• Rasmus Bro Gaardsdal
4. semester, Kommunikation, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
COVID-19 has shocked the whole world and has changed all aspects of our lives. It has had profound and extensive influence on marketing. The pandemic has forced a lot of companies to change strategic direction, since a lot of things has changed. One thing that has changed radically is the consumer behavior, why companies need to rethink the way they approach consumers. A review of present studies shows that a phenomenon as corporate social responsibility (CSR) has surrounded a lot of companies’ communication during this pandemic. Companies feel an obligation to show their responsibility, but some are also using it as to nurture their image.

The object of this master’s thesis is to investigate the field of marketing, and how the pandemic has had impact on companies and their communication concerning their so-cial responsibility. I’m investigating how companies approach CSR initiatives in their communication during the pandemic, and how the consumers receive it.

By doing ethnographical content analysis, I’m investigation two specific companies’ communication on Facebook. The companies are Lagkagehuset and Sticks’n’Sushi, which respectively sells bread and cakes and sushi. The object for analysis is the two companies’ communication on Facebook in two periods during the pandemic – both Marts and April in 2020 and 2021. With a reflexive and objective approach to the com-munication, I’m trying to define any heterogeneity or coherence in the communication and reception thereof. Therefor I’m also conducting two focus groups to get the consum-ers reception of comapanies’ communication during the pandemic, and especially focus on the two cases. Along the analysis I draw on relevant theory and theoreticians that I find useful to understand the observed phenomenons.

While conducting an ethnographical content analysis I worked out some categories, which defines the two companies’ communication. The categories are Unity, Restrictions, Philanthropy, Sale, Health and Storytelling. These are categories conducted during the collection and coding of data. During the analysis, data from the focus groups are varying the categories where a specific category, Victim Role, shows up. It appears that there are similarities in the topics surrounding the communication from the two companies, but a different framing. This framing has turned out to be very important for the way, the com-panies are seen by the consumers. Sticks’n’Sushi is trying, with a philanthropic re-sponse, to show some responsibility, but the framing of the message is received as some sort of Sticks’n’Sushi undertaking a role of a victim. On the other hand, Lagkagehuset is doing the same philanthropic response, but their framing of the message is different, which the consumers have a much more positive reception of. Furthermore, I discuss how companies can communicate CSR initiatives in a credible way, which makes me discuss the importance of coherence between brand function and CSR initiatives.

This shows that communication related to corporate social responsibility is of a more low-practice nature and is a short-term strategy, that differ from what CSR historically has been. The study also shows that, even though the companies are showing some respon-sibility, the consumers do expect this. The companies need to do something extra, that is not expected, or else the consumers won’t remember the communication. They cannot anticipate that communication regarding CSR will create superior value, unless that the framing is in a certain way, where the customers feel that the company honestly is trying to show some responsibility. This study concludes that communication where companies show some responsibility that goes beyond the consumer expectations, is creating supe-rior value during this pandemic. Therefore, the amount of coherence between brand function and CSR initiative, need to be meaningful.
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2021
Antal sider143
ID: 413296474