Abstract

In this paper we argue that socially responsible policies have a positive impact on a firm's brand equity in the short-term as well as in the long-term. Moreover, once we distinguish between different stakeholders, we posit that secondary stakeholders such as community are even more important than primary stakeholders (customers, shareholders, workers and suppliers) in generating brand equity. Policies aimed at satisfied community interests act as a mechanism to reinforce trust that gives further credibility to social responsible polices with other stakeholders. The result is a decrease in conflicts among stakeholders and greater stakeholder willingness to provide intangible resources that enhance brand equity. We provide support of our theoretical contentions making use of a panel data composed of 57 firms from 10 countries (the US, Japan, South Korea, France, the UK, Italy, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands) for the period 2002 to 2007. We use detailed information on brand equity obtained from Interbrand and on corporate social responsibility (CSR) provided by the SiRi Global Profile database, as compiled by the Sustainable Investment Research International Company (SiRi).