CSR in a Six Pack: A Single Case Study of Carlsberg's Use of Strategic CSR and CSR-communication and its Impact on Consumer Perceptions of the Carlsberg-brand

Alexander John Rasmussen & Anton Due

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose – This thesis seeks to demonstrate how Carlsberg has worked strategically with CSR and how Carlsberg has implemented ambitious CSR-initiatives and communication. This is done in order to understand how the CSR-strategy has affected Carlsberg’s reputation, legitimacy and brand. Thus, the purpose of the thesis is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of how Carlsberg’s CSRstrategy and CSR-communication has impacted the consumer perceptions of the Carlsberg-brand. Lastly, the thesis examines whether Carlsberg’s CSR-strategy has affected the consumers’ behaviour. Methodology & approach – Focusing on strategic CSR and CSR-communication, this thesis incorporates an exploratory approach through semi constructed in-depth interviews with two representatives from Carlsberg, two CSR-experts and five Danish consumers. Furthermore, we conducted a survey with a total of 177 respondents. After analyzing the results of the survey, we identified and interviewed five consumers in order to acquire an in-depth understanding of consumer perceptions of Carlsberg and its CSR-strategy. Findings – In a society with increased demands for CSR, Carlsberg has strategically worked with CSR and successfully integrated a CSR-perspective. The thesis shows that Carlsberg has a strong reputation and is seen as legitimate by the stakeholders. Subsequently, this paper finds that Carlsberg’s CSR-communication can be categorized as CSR as aspirational talk and that Carlsberg has successfully managed to work deliberately with differences between current and aspirational reality as a driving force for a permanent effort. Carlsberg can benefit from focusing on the young consumers through explicit CSR-communication. The findings show that Carlsberg’s CSR strategy and the Snap Pack has positively impacted the consumer perceptions of the Carlsberg-brand. The Danish consumers have a strong and growing interest in sustainability and while they perceive Carlsberg as a strong CSR-brand, this is not yet reflected in consumer behavior on a large scale. This may change in the coming years as the consumers increasingly express that they will prioritize sustainable products. Practical implications – This thesis helps organizations to further understand how strategically working with CSR and having an ambitious CSR-communication can help impact reputation and brand positively. Furthermore, this thesis provides insight into how young consumers prefer explicit and relevant CSR-initiatives. Value – The primary contribution of this thesis is furthering the understanding of what organizations can gain from strategically working with CSR and how the use of ambitious CSR-communication can impact consumer perceptions of brands.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages120