From philanthropy to broader social engagement: Muslim consumers’ response to corporate social marketing strategies in Dubai

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Journal of Islamic Marketing


© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose: This paper aims to investigate the potential effectiveness of using corporate social marketing (CSM) as part of an advertising campaign targeting local Muslim consumers in Dubai. It aims to assess whether Dubai’s local Muslim community’s construal of corporate commitment has evolved beyond philanthropy toward receptiveness to a more embedded corporate societal engagement. Design/methodology/approach: The examination is based on the framework of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication that postulates a relationship between internal outcomes, such as the awareness of a cause, and external outcomes, such as the likelihood that a consumer will purchase a product. The authors designed a questionnaire using authentic advertisements for the same product, one with a CSM message and one without, and queried respondents’ opinions of the advertisements, their willingness to purchase the product and their perceptions of the company. Complete responses were collected from 245 Emirati women. Findings: Significant differences in response to the CSM versus the non-CSM advertisement emerged. The product advertised via the CSM strategy engendered enhanced perceptions of the company among respondents, coupled with a heightened willingness on their part to purchase the product. This indicates that Emirati consumers have gone beyond the simple expectation of philanthropy, which is frequently associated with Muslim consumer loyalty, and value more evolved corporate social commitment. Originality/value: While Muslim groups have been investigated extensively from various marketing perspectives, the present study is the first to investigate the impact of incorporating CSR into an authentic advertising campaign targeted at Muslim consumers.

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