, the research philosophy or paradigm is pointed out which gives background to the motive of the results, here realism is the most suitable philosophy which strategically combines positivism and interpretivism. A combined case study method along with exploratory and grounded theory attributes is seemed the most suitable methodology to substantiate the philosophy of realism, which also helps to associate abductive approach to the research. The data collection type, method and mode is also included, along with ethical considerations, weakness and strengths of the study which are discussed in different sections. Thus, this chapter provides are entire overview of the research.
3.2. Research paradigms:
Bryman (2012) describes research paradigm as “a cluster of beliefs and dictates what should be studied, how research should be done and how the results should be interpreted.” The paradigms are dependent on individual’s perception and mental models of the topic. Paradigms are important to the researcher as it can provide the base for valid arguments required to establish any point or fact. In the context Saunders et al. (2012) suggests that research paradigm is a framework of that would guide the philosophies and assumptions made for the research in terms of perception and nature of knowledge that the researcher views it from. Nevertheless, Collis and Hussey (2009) suggested that each state of paradigm can coexist and can be viewed as the extreme ends of Positivism on one and Interpretivism on the other end. Positivists take an objective approach and believe that reality is independent from the researcher and that the discovery of theory is a goal based on observation and experiment (Collis and Hussey, 2009).
There are three main assumptions of Research paradigms, which are, Epistemology, Axiology and Ontological. Research paradigms are divided into three main sections based on the way the problem of the topic is to be addressed. Positivism is regarded as a scientific approach which is heavily reliant on scientific facts and evidences, no scope of inclusion is provided for the researcher’s interpretations and observations. Whereas interpretivism which developed as a criticism of positivism accounts for researcher’s observations, but lacks scientific backing mostly. Thus developed a third genre which is the combination of the two methods, named as realism, which is the chosen philosophy for this study.
Positivism is majorly related to scientific discoveries, but it is not always so, it is the use of scientific methodology to approach a given issue. In the words of Fraser and Robinson (2004) “positivism is the scientific method of exploring the world around us”. Positivism is synonymous to quantitative methods and approaches. Quantitative analysis focuses on measurement of extent of the phenomena.
However, Foote et al. (2010) commented that there is a part that called the post positivism which has derived from the positivism research philosophy. Elman and Jensen (2014) commented that the post positivism research philosophy will help the researcher to cross check the data with the reality and analyse it in proper manner.
The Interpretivism paradigm has risen as the critic of positivism paradigm (which focuses on the use of natural science model in the social research field). It is starkly different from positivism, which hunts for objective knowledge whereas in Interpretivism is the quest for subjective knowledge. It facilitates the understanding of the phenomena (how and why) without putting it in a definite framework (or under a universal law). This paradigm helps to accommodate changes in the social processes (O'Connor and Netting, 2009).
This is a philosophical paradigm constituted of components from both positivism and constructivism. It is also known as the post-positivist paradigm. This paradigm is the midpoint where single concrete reality of positivism meets multiple realities of Interpretivism. Realism is multiple perceptions about a “single, mind independent reality” (Elman and Jensen, 2014).
The realism framework is suitable for the undertaken study because a combination of both the approaches will provide an overview and deep insight of the research issue. “Investigating the impact of CSR on brand perceptions: The case of Starbucks” is the topic which involves both quantitative analysis of the impact and qualitative outlook of the consumer perception about CSR activities. “CSR is consistent with the Realist research paradigm and qualitative data collection methods” (Woodside, 2010). Realism is appropriate for researching underlying mechanisms that drive particular human actions and events. Under the realism paradigm usually structured and semi-structured interviews are used, and statistical analysis which is framed with the help of structural equation and modelling is also included within the paradigm (Aliseda, 2006).
Justification of choosing post positivism research philosophy:
Gabbay et al. (2000) commented that the post positivism research philosophy has derived from the epistemology research paradigm that reflected that the researcher must have to focus on the reality approach of the facts of the research. In the case study of Starbucks, the impact of the brand perception of customers on the CSR of the company has analysed. However, in this case, the post positivism research philosophy will help the researcher to analyse its every aspect in critical manner. Hopkins (2011) commented that through using the post positivism, research philosophy, the researcher will able to cross check the data that has collected from the market and analyse it will the reality. It also helps the researcher to get aware about the fact of the company and its contemporary market performance and therefore, it will seem as helpful for the researcher to justify the research philosophy in a proper manner.
Bryman (2012) has commented in this aspect that while the corporate social responsibility deals with societal and philosophical aspect of an organisation a post positivism therefore helps in explaining the study with due references of some social and philosophical aspects of reality. The analysis of fact will not possible in the interpretivism and the realism aspect because these philosophies are dealt with the realistic manner and therefore, the researcher cannot able to analyse the all data in its realistic approach that only possible in the post positivism philosophy. Therefore, the researcher has chosen it in order to provide accurate and realistic data in the market and get benefit from it.
3.3. Research approach
There are numbers of approaches of research and selection of the right one is of vital importance as it enables a more informed decision making. Jackson (2010, p. 107) had argued that, in order to understand fathom the nature of practicality of a body of an organization, the process of thinking as well as the knowledge involves different approaches of research. The two main approaches are inductive and deductive approaches (BonJour, 2010). The primary difference between these two approaches, in simple terms, is that while Deductive approach proceeds towards hypothesis building with the aid of theories towards research strategy designing, Inductive approach proceeds from observations and generalizations towards constructing theories from these observations (Yin, 2009).
3.3.1. Inductive Approach
The inductive approach is seen as “bottom up approach,” where observations and findings lead to the theory formation. The specific observations sometimes lead to identification of patterns and regularities in the process of an issue, which leads to the development of probable hypotheses which are still unexplored, and this leads the researcher to frame some general conclusions. Under the concept of inductive approach it has been considered that the results will be valid of they belong to the same category despite being under same case. The facts however, need to be different for different situations. Thus, reasoning is important and that shifts from observation phase to the phase of conceptualization and theories (Feeney and Heit, 2007).
3.3.2. Deductive Approach
Krishnaswamy et.al (2009) had pointed out that, this kind of approach is considered less risky as they only helps estimate the consequences of a particular explanation and the truth is held fast. This kind of approach deserves numerical analysis of data and that too from a large number of samples in order to be able to reach a conclusion that is required in the research. This is generally called the “top down approach” to handle an issue, also known as the waterfall approach. A theory is formulated first on the basis of which hypothesis are framed, observations are made accordingly to confirm the hypothesis, thus the movement is from general to more specific. It is very different from inductive reasoning which is much more open and provides scope to the researcher to explore, but deductive reasoning is constricted and narrow in nature which restricts the researcher to explore beyond the scope of the research. The researcher is limited within the bounds of the hypothesis. Both inductive and deductive reasoning is based on formal logic (Yin, 2009).
Justification of choosing deductive approach:
Through the analysis of the deductive approach, it has noticed that this approach will help the researcher to conduct the study based on previous research theories and models. It also has reflected by Bergh and Ketchen (2009) that through using the deductive research approach, the researcher can able to make analysis all the part of the research and able to get its theoretical base. However, Baghi et al. (2009) commented that the research approach will help the researcher to choose its own way of describing the research properly in the market.
However, in the current research topic of the impact of brand perception to improve the CSR of the company Starbucks, it has been noticed that the researcher has choose the deductive approach because it will help the researcher to analyse all the data on its theoretical base. The challenges and the benefits of CSR that are analysed in the literature review p-art are stated the theoretical approach of the research that will help the researcher to provide accurate and proper analytical information in the market that will help the company also to get some recommendation and use it to develop its business accordingly. Nevertheless, here Denzin and Lincoln (2005) suggests that the qualitative research have the tendency to have interpretivism paradigm, thus here the qualitative is used as data source as it serves the study of CSR in the best fashion from behavioural, attitude, Culture point of view.
3.3.3. Combination of Inductive and Deductive methods: Abductive Approach
“Abductive reasoning typically begins with an incomplete set of observations and proceeds to the likeliest possible explanation for the set. Abductive reasoning yields the kind of daily decision-making that does its best with the information at hand, which often is incomplete” (Aliseda, 2006). Inductive and deductive approaches are not mutually exclusive but to some extent complementary to each other. The nature of social research is very different unlike scientific procedures, thus very often a combination of both the approaches are used effectively. The perspectives of the both the approaches are very different like in inductive approach the researcher is looking for new phenomena or understanding a existing phenomena from a distinct perspective, but deductive approach is much more concerned with understanding the causes behind a given phenomena. The researches in which both the approaches are combined are called mixed research. Deductive approach is highly positivist in nature whereas inductive approach is linked with Interpretivism. The researcher frames the uses of the approaches according to the suitability of the issue. It is seen how both the methods are incorporated within a single framework to reduce the weaknesses and increase the strengths.
In the concerned research on “Investigating the impact of CSR on brand perceptions: The case of Starbucks”, the Abdicative approach is most suited, to study the relationship between the variables of the study. Through a case study, the relationship between the variables will be observed and at the end, the confirmation of the relationship will be determined. The research paradigm Realism is a combination of positivism and Interpretivism, where, positivism is majorly deductive, and Interpretivism is associated with inductive research. Thus, realism demands a combination of both inductive and deductive approaches. Deduction will emphasize on the scientific evidence, and induction will help analyze the qualitative data and understand the meanings and perspectives of human attached to the event, which in this case is of utmost importance, as brand perception is completely based on human perceptions. To establish the relationship between CSR and the brand perception qualitative data is essential. Again the triangulation process that use both qualitative and quantitative methods as in semi structured interview and questioners, follows the same research study while adopting one specific view (Denzin, 1977).
3.4. Research strategy: Case Study
There are various types of research strategies: Experiment; Survey; Case Study; Grounded theory; Ethnography; Action Research, Cross sectional and longitudinal studies, exploratory, descriptive and explanatory studies (Bergh and Ketchen, 2009). The most suitable strategies with respect to this research are discussed briefly; Experiment is a classical form of research strategy which is a definition of theoretical hypothesis with the help of selected sample population. These samples are then exposed to different experimental conditions to test the given hypothesis. These strategies help to formulate or define new relationships between variables, or study the behaviour of the relationship from a variety of perspective. Experimental method would have been suitable in case of a broader study based on this research topic, but as we use a single case study experiment is not applicable. Grounded theory is developed from a range of observations and predictions and further affirmation of the predictions through observations. It is the most appropriate example of inductive research approach. The theoretical framework is framed after the data is collected. Therefore, this grounded theory is most suited in our case. Exploratory study is done to clarify understanding of an existing problem through extensive search of literature, taking expert views on the subject. This helps in building a better and a clear understanding of the problem and assessing a solution from a new perspective, where as descriptive research strategy is used to provide detailed description of a person or a detailed account of any event or situation. Survey through questionnaires and structured interviews are used to collect data from the sample population and use the results as required to fulfil the purpose of the research. Although Case study approach is most suited we combine grounded theory, exploratory study through survey as our chosen mode of operation.
Case Studies as defined by Robson (2011, p: 88) “a strategy for doing research which involves empirical investigations of a particular contemporary phenomenon within a real life context using multiple source of evidence”. Case studies are usually helpful when the research questions are based on “how” and “Why”. Each of the strategies discussed above have particular advantages and disadvantages, depending upon the research questions the most appropriate strategy has to be selected. Sometimes multi-method approaches are used in some studies. It is useful to use multi-method approach because this helps to incorporate different strategies according to the need and also helps in triangulation.
There are three definite characteristics of a case study, firstly; a certain phenomenon is explored with a particular context, secondly the researcher has the discretion to use multiple methods in order to collect both quantitative and qualitative data and lastly no particular boundaries are set at the start of the research (Yin, 2009). The exploratory case study is the most appropriate in the case of this research, as we are exploring the impacts of CSR on brand perception. It is a relatively new topic; a vast source of literature is not present. But the sources that are present the relationship between the two variables: CSR strategies and Brand perception is studied.
3.5 Data collection methods
There is various data collection methods, the two major categories of data are qualitative and quantitative data. The various techniques used to collect data provide us with different quality and quantity of data. Quantitative data collection methods provide representative and broadly generalized information about the sample population (O'Connor and Netting, 2009). This type of data reveals overall characteristics and distinctions within the population. Whereas through a qualitative method, (such as a focus group discussion) provides the minute details and distinction of perception within the studied population. Quantitative data is precise in nature and can be collected at different time points. It is generally related to the positivist paradigm, as it is scientific in nature and represents high levels of data reliability. For this research both primary and secondary data is used. Primary data is collected from the customers and managers of Starbucks for the purpose of understanding the company’s current CSR strategies and the consumers’ responses pertaining to these strategies, respectively. Secondary data is collected from various internet sources. Secondary data of Starbuck’s core competitors is also be studied in order to comprehend the topic better and create a potent theoretical framework. It would also be utilized for substantiating the results fetched from primary data and work towards making logical conclusions and recommendations. Both primary and secondary data are important as they together cover every aspect of the study being undertaken (Bryman, 2012). Qualitative data is generally transient, only understood within the context and associated with the interpretivism paradigm which usually results in findings with a high level of validity (Collis and Hussey, 2009).
3.5.1. Semi structured Interviews
It is mainly a qualitative data collection tool, where the researcher interviews the sample population. Semi structured interviews are incorporated within this study because this provides scope to the researcher to explore the various impacts of CSR strategies. The semi structure interviews were organised in the month of August, 2014 with the managers of Starbucks. The interviews were conducted through a period of three days during the first week of the month. Open ended questions were provided in order to understand the in house perceptions of the topic. The opinions about the brand and the impacts of the CSR strategies on the customer perception are essentially captured through these interviews. Semi structured questionnaire provides scope for the researcher to probe on certain areas of interest or relevance to gain some added information and better understanding of the concepts. An interview schedule was prepared prior to the interviews (this ensures that the relevant topics are covered during the interview) which were conducted over the telephone according to time suitability of the respondent, during first week of August. The questions framed were directly linked with the literature studied, to understand the existing gaps or shift from contemporary perception.
3.5.2. Conducting the interviews
The interviews with the managers and the employees were conducted over the phone. Telephonic interview is the most suitable mode of interaction because of the suitability of the time. The personal interviews were fixed as per the given appointments. Ten managers from Starbucks were contacted for the purpose and the first five to respond were chosen for the study. In the beginning of the interview a complete overview of the research topic was provided to them. As it was a semi structured interview, the questions were lined up accordingly to the conversation, but all the important headings of the discussions were covered. Each interview ranged from 20 to 30 minutes, and at the end of the interview, the respondents had summarized and given the main points. The interviews focussed on the company perspective of impact of brand image through CSR perspectives in different related departments.
The survey was conducted to get an overview of the customer perception of the brand and how it is influenced through CSR activities. The customers of the Starbucks are the key players in this aspect. This was sent across to each one of them via email for the purpose of saving time in the process. The questions were addressed together information about their perception of brand image and CSR activities and its relation to the consumer buying behaviour. The surveys with closed and open ended questions were conducted with the consumers and managers of Starbuck.
3.5.4. Sampling Method
There are principally two types of sampling methods Probability and non probability sampling. Purposive random sampling technique was implemented during the selection of the managers and employees, (people from the CSR and marketing related departments had equal chances of being chosen in the sample population). One of the drawbacks of non probability sampling is that the population chosen is not considered representative. As the realist paradigm is adapted to do these study both quantitative and qualitative data is collected through purposive non probability sampling (Levy and Lemeshow, 2013).
3.5.5. Ethical Considerations
The data collected for this research is based on the perceptions of the consumers and the in house employees. The data should be collected in such a way that the business operation and reputation of the said organization could not get hampered. If the data used for the research could pose harm on the business operation of any branch of any company, then a serious legal action might be taken against the researcher. The identities of all interviewees were promised to be kept confidential. Along with this, the research should be done in a manner so that it is not biased at all. The questioner should not affect the cultural and ethical aspects of the customers. The participants would take part of the survey at their own will and the interviewee would have enough freedom and opportunity to back out from the process of interview at once he feels uncomfortable. Permission was taken from the head-office of Starbucks to conduct the interview in their outlets.
3.6. Data Analysis:
Elman and Jensen (2014) stated that normally quantitative and qualitative data has been analyzed in a detailed manner in this research; two different tools have been used for the different types of data. For qualitative analysis, we have used the thematic analysis method in which the researcher has given a detailed overview of the views of the managers and has been categorised into major and permeated themes. Statistical tool such as MS Excel have been used to analyse quantitative data. The analysis section in the next chapter has a detailed discussion on the various data collected.
However, as the current research topic deals with the CSR role of the company Starbucks, therefore qualitative analysis in isolation as had been conducted by the researcher in order to get accurate information from the stakeholders of the company and analyse it in proper form and statements. Galbreath (2009) commented that in the quantitative analysis, the researcher should only able to use the close end questionnaire to analyse and interpreted the data. In this analysis, the researcher does not able to collect the proper feedback of the customers. Hughes (2001) stated that quantitative analysis will provide some selected feedback of stakeholders to the researcher that has prepared by the researcher. On the other hand, the application in the qualitative analysis, the stakeholders are allowed to express their feelings about the performance and CSR role of Starbucks to the researcher that seems helpful for the researcher to get unbiased, as the interview structures were view of stakeholders and accurate information to analyse it in proper manner.
Hence, the primary data that has collected by the researcher through surveying method to the stakeholders of the company Starbucks are analysed in its qualitative manner. It will help the researcher to get accurate feedback of the people knowing the brand and therefore, the researcher also able to establish the accuracy of its research properly in the market.
3.7. Strengths of the methodology
In the approach of the study both inductive and deductive reasoning has been combined, this has helped the researcher to choose the approach according to the needs of the study. As the researcher has adopted the realism paradigm for the study both the strengths of Interpretivism and positivism is strategically used. This has proved greatly beneficial for the research, because a new perspective has been used in this form of the research. The quantitative data collected from the sample could be effectively interpreted with the help of qualitative data. With the help of inductive reasoning approach, the researcher could also focus on the current limitations of the research area. Deductive reasoning on the other hand helped to organize the observation of the researcher to confirm the hypothesis. Thus this work implements an overall rounded approach to frame the study methodically.
3.8. Weaknesses of the methodology
The work would be carried out based upon Starbucks, UK and thus, its results might not be applicable for organizations operating in other fields of business. In fact, the results might not even be applicable to Starbucks stores operating in other geographical locations (nations). The results fetched are based upon a relatively smaller sample size and thus, the derived results might lack generalizability. Neverthless, the already assumed ideas and notions of the researcher may lead to bias laden outcomes. Thus the personal interviews entirely, semi structured were not conducted in person, the researcher could have missed out on the non verbal expressions of the respondent, which is equally important for interpretation.
This chapter is the base of the entire research, which deals with the approaches, strategies, design, sampling, data collection methods, and ethical issues. This is the framework to achieve the outlined aims and objectives of the study. The chapter is categorized purposefully by the researcher to bring out the effectiveness of the strategies used, and also lays the foundation for the analysis of the findings in the next chapter.
CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS
This chapter is the core chapter, which brings out the findings of the data collected from the sample population to achieve the aims and objectives of this research. A detailed literature review has helped to link these results to the existing literature, and has offered a deeper understanding of the topic. The present study’s outcomes have provided an explanation of the role of CSR to the consumers. The perceptions have become clear on what meets consumer expectations in terms of CSR strategies and how it could be build to aim a greater brand perception in the market. This chapter is divided into three sections: the first provides the results obtained from consumers, the second is the perceptions of Starbucks managers and the third discusses the results with respect to the objectives of the research.
4.2. Data Analysis method: Thematic analysis
Thematic analysis is a method of categorizing qualitative data and inputs in an organized and a detailed manner so that it brings forward the related aspects of the research topic. It also analyses the various patterns and themes, which are found in the data. This research tool is very flexible in nature and is helpful to deal with complex qualitative data (Ritchie, 2013). Nevertheless, since in such a case both qualitative and Quantitative data would be used to come to a solid conclusion that matches the study subject Thematic Analysis is been chosen for the steps to be induced henceforth. Holloway and Todres (2003) suggest that the thematic analysis has to be interpreted as the foundation methods for complex qualitative analysis. Since CSR activities are such that includes complex qualitative data as got from the Starbuck Managers and Qualitative inputs as got from the 20 consumers of the brand needs to be comprehended, again since the qualitative data to be used is something that is per caption based answer, thus the Thematic analysis suites best in the case. In the first point of the thematic analysis, it has been reflected that the company must focus on the critical issue of the CSR in that will be similar with the CSR model of Starbucks in the contemporary field. It is necessary for the company to develop its brand perception and brand image proper in the market that will help it to develop its business and CSR in the market as well. It must remember by the company that proper brand perception will help it to develop its business and also the CSR model and attract its stakeholders to get attach with its business and make it beneficiary in the commercial place (Kindly refer to Appendix for Questions).
4.3. Limitations of Thematic analysis
Ritchie (2013) also points out that there are various limitations of thematic analysis, like it often restricts the researcher to develop specific guidelines to include a variety of data. Another constraint is that there are no guidelines outlined to follow, so the scope of this research tool is unlimited and may be very difficult to implement in case of very minute data. In order to limit the restrictions imposed by the tool, the researcher has to continuously evaluate and analyse every phase of the work. It is also necessary for the researcher to draw meaningful connections between the themes developed and the objectives of the study. Otherwise, the results interpreted will only merely be considered as descriptions.
4.4. Why Alternative Methods were not found Appropriate
Popoli (2011) stated that there are several analytical data that will help the researcher to interpret all the research segments properly. It has noticed by Ritchie (2013) that the narrative analysis, grounded analysis will help the researcher to analyse all the data in proper manner. It also noticed by Servaes and Tamayo (2013) that the narrative analysis will provide a base of transcript that will help the researcher to analyse all the data in proper manner. It is also evident to know that the narrative analysis of the research will help the researcher to analysis all the segments in proper way. It will help the researcher to interconnect the aim and objectives of the research and analyse all the data in proper manner.
As the aim of the research is to develop the an in-depth analysis of the research and fulfil all the segments of the research accordingly, therefore, it can state that the researcher must follow all the guidelines that described in the narrative ground and help the researcher to analyse the data in proper manner. However, narrative analysis is the part of the thematic analysis while content analysis also reflected as an important part of this ground. It has been noticed by Stamm (2008) that the content analysis will be conducted in the small scale of stakeholder’s feedback while the narrative analysis will occurred in the large scale analysis. It also noticed that as the current research deals with the CSR role of the stakeholders of Starbucks, therefore, it will be noticed by the researcher that the content analysis will not applicable in it properly. The stakeholders of Starbucks are situated in vast areas of market. Not only that the geographic segment of the market where the company has expanded its business, are its stakeholders also belong from that area. Therefore, it has been seemed as the important role for the company to analyse its stakeholder’s feedback proper and improve the CSR according to this. In this context, content analysis will not applicable in the part and therefore, the researcher has to select the narrative part of the analysis to explain the every segment of the research properly.
4.5. Focus on Thematic analysis
The thematic analysis focuses on various aspects. In the analysis of the CSR role of the company Starbucks and the impact of the brand perception to improve the CSR role, it has been noticed that as the company has faced major problems in the market therefore, it will affected its business as well. Therefore, after noticing on the performance of the company, the thematic analysis has focused on three aspects. These are the- conceptual model of CSR ad brand perception of the company Starbucks. Second is the importance of the brand perception in the contemporary market and third is that proposed for a new model that will help the company to develop its business in the contemporary field and get benefit from it.
4.5. The Questioner preparation: Thematic analysis research Focus
The research questions were framed keeping the following in mind where the questioner for the consumers and managers were designed to investigate the following.
4.6. Categorizing theme
The data analysis program thematically shall categorize the themes in the study. As recommended, Braun and Clarke (2006, pp. 88) six phases of such process can be followed. They in steps would be to identify the data and get familiarized, generating codes, searching themes, review themes, mane and defining the theme and lastly result production. Thus it can be derived that in such a case the research needs to read and reread the data collected in Qualitative to read between the lines to draw a conclusion. Again the code for each findings or naming the findings with Literary sources can also occur in the process. Nevertheless, the data and the codes are associated with the topic of the research in deriving the code for each data extracted in the process. Thus the research aim and questions framed in the beginning of the process can be matched with the results received in the process of answering and thus the interview motives too. The data thus was collected keeping the inductive approach was done as if to find a new relationship and investigation where the data collected were later linked with objectives for the deduction of results.
Braun and Clarke (2006, p.90) suggests that the data extracts are to be combined based on similarities in order to create the initial themes and place these into a thematic map which showed how all the initial themes and data extracts linked to each other. Finally, the thematic map was condensed leaving three major themes and three permeated themes. Now the permeative themes were being categorized the the research followed the themes into tables with short descriptions pertaining to the issues listed for easy understanding.
Therefore from the aforesaid table the network diagram emerges. The elements those have a major influence in developing the Corporate Social Responsibility for Starbuck are as creation of Social, economical and Environmental needs for the locality that it is working in and in combinations with all cultures those enhance the business and brand image of the brand. The permeated or already existing conditions those which the brand addresses came out of the interviews of the Starbuck stakeholders.
The network diagram above suggests the themes received out of the interview conducted by the researcher to have the social, Environmental and Economic dimension while the Permeated findings were based out of Redundancy crisis, Cultural relationships and Community development of those economy that the business operates in. Thus the themes would be separately discussed with relevant supporting as received from the interviews conducted.
The Questions were asked to find the two major needs or themes of CSR as perceived by the business therefore one was from the point of view of the Business economics and the CSR response to the Social needs thus were conducted likewise. Themes immerging like Social, environmental and Economical are all from the consumer’s point of view while the redundancy of such similar offerings, cultural acceptability of such business along with living standards are all considered in the permeated theme considering the location that the business is operating in.
4.7. Supporting Evidences for Major Themes and Permeated themes
The Social, environmental and Economical factors are been studied here where the managers of Starbuck was asked the necessity to have such CSR at all in their business. The major outcomes for the brand like Starbuck is in its attraction of happening and changing innovative taste of product that makes it so special in the economies that they are already present in like UK and US. However, the managers had the view that the Central mission in developing such major themes while formulating the Starbuck marketing and branding was to incorporate the taste of the land that it operates in. The Meta-theoretical approach would suggest that people or the perspective consumers would be looking at a brand and its offerings, thus the building of the Brand equity for the business or the image needs a Psychological approach in its execution. Thereby the brand has made it a part of its strategy to incorporate the CSR as a part of brand equity development in the places that it operates.
Commitment to Origins: This part is interesting where the Starbuck is their selves promoting the growth and development of Coffee at the places where the best coffee beans are acquired on the Globe. This commitment towards the farmers and plantation workers of Starbuck ensures that the business gets the best of the crops and ensures long term longevity of the product in the future times. The origins of coffee beans in African and Latin American nations are being invested upon heavily to receive the best outcome from the plantations. The bipartite benefits are that the brand dose in this case is ensuring the growth of both business and plantation communities as a whole.
Commitment to Environment: The commitment to environment in terms of developing and promoting the Green Teams where the people are continuously engaged in building new and wider greenery environment friendly steps to see the depleting green resources of the globe can be assisted along with it the carbon footprint reduction measures.
Commitment to Community (Social): The responsibility of the business is to build the responsible neighbourhood both for itself and people living in it. The commitment of the brand is to have the consumers and stakeholders of Starbuck to work, play and live in the harmonious conditions and have enough satisfaction thereof.
Commitment To partners: The partners in this are each one who is anyway related directly or indirectly with the brand. For an example employee and consumers are both partnering to make the business run therefore both of them are partners to Starbuck. Thus this may be said that the partner’s developments are directly linked with the brand in maintaining its image socially and thus involve a large space.
The Redundancy Crisis: This is a major challenge where the brand actually needs to build its CSR strengths to be applicable for all or the mass in the economy that it operates in. Thus to keep the brand valid the crisis like unemployment, poor literacy needs to be irradiated else the society as a whole wont progress and the business would be redundant in no time. Thus the CSR includes this activity to see that the disposable income, health and security like issues are all well answered to block redundancy as a whole.
4.8. Supporting Qualitative Findings and Discussion
The informal interview with the people associated with Starbuck suggests that the CSR had been a key with the brand since its inception. Manager 2 suggested that since the brand was much dependent upon the image to lure consumers thus the trust and attractive qualities in the brand’s image was necessary. Again, Manager 3 and 1 suggested that the Offerings of Starbuck is such that people comes to the brand with expectations from it and thus the brand always have to build and maintain the perception alive in among the members of the community. The role of the CSR is to engage people associated with into activities those help the larger social causes those are propagated by the brand. Therefore in deriving such a scheme the managers explained that the people associated with the brand needs to be completely aware of the nature of CSR that the brand dose along with it the trainings are conducted by the brand to ensure that the awareness about the major and Permeated issues of Starbuck are been dealt in a fashion that befits the strategic approach of the brand. Nevertheless, the managers also agreed that the people and partners of Starbuck are continuously engaged in their daily life as part of the culture at Starbuck to sustain the CSR activities as carried by the brand. However, the manager 2 and 4 had the point of view to look into the CSR as a venture for profitable measures where the industry needs to put more money. Manager 1 had the counter that the brand doesn’t have enough money as due to global crisis in markets that it operates therefore the rate of risks in making investments for CSR gets reduced, no matter what the strategic and corporate objectives are.
Thus it can be suggested that the people associate with Starbuck is deeply associated with the CSR cultures that is being inculcated at the business. Again CSR is a healthy way to flourish and develop the brand image that too is well understood by the strategy managers of the brand. Therefore the association of the Strategic managers with the brands CSR responsibilities are imparted in each of the business aspects where the culture and policies along with operational processes are developed likewise. However a lot needs to be done in such a case where CSR is being a part of business strategies therefore the wholesome approach of multiple businesses are sleeked in this case where the social development would affect in joint direction with a common goal.
The chapter in the research has dealt with the qualitative data as received from the managers and stakeholders of Starbuck. The findings shows the qualitative inputs from each of the managers points to a direction where the CSR activities are given more prominence in the business brand image development. The major and permeated themes of the Starbuck’s orientation of CSR was also evaluated and identified along with their commitment for future steps needed to be taken for improvements. The following chapter would draw the conclusion and suggest few desirable recommendations those may be critical for the business in its strategy formulation for even more outputs of fruitful activities those enhance the CSR actions undertake
CHAPTER FIVE: CLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The research in this portion shall focus upon the primary and secondary data analysis to investigate into the norms of the Corporate Social responsibility and brand Perception ideologies those are been found in the process. Starbuck had been the underpinned structure that has mostly viewed in the CSR and effective brand image development considerably well. The chapter aims in the concluding portions those were found out of the data recovered in the process of the research both from managers and people who are consumers in general to the brand in context. The gaps those were existing in the current literature review where necessity for further research is been lured into for implementation of the cleaner perception of the objectives set in the set of the research process. The literature review and the primary data analysis had been in the ritual of research process findings in the course of the process. However, recommendations for the scope and findings were also outlined in the chapter along with the summary of the find data in the scope.
5.2. Evaluation and Analysis of Key Findings
The Corporate social responsibility aspect is a very subtle issue that the people using the brand may not always be aware of. This may occur due to lack of knowledge or a gap in the communication from the business side. However, the brand exercises efficient care in demonstrating the CSR as part of marketing activity. CSR is pointed at the society development where the brand and business has nothing to gain but the fame of contribution to the cause those are perceived as useful by the market in general. The Literature points towards the CSR as he legal symbolism and in the other end the same is been used as a tool to implement long term strategic changes for the business environment. The communities and the people among whom the business operates are to be determined from among the segment it serves or the nation and such demographic perspectives. The case of Starbuck is a great one in terms f determining how the brand image or the perceived value the brand carries in terms of its appeal to people in actual situation those attracts mass support for the cause. The managers for the brand needs to be more strategic CSR long term plan orientation requirement based decision making. Nevertheless, the educational and communication of the activity to the actual users is also another part that was felt in the process of the research.
The brands needs t develop better strategies in terms of promoting the benefits as well as reap from them in the process Furthermore, the same message should reach the societal frame work in the larger crowd to create a perceived positivism about the product offerings. Thus for Starbuck too the societal environmental and community like assignments that they have undertaken are being looked into critically by the process of research and the linking f the objectives as framed are been linked.
The findings for the research were done in accordance to the objectives set in the beginning of the research process. In accordance to the answers received in the research process that objectives can be linked in accordance to the findings from the data analysis process. The CSR activities and the brand image and perceptions of the consumers thereof are elaborated in objective linking as below.
Objective 1 - To review existing conceptual models and theoretical issues related to CSR and brand perceptions
The objective here was to understand and critically analyze the efforts made by the individual brands in connection to CSR and thus link them with models and theories as published in earlier sources. The research end in conclusion that the activities in the CSR processes are basically focused on environment protection, societal development, economic growth like issues along with plantation community as in the case of Starbuck. The waste management, recycling carbon emission reduction foot print reduction like activities had been at par with the policies and procedures as take by the brand. However, the specific development of programmes and their implementation seems hazy in effort and effect at Starbuck. The majority of the CSR activities are but assumed as the marketing motive but the factorization functions as a whole still remains to be observed in the brand. Nevertheless the community development and local neighbourhood activities are well received and perceived by the consumers and managers but the larger development of social friendly transmission of image still remains to be observed in the Starbucks communications. The majority views it as the marketing fashion to create gimmick but the factual effects those are realized by effective CSR needs further percolation among the people working with the brand. Nevertheless, the relevance of the star buck’s activities stays relevant among the existing stakeholders as surveyed but the larger image stay blurred
Objective 2: To identify the importance of CSR on brand perceptions
The second objective of the research was to identify the importance of CSR on brand perceptions The survey conducted makes the impression that the CSR remains a key element of business in context to the long term image building and improved consumer satisfaction. The improved brand image got with the activities conducted takes a space of goodness among the consumer perception. This perception in correlation to the strategies implemented would further strengthen loyalty in the long run for the business. The perceived importance for the brand is to achieve that corner in the perspective consumers mind about the good things that the brand care for that turns the perception or the image and identity for the brand. The implications of the positive CSR strategies as is conducted at star buck is aimed towards the consumer impression building in a larger sense than actual what happens on the ground. The improved consumer loyalty and perception of a eco-socio friend brand image has been developed however. The consumer satisfaction in knowing that the spending of theirs are not only the going to profits and growth of the business itself but also for alibi brands associated. The assortment of the consumer loyalty received out of the CSR measures is immense for Starbuck.
Objective 3: To formulate a model that could address how CSR will improve brand perceptions
The third objective of the research was to formulate a model that could address how CSR will improve brand perceptions. The research and analysis finds that the model that can be used by the brand to improve upon its existing image as perception goes to the consumers. The brand knows it well that once the image is good the consumers would feel attracted anyway. However, the training and development of the employees and the manager’s awareness about the brand competent CSR activity in specifics are yet to come. In the operations the profitability is the key for business thus the better the image or the consumer’s image perception the better is the competitive advantage as perceived by the brand. Nevertheless, a number of thing those needs to be adopted for the brand is further been explained in the recommendation section but the key would be to develop the internal processes like training and awareness about the inherent business culture of CSR has to be understood by the people involved in management. Nevertheless, the observation as suggested that the better the perceived values for the brand are the better are the implications in terms consumer loyalty increased brand awareness and such positive attributes in business.
5.4. Recommendations and managerial implications
The recommendations made in this study are based upon all objectives of the research. This research makes the following recommendations with respect to improvement of CSR of Starbucks.
The efforts that the brand is making in improving its image through the CSR activities are to be seen by the stakeholders and businesses perspective clients. In the case of Starbuck the researcher would put forward 2 distinct recommendations and thereby the further sub-activities related can be undertaken. The major one is the employee training where the employees can be made to talks and thinks and discuss ideas of improvements with people visiting the outlet. This has a dual impact the consumers know what actual Starbuck is promoting and the employees in turn learns the responsibilities of being the brand stakeholders for the society as a whole. The managerial implications therefore would be to increase the knowledge and be updated of the view in regards to the Starbucks offerings The casual interactions with the clients can change the perceptions so much that the strategic practice of the CSR in cultural foundations and thus operations in the business can be achieved by the Starbuck.
Another way the inward reflection of the brand about the activities they conduct has to be assessed and efficiently communicated to all. The shops may keep journals and newsletters along with journal publications of the activities they perform and communicate the same to the larger audience. Here the social media can play a vital role where the little information of the Starbuck consumer’s forum can be audio visually updated about the process undertaken and benefits that the community reaped out of it. Thus association of innovative ideas to implement and accordingly market the same to all stakeholders remains primary for the brand as the recommendations goes. The root level changes the ground realities can be used to pro ote the cause this for not only the community in particular but also for the awareness and knowledge of the people as a whole.
5.5. Future Scope for Research
There is immense scope for future research in this topic, as the relationship between CSR activities and brand perceptions are critical. The literature fails to provide diverse ways in which brand perceptions could be built with the effective implementation of CSR mechanisms. Moreover, this research is constricted in nature due its location and company specific analysis. Further research could be done on a larger scale to analyse country wise perceptions about CSR strategies and their impacts.
At the initial level, the companies need to assess the needs of the community as a whole where they could effectively contribute through their CSR activities. This would help them to build a positive image among the community and the customers. The customers assess the achievements of the companies through two important criteria, that is, a company’s commitment to improve the issue and its relational exchange in the course of the commitment. Whereas the managers’ responses which are analysed through thematic analysis shows that CSR has two broad aspects, it can be used for both personal gains and for welfare of the society as a whole. However, this case study of Starbucks has made it clear that there needs to be sync between CSR strategies planned by the managers, and what people/ customers actually need in reality. With this, we could conclude that today customers are quite aware of the CSR strategies, and could become loyal to the brands that have evolved themselves in the various actions such as protecting the environment and other programs of CSR.
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