Co-creating a CSR Strategy with Customers to Deliver Greater Value

  • Ingrid M. O’BrienEmail author
  • Wade Jarvis
  • Geoffrey Soutar
  • Robyn Ouschan
Part of the CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance book series (CSEG)


A CSR strategy that delivers social value to the community , altruistic value to the customer, and value to the firm undertaking the program has the potential to ensure long-term commitment by firms to invest strategically in CSR . In further exploring the relationship between stakeholder management and CSR , co-creation and customer engagement is receiving a lot of attention within the discipline of Marketing , and extending this to thinking about how customers can act as a useful resource for, and be truly engaged in addressing social issues is an exciting direction. The development of the Preference, Engagement, Loyalty Model answers three critical questions—customers prefer firms address social issues which are aligned with their core purpose; customers are willing to be engaged in addressing the social issue, and if engaged, customers will be more loyal to the firm. Customer engagement was found to be a full mediator of the relationship between CSR issue preference and loyalty. These findings are significant. For organisations investing in a CSR program, adoption of the Preference, Engagement, Loyalty model demonstrates an opportunity for firms to not only deliver social benefit to the community, but to also use the program as a co-creation platform with their customers to achieve greater loyalty. Educators must embed the concept of engagement and co-creation within the teaching of CSR , and future research should further explore the relationship between societal marketing and engagement.


  1. Agrawal AK, Kaushik AK, Rahman Z (2015) Co-creation of social value through integration of stakeholders. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 189:442–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aguinis H, Glavas A (2012) What we know and don’t know about corporate social responsibility a review and research agenda. Aust J Manag 38(4):932–968Google Scholar
  3. Ahluwalia R, Burnkrant RE, Unnava HR (2000) Consumer response to negative publicity: the moderating role of commitment. J Mark Res 37(2):203–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alves H, Fernandes C, Raposo M (2016) Value co-creation: concept and contexts of application and study. J Bus Res 69(5):1626–1633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Andersen PH (2005) Relationship marketing and brand involvement of professionals through web-enhanced brand communities: the case of Coloplast. Ind Mark Manag 34(1):39–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arora N, Henderson T (2007) Embedded premium promotion: why it works and how to make it more effective. Mark Sci 26(4):514–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Auger P, Devinney TM, Louviere J, Burke PF (2010) The importance of social product attributes in consumer purchasing decisions: a multi-country comparative study. Int Bus Rev 19(2):140–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ballantyne D, Varey RJ (2006) Creating value-in-use through marketing interaction: the exchange logic of relating, communicating and knowing. Mark Theory 6(3):335–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ballantyne D, Frow P, Varey RJ, Payne A (2011) Value propositions as communication practice: taking a wider view. Ind Mark Manag 40(2):202–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barnett ML (2007) Stakeholder influence capacity and the variability of financial returns to corporate social responsibility. Acad J Manag Rev 32(3):794–816CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bhattacharya CB, Sen S (2003) Consumer-company identification: a framework for understanding consumers’ relationships with companies. J Mark 67(2):76–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bhattacharya CB, Sen S (2004) Doing better at doing good: when, why, and how consumers respond to corporate social initiatives. Calif Manag Rev 47(1):9–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bhattacharya C, Sen S, Korschun D (2011) How to co-create corporate responsibility strategy. Ethic Corp:35–38Google Scholar
  14. Bowden JL-H (2009) The process of customer engagement: a conceptual framework. J Markt Theory Pract 17(1):63–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brammer SJ, Pavelin S (2006) Corporate reputation and social performance: the importance of fit. J Manag Stud 43(3):435–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brodie RJ, Ilic A, Juric B, Hollebeek L (2013) Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: an exploratory analysis. J Bus Res 66(1):105–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brown TJ, Dacin PA (1997) The company and the product: corporate associations and consumer product responses. J Mark 61:68–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Carroll AB (1979) A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Acad Manag Rev 4(4):497–505Google Scholar
  19. Carroll AB, Shabana KM (2010) The business case for corporate social responsibility: a review of concepts, research and practice. Int J Manag Rev 12(1):85–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Casaló L, Flavian C, Guinalíu M (2007) The impact of participation in virtual brand communities on consumer trust and loyalty: the case of free software. Online Inf Rev 31(6):775–792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Chan KW, Li SY (2010) Understanding consumer-to-consumer interactions in virtual communities: the salience of reciprocity. J Bus Res 63(9):1033–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Chao P, Polonsky M, Jevons C (2009) Global branding and strategic CSR: an overview of three types of complexity. Int Mark Rev 26(3):327–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cossío-Silva F-J, Revilla-Camacho M-Á, Vega-Vázquez M, Palacios-Florencio B (2016) Value co-creation and customer loyalty. J Bus Res 69(5):1621–1625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Cova B, Cova V (2002) Tribal marketing: the tribalisation of society and its impact on the conduct of marketing. Eur J Mark 36(5/6):595–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Du S, Bhattacharya CB, Sen S (2007) Reaping relational rewards from corporate social responsibility: the role of competitive positioning. Int J Res Mark 24(3):224–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Du S, Bhattacharya C, Sen S (2011) Corporate social responsibility and competitive advantage: overcoming the trust barrier. J Manag Sci 57(9):1528–1545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Economist Intelligence Unit (2007) Beyond loyalty: Meeting the challenge of customer engagement Part I, Economist. Available at:
  28. Ellen PS, Mohr LA, Webb DJ (2000) Charitable programs and the retailer: do they mix? J Retail 76(3):393–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fernandes T, Esteves F (2016) Customer engagement and loyalty: a comparative study between service contexts. Serv Mark Q 37(2):125–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fernandes T, Remelhe P (2016) How to engage customers in co-creation: customers’ motivations for collaborative innovation. J Strateg Mark 24(3-4):311–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fombrun C, Shanley M (1990) What’s in a name? Reputation building and corporate strategy. Acad Manag J 33(2):233–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Frederick WC (2008) Corporate social responsibility: deep roots, flourishing growth, promising future. In: Crane A, McWilliams A, Matten D, Moon J, Siegel D (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 522–531Google Scholar
  33. Gjølberg M (2009) Measuring the immeasurable?: constructing an index of CSR practices and CSR performance in 20 countries. Scand J Manag 25(1):10–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Griffin J, Mahon JF (1997) The corporate social performance and corporate financial performance debate: twenty-five years of incomparable research. Bus Soc 36(1):5–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Grönroos C (2007) Service management and marketing: customer management in service competition. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  36. Gruen TW, Osmonbekov T, Czaplewski AJ (2006) eWOM: the impact of customer-to-customer online know-how exchange on customer value and loyalty. J Bus Res 59(4):449–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Grunig JE (1979) A new measure of public opinion on corporate social responsibility. Acad Manag J 22(4):738–764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gummesson E, Mele C, Polese F, Galvagno M, Dalli D (2014) Theory of value co-creation: a systematic literature review. Manag Serv Qual 24(6):643–683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Harrison R (2003) Corporate social responsibility and the consumer movement. Consum Policy Rev 13(4):127–131Google Scholar
  40. Hollebeek LD (2011) Demystifying customer brand engagement: exploring the loyalty nexus. J Mark Manag 27(7–8):785–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jackson KT (2004) Building reputational capital: strategies for integrity and fair play that improve the bottom line. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  42. Jarvis W, Ouschan R, Burton HJ, Soutar G, O’Brien IM (2017) Customer engagement in CSR: a utility theory model with moderating variables. J Serv Theory Prac 27(4):833–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kambil A, Friesen GB, Sundaram A (1999) Co-creation: a new source of value. Outlook Mag 3(2):23–29Google Scholar
  44. Kanji GK, Chopra PK (2010) Corporate social responsibility in a global economy. Total Qual Manag 21(2):119–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Knox S, Maklan S (2004) Corporate social responsibility: moving beyond investment towards measuring outcomes. Eur Manag J 22(5):508–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kurucz E, Colbert B, Wheeler D (2008) The business case for corporate social responsibility. In: Crane A, McWilliams A, Matten D, Moon J, Siegel D (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 83–112Google Scholar
  47. Laszlo C (2003) The sustainable company: how to create lasting value through social and environmental performance. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  48. Lawer C, Knox S (2007) Reverse-market orientation and corporate brand development. Int Stud Manag Org 37(4):64–83Google Scholar
  49. Lee MDP (2008) A review of the theories of corporate social responsibility: its evolutionary path and the road ahead. Int J Manag Rev 10(1):53–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lev B, Petrovits C, Radhakrishnan S (2010) Is doing good good for you? How corporate charitable contributions enhance revenue growth. Strat Manag J 31(2):182–200Google Scholar
  51. Lichtenstein DR, Drumwright ME, Braig BM (2004) The effect of corporate social responsibility on customer donations to corporate-supported nonprofits. J Mark 68(4):16–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lii Y-S, Lee M (2012) Doing right leads to doing well: when the type of CSR and reputation interact to affect consumer evaluations of the firm. J Bus Ethics 105(1):69–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Luo X, Bhattacharya CB (2006) Corporate social responsibility, customer satisfaction, and market value. J Mark 70(4):1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Maignan I, Ferrell O (2000) Measuring corporate citizenship in two countries: the case of the United States and France. J Bus Ethics 23(3):283–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Maignan I, Ferrell OC, Hult GTM (1999) Corporate citizenship: cultural antecedents and business benefits. J Acad Mark Sci 27(4):455–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Margolis JD, Walsh JP (2003) Misery loves companies: rethinking social initiatives by business. Adm Sci Q 48(2):268–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Meynhardt T, Chandler JD, Strathoff P (2016) Systemic principles of value co-creation: synergetics of value and service ecosystems. J Bus Res 69(8):2981–2989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Morsing M (2006) Corporate social responsibility as strategic auto-communication: on the role of external stakeholders for member identification. Bus Ethics Eur Rev 15(2):171–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Nicholls J, Hair Jr JF, Ragland CB, Schimmel KE (2013) Ethics, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability education in AACSB undergraduate and graduate marketing curricula: a benchmark study. J Mark Educ 35(2):129–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Normann R, Ramirez R (1992) From value chain to value constellation: designing interactive strategy. Harv Bus Rev 71(4):65–77Google Scholar
  61. Öberseder M, Schlegelmilch BB, Murphy PE (2013) CSR practices and consumer perceptions. J Bus Res 66(10):1839–1851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. O’Brien IM, Jarvis W, Soutar GN (2015) Integrating social issues and customer engagement to drive loyalty in a service organisation. J Serv Mark 29(6/7):547–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Orlitzky M, Schmidt FL, Rynes SL (2003) Corporate social and financial performance: a meta-analysis. Org Stud 24(3):403–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Payne AF, Storbacka K, Frow P (2008) Managing the co-creation of value. J Acad Mark Sci 36(1):83–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Payne A, Storbacka K, Frow P, Knox S (2009) Co-creating brands: diagnosing and designing the relationship experience. J Bus Res 62(3):379–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pérez RC (2009) Effects of perceived identity based on corporate social responsibility: the role of consumer identification with the company. Corp Reput Rev 12(2):177–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Perrini F, Russo A, Tencati A, Vurro C (2011) Deconstructing the relationship between corporate social and financial performance. J Bus Ethics 102(1):59–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pivato S, Misani N, Tencati A (2008) The impact of corporate social responsibility on consumer trust: the case of organic food. Bus Ethics Eur Rev 17(1):3–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Prahalad CK, Ramaswamy V (2004a) Co-creating unique value with customers. Strateg Leadersh 32(3):4–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Prahalad CK, Ramaswamy V (2004b) Co-creation experiences: the next practice in value creation. J Interact Mark 18(3):5–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Prahalad CK, Ramaswamy V (2004c) The future of competition: co-creating unique value with customers. Harvard Business Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  72. Ramaswamy V (2009) Leading the transformation to co-creation of value. Strateg Leadersh 37(2):32–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Ramaswamy V (2010) Competing through co-creation: innovation at two companies. Strateg Leadersh 38(2):22–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rangan K, Chase L, Karim S (2015) The truth about CSR. Harv Bus Rev 93(1/2):40–49Google Scholar
  75. Ranjan KR, Read S (2016) Value co-creation: concept and measurement. J Acad Mark Sci 44(3):290–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Rundle-Thiele SR, Wymer W (2010) Stand-alone ethics, social responsibility, and sustainability course requirements: a snapshot from Australia and New Zealand. J Mark Educ 32(1):5–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Sawhney M, Verona G, Prandelli E (2005) Collaborating to create: the internet as a platform for customer engagement in product innovation. J Int Mark 19(4):4–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Schau HJ, Muñiz Jr AM, Arnould EJ (2009) How brand community practices create value. J Mark 73(5):30–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Schouten JW, McAlexander JH, Koenig HF (2007) Transcendent customer experience and brand community. J Acad Mark Sci 35(3):357–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Scott M, Rothman H (1994) Companies with a conscience. Citadel Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  81. Sen S, Bhattacharya CB (2001) Does doing good always lead to doing better? Consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility. J Mark Res 38(2):225–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Thorne McAlister D, Ferrell L (2002) The role of strategic philanthropy in marketing strategy. Eur J Mark 36(5/6):689–705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Turban DB, Greening DW (1997) Corporate social performance and organizational attractiveness to prospective employees. Acad Manag J 40(3):658–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Ullmann AA (1985) Data in search of a theory: a critical examination of the relationships among social performance, social disclosure, and economic performance of US firms. Acad Manag Rev 10(3):540–557Google Scholar
  85. Urban GL (2004) The emerging era of customer advocacy. MIT Sloan Manag Rev 45(2):77Google Scholar
  86. Van Doorn J, Lemon KN, Mittal V, Nass S, Pick D, Pirner P, Verhoef PC (2010) Customer engagement behavior: theoretical foundations and research directions. J Serv Res 13(3):253–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Vargo SL, Lusch RF (2004) Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. J Mark 68(1):1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Verschoor CC (1998) A study of the link between a corporation's financial performance and its commitment to ethics. J Bus Ethics 17(13):1509–1516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Vlachos PA, Tsamakos A, Vrechopoulos AP, Avramidis PK (2009) Corporate social responsibility: attributions, loyalty, and the mediating role of trust. J Acad Mark Sci 37(2):170–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Vogel DJ (2005) Is there a market for virtue? The business case for corporate social responsibility. Calif Manag Rev 47(4):19–45Google Scholar
  91. Waddock S (2002) Leading corporate citizens: vision. Values, value added. McGraw-Hill/Irwin, BostonGoogle Scholar
  92. Waddock SA, Graves SB (1997) The corporate social performance-financial performance link. Strateg Manag J 18:303–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingrid M. O’Brien
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wade Jarvis
    • 2
  • Geoffrey Soutar
    • 3
  • Robyn Ouschan
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Business and GovernanceMurdoch UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.UWA Business SchoolThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  3. 3.UWA Business School – MarketingThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  4. 4.School of MarketingCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia

Personalised recommendations