Does Your Cause Fit My “Self”? Self-Expansion and Self-Concept in Cause-Related Marketing

Carlos M. Rodriguez, Shalini Bariar


Cause-related marketing is a strategic approach to differentiate, earn consumer preference, and sustain brand growth by supporting environmental and social concerns. Cause-related campaigns are effective, impact consumers decision making, and build brand preference when there is a deep identification with the cause and an understanding of consumers’ motivators, affect factors, and aspirations. How cause-brand affinity affects the relationships that consumers nurture with these brands as they expand their selves is still unknown. This study assesses the impact of cause-brand and cause-self-identity fit on brand engagement in self-concept and self-expansion driven by consumers’ intention to self-verify and self-aspire when building brand relationships.

Our findings suggest that cause-brand and cause-self-identity connection allow consumers to self-expand. A cause-brand value fit beyond functional and image is required for brand credibility and engagement to self-verify.  Simultaneously, consumers self-aspire due to a fit between the meaning of the cause and their ideal selves and becomes a moderator source for self-expansion. A methodological contribution identifies a new “values” dimension in the conceptualization of cause–brand fit. A theoretical model is tested through confirmatory factor analysis, LISREL, and PLS-SEM modeling. Self-expansion and social identity are the theoretical framework. This study is the first to test the notion that consumers’ self-expansion results from the concurrence of cause-brand fit, cause-self-identity fit, and brand engagement in self-concept in cause-related marketing.

Keywords: Cause-related Marketing, Self-concept, Self-expansion, Cause–brand fit, Cause-self-identity fit, Branding.

DOI: 10.7176/JMCR/85-09

Publication date: July 28th 2022


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