ABSTRACT

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was first introduced sixty years ago in the academic field. However, the phrase CSR was not explicitly stated before the 1990s in Korean business and academic researches. Recently CSR is more considered a corporate strategy than a philanthropic donation. CSR comprises contributions to local communities as well as using environmentally beneficial and humane practices. Sponsoring is one available marketing tactic used in order to communicate with the market. This study of sponsorship has concentrated on developing brand asset by accessing potential values of sporting events or star-players. However, sponsorship includes providing funds or goods to non-profit institutions as well as sports or entertainment organizations. Accordingly corporate community-specific sponsorship is defined as firms offering to provide money, goods and/or services to individuals and/or institutions within a particular community, thus establishing an interdependent relationship between the partners aspiring to gain social and economic assets. National sponsorship is typically targeted toward commonly recognized individuals and/or organizations with the intent to maximize exposure of a sponsor’s brand, and is known to positively affect brand equity(community-specific sponsorship is committed to a limited local area) that a firm could benefit from by gaining a specific asset. POSCO sponsors the Jukdo Market, locate din the city of Pohang, to help revive their traditional market. In return, the Jukdo Market merchant suni on displays flags with the POSCO emblem in front of stores with in the market intending to make shopper sand merchant saw are of POSCO’s sponsorship. POSCO has succeeded in acquiring public support from the citizens of Pohang. However, the economic effects resulting from the cooperative relationship between POSCO and the Jukdo Market have yet to be measured by any empirical research. The purpose of this study is to assess the economic effects created by the community-specific sponsorship from the groups of merchants and shoppers, measuring its influence on the corporate image and subsequent brand loyalty, as parts of brand equity. The result of the study shows that the community-specific sponsorship of POSCO of the Jukdo Market had different influences on its corporate image and the brand loyalty of shoppers and merchants. First, the merchant group who was more frequently exposed to POSCO's flag recognized the sponsorship of POSCO more than the shopper group, and, therefore, had a better image of the company. Second, the recognition of POSCO's sponsorship had a positive influence on its corporate image, and that positive corporate image had a positive effect on brand loyalty development. However, the recognition of the sponsorship did not have a direct influence on brand loyalty. The friendly corporate image developed by the recognition of the sponsorship consequently could have had an effect on brand loyalty. Therefore, companies should not relinquish investments to corporate image development if they require more brand loyalty. Third, the influence of corporate image on brand loyalty shows stronger results in the shopper group rather than in the merchant group. Psycho-graphic factors of shoppers and merchants might give rise to the difference between the two groups.

KEYWORD

corporate social responsibility (CSR), community-specific sponsorship, corporate image, brand loyalty, brand equity

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