The CSR Imperative: How CSR Influences Word-of-Mouth Considering the Roles of Authenticity and Alternative Attractiveness

Stefan Markovic*, Oriol Iglesias, Yuqian Qiu, Mehdi Bagherzadeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Customers are increasingly talking positively about brands that are socially responsible and authentic. However, little empirical research has related corporate social responsibility (CSR) to brand authenticity and brand authenticity to customers’ positive word-of-mouth. Moreover, although highly attractive alternative brands are increasingly appearing in the marketplace, there is a lack of research examining the role of alternative attractiveness in the relationship between CSR and brand authenticity. We address these shortcomings in the literature drawing on data from 1,101 customers of insurance services brands and analyze them using structural equation modeling. The findings show that CSR is positively related to customers’ positive word-of-mouth, both directly and indirectly, through brand authenticity. Moreover, alternative attractiveness positively moderates the effect of CSR on brand authenticity. This implies that CSR can act as a differentiation mechanism to further enhance the focal brand’s authenticity, when an alternative brand is perceived as highly attractive.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness & Society
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 31. October 2021.


  • Alternative attractiveness
  • Brand authenticity
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Word-of-mouth

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