Is the grass always greener on the global side of the fence? The influence of environmental CSR communication source, initiative reach and consumer global identity on corporate credibility and attitude towards global and local brands.

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In an increasingly competitive market place, global and local companies are trying to create brand value and to distinguish themselves from their competitors through their intangible attributes. A company’s corporate credibility and consumers’ attitude towards the brand are not only influenced by the brand’s product anymore, but also by the brand’s societal and environmental behavior. Corporate Environmental Responsibility Communication (CERC) is one opportunity for companies to inform consumers about their positive impact on society and to build valuable intangible assets for the brand. However, empirical research about CERC is scarce. Global Consumer Culture Positioning (GCCP) theory assumes that global brands might have an inherent advantage over local brands, which was assumed to also influence the effectiveness of CERC. This experiment combined CERC with GCCP theory, by researching how the source of CERC, the CER initiative’s reach and the individual consumer’s global identity influence the company’s corporate credibility and consumers’ attitude towards global and local brands. The experiment with 200 German respondents, using a press release as a stimulus, showed that CERC containing a global environmental initiative positively influenced consumer’s attitude towards the local and global brand. Furthermore, CERC deriving from a local brand had a positive effect on consumers’ attitude towards the brand as well as the brand’s corporate credibility. Finally, consumers’ individual global identity had a positive influence on the brand’s corporate credibility, irrespective of whether a global or local initiative/brand was used. Therefore, the findings of this research imply that CERC is most effective when originated from a local brand, using a global environmental initiative and targeting consumers with a strong global identity.
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