Unpacking the Authenticity Gap in Corporate Social Responsibility: Lessons learned from Levi’s ‘Go Forth Braddock’ Campaign

Anthony Samuel, Daniel Taylor, Gareth White

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    Abstract

    Brands often do good through the vehicle of Corporate Social Responsibility. However, some implementations may still be viewed with cynicism leading to consumer backlash and stakeholder disengagement. Wicki & Kaaij (2007) propose that this arises due to an Authenticity Gap between the image an organization is pursuing and the actual perceived identity of the organization during and following CSR campaigns. This paper explores the nature of the Authenticity Gap through making an examination of Levi’s award winning and widely praised CSR campaign. Employing expert practitioner focus groups it makes a contribution to knowledge by unpacking the constituent dimensions of the Authenticity Gap. It identifies eight factors comprising brand heritage, unpolished realism, collaboration, timing, tangibility, subdued approaches, situatedness and the media is the message. The research suggests that brands that take account of these factors have the potential to ward off paradoxical negative associations that can be experienced when attempting to do good.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Brand Management
    Volume25
    Issue number1
    Early online date26 Sep 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

    Keywords

    • Brand Authenticity
    • Branding
    • Authenticity Gap
    • CSR
    • Focus Groups
    • Corporate Social Responsibility

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