Brand/cause fit is typically described as natural congruence between a company and a charitable cause.
- Example of high brand/cause fit: when a home improvement store requests a checkout donation for a community restoration project.
- Example of low brand/cause fit: when a home improvement store requests a checkout donation for a local museum.
In general, prior research has found that high brand/cause fit improves reputation and purchase intention better than low brand/cause fit.
However, this study found an important exception: point-of-sale donations.
The researchers demonstrated that reputation and purchase intention is not significantly impacted by the degree of brand/cause fit. This finding was consistent in three separate checkout donation scenarios:
- donate $1 before completing the transaction
- round-up the bill to the nearest dollar before completing the transaction
- round-up the bill to the nearest dollar before completing the transaction, even when purchase amounts varied
“Some authors propose that brand/cause fit ‘is the single most important aspect determining the quality of outcome for cause marketing initiatives’ (Hamlin and Wilson, 2004, p. 675). Others conclude that ‘it is generally agreed that a high level of fit affects firms more positively than a low level of fit’ (Kim et al., 2012, p. 163). However, several authors illuminate the complex nature of the relationship between fit and cause marketing effectiveness (Alacañizet al., 2010; Fleck and Quester, 2007; Lafferty, 2007). Some studies confirm the positive relationship between high fit and performance (Pracejus and Olsen, 2004; Samu and Wymer, 2009), and some findings reflect the negative relationship between low fit and performance (Becker-Olsenet al., 2006).
However, others propose conditions in which a low fit can provide similar benefits to what a high fit would traditionally accrue (Robinsonet al., 2012; Simmons and Becker-Olsen, 2006; Sohn, Han, and Lee, 2012; Uhrichet al, 2014).”
Management & Marketing
Joshua T Coleman, Michael C Peasley