Building brand equity with environmental communication: an empirical investigation in France
Florence Benoît-Moreau and
Béatrice Parguel ()
Additional contact information Florence Benoît-Moreau: DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine
Béatrice Parguel: IRG - Institut de Recherche en Gestion - Université Paris XII - Paris Est Créteil Val-de-Marne - Université Paris XII - Paris Est Créteil Val-de-Marne
Purpose Using Keller's (1993, 2003) brand equity framework, this paper investigates the impact of the firm's environmental communication on brand equity, and specifically its impact on brand image, through the strength and favourability of brand environmental associations. Design/methodology/approach A between-subjects experimental design tests the hypotheses with a generalisable sample of 165 French consumers. Findings Environmental communication positively influences the strength and favourability of brand environmental associations, therefore improving brand equity. Two moderators reinforce the impact of environmental communication on brand equity through the strength of brand environmental associations: the perceived congruence between the brand and the cause, and the perceived credibility of the claim. Practical implications In the context of greater consumer pressure regarding business ethics, managers should favour environmental arguments in their corporate communication to improve brand image through societal associations. Doing so, they should focus their communication on causes that are congruent with their brands to facilitate brand equity building, and ensure they are credible when proclaiming these arguments. Originality/value of paper Despite existing research on corporate social responsibility (CSR), no studies focus on the specific impact of CSR communication on brand equity. This research provides initial empirical evidence about the positive effect of environmental claims on customer-based brand equity.