CSR communication and Millennials
The focus of this thesis lies on consumer oriented corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication and Millennials (consumers born after 1980). The study aims at providing the answer to the research question: ‘How should companies communicate their CSR engagement to Millennials in Sweden in the most appropriate way?‘ Sweden presents an interesting case, because it has one of the highest levels of CSR activists (Dawkins, 2004) and in 2009 there were 2.41 million Millennials in the country (Statistics Sweden, 2010). Millennials are said to be especially concerned with CSR, therefore it is important for companies to be able to reach them with CSR information. However, CSR communication is a challenging task, because although consumers want to be informed about a company’s good deeds, their initial reaction towards CSR messages is usually skepticism. Therefore the purpose of this thesis is to identify the most appropriate ways for companies to reach Millennials in Sweden with CSR communication and to discuss the possible implications of the results within wider context of CSR communication. An Internet-based survey was conducted among 111 participants. An assumption has been made that the choice of preferred channels for receiving CSR communication is influenced by consumers’ general opinion towards CSR. Therefore the respondents were asked to answer some questions in relation to their general opinion about CSR and to indicate the most preferred channels for receiving CSR information. According to the results of the study, the most preferred channels for receiving CSR information among Millennials in Sweden were the special sector on a company’s website, the product packaging and labels and formal third parties such as certification agencies and NGOs. Therefore it is very important for companies in Sweden to focus on their CSR communication on the corporate websites; however, they should consider a creative use of offline information mediums such as packaging and labels as well. Companies could increase the effectiveness of their CSR communication targeted at Millennials by reassuring consistency, truthfulness, authenticity, representativeness and transparency of CSR communication, adapting the content of CSR messages to informational needs of Millennials, providing them with a balanced view of the company’s CSR engagement, acknowledging business interest in their CSR initiatives and at the same time stressing benefits for the society and environment, showing willingness to engage in a dialogue and providing third parties’ verification of their CSR messages.