Corporate social responsibility communication: a consumer survey at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
Keywords:Corporate social responsibility, Consumer perceptions, Consumer attitudes, Consumer behaviour, Survey, Zoo visitors, South Africa
Globalisation and increased stakeholder pressure have compelled companies to be more creative in their pursuit of legitimacy in contemporary society. Against this background, companies are expected to establish a reputation associated with corporate social responsibility (CSR) and good corporate citizenship. The purpose of this article is to determine whether there is a relationship between consumer perceptions of, and consumer attitudes toward, a corporate sponsor’s CSR activities and its resultant impact on consumer behaviour. By means of replication, the research focuses on consumer perceptions, attitudes and behaviour by testing the generalisability of an American study’s research instrument in the South African context. Survey data were collected from a target population of adult zoo visitors. Significant findings reveal a correlation between consumer recall of a corporate sponsor’s involvement with a prominent South African zoo (the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, or NZG) and positive consumer perceptions toward a corporate sponsor’s CSR activities; and regular consumer use of the corporate sponsor’s products and positive perceptions towards the corporate sponsor’s CSR activities. The findings also suggest that managers should be aware of consumer scepticism associated with CSR communication. A good corporate reputation is furthermore necessary to support successful CSR activities.