Ever scratch your head over a pairing of a corporate sponsorship with a charity? Newly published research suggests that the brands of both can be damaged when perceived fit and similarities between sponsor and charity don't align well.
"There is a public discussion," said study coauthor T. Bettina Cornwell, the University of Oregon's Edwin E. & June Woldt Cone Professor of Marketing in the Lundquist College of Business. "People pick it out when there is a sponsor attempting to move information or influence goodwill or image, and you don't believe it. This study has a big message for both charities and companies."
The new study—done in Australia in collaboration with lead author Ravi Pappu of the University of Queensland in Brisbane—was launched at the request of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. In Australia, most of 700,000 nonprofit organizations depend on donations. The findings appear in a paper placed online ahead of print in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.
Three experiments looked at various combinations of perceived similarities and relationship fits between charities and potential sponsors. Researchers also considered how participants viewed the clarity of charity positioning, their attitudes toward the nonprofits and their perceived trustworthiness of potential sponsors.
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