Social Marketing Initiatives: A Master Thesis of the Companies' Social Marketing Initiatives in the Postmodern Consumption Culture

Rayan Zouheir El-Chaabi & Arezu Entezar

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose: This thesis is based on an interest in marketing and corporate social initiatives with a focus on two of the marketing social initiatives, cause promotion and cause-related marketing in the postmodern consumption culture. Accordingly, the problem statement is investigating, which factors have an influence on the outcome of a social marketing initiative among the postmodern consumers. Methodology: This thesis employs a four-case study approach in which the problem statement is examined based on netnographic studies and data collected from among other websites, press releases, commercials and online newspaper articles. The four cases consist of the following social marketing initiatives “Race Together” by Starbucks, “Buckets for the Cure” by KFC, “#TransRightsAreHumanRights” by Lush Cosmetics and “When You Drive, Never Drink” by Heineken. The aim of analyzing four cases is to conduct a comparative analysis in order to investigate the differences between the successful and less successful initiatives. The problem statement of this thesis is investigated from the point of view of an epistemological social constructivist. This indicates that the findings originate from the context of the four cases. Theory: The theoretical scope firstly embraces theories on postmodern consumption and marketing and corporate social initiatives with the key scholars Dhouha J. Bouagina, Abdelfattah Triki and Douglas B. Holt as well as Philip Kotler, David Hessekiel, and Nancy R. Lee. Secondly, this thesis is based on assumptions built on several studies conducted by Sridhar Samu, Walter Wymer, Marek Pawlak, Grzegorz Zasuwa and Barbara A. Lafferty. Thirdly, with the aim of investigating these assumptions theories from the field of branding, corporate credibility and communication have been included by introducing e.g. David Aaker, Heidi Hansen, Margaret Mark and Coral S. Pearson as well as Steven L. Wartick, Charles J. Fombrun, Jens Otto Kjær and Hanne Birgitte Jørgensen. Findings: One of the main findings of this thesis is that the demands of postmodern consumers regarding corporate social engagement is based on the need of utilizing meaningful brands as symbols in the creation of the consumers’ desired identity. Thus, a social marketing initiative is considered successful, when the initiative fits with the current brand identity, which leads to corporate credibility among the consumers. Additionally, how the initiative is communicated to the consumers is essential regarding how the fit and credibility of the company will be perceived. Conclusion: In the postmodern consumption culture the outcome of a social marketing initiative is influenced by cause-brand fit, corporate credibility and the communication of the initiative. In addition, the interaction between these three factors make up a fourth factor that has a significant influence on how the postmodern consumers evaluate a social marketing initiative.

EducationsMSc in Organisational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages166
SupervisorsKarl-Heinz Pogner