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Purpose The study aims to examine the effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on corporate branding (CB) and brand loyalty (BL) in the Indian Banking industry. The study further intends to examine the direct and indirect effect of CSR on BL when CSR becomes an integral part of corporate branding. Design/Methodology/Approach A structured questionnaire using seven-point Likert’s scale is the instrument for data collection. Stratified random sampling is used to collect the cross-sectional data from 430 savings bank customers in India. A new scale is developed and used to measure the corporate branding as a single construct. Multi-model path using structural equation modelling is used to test the hypotheses. Direct and indirect model path analysis is used to examine the integrated effect of CSR and corporate branding on BL. Findings The results of the study show that there is a significant impact of CSR components (Economic, Legal, Ethical and Philanthropic) on corporate branding to enhance customer BL. The study offers new insight into the relationship between CSR and BL by introducing corporate branding as the mediating factor. However, the relationship between “legal responsibility to corporate branding” and “philanthropy responsibility to BL” demonstrate a negative coefficient in the path analysis. Further, the result of the direct and indirect model path analysis confirms that customers’ BL can be enhanced more efficiently when CSR becomes an integral part of corporate branding. Practical Implications The strategic incorporation of CSR tools as an integral part of corporate branding strategy can help the managers in the banking industry to enhance their customers’ BL. Besides economic and legal responsibilities, managers need to give more emphasis on the ethical as well as philanthropic responsibilities as the critical positioning tools to develop firm’s corporate brand followed by enhancing BL. Originality/Value Scale development and validation of corporate branding, as a single construct is an original move in this study. Additionally, the study is a pioneer to examine the direct and indirect effect of CSR on customers’ BL using corporate branding as a key mediating factor.
Limitation and future research
Although the study provides important findings on the relationship between CSR, corporate branding and customer BL, there are several limitations to be noted, which also provide an avenue for future studies. First, the samples of the study were limited to the state capitals of three major states as per population count in the South-Eastern part of India. The samples of respondents were limited to the banking sector in India; the scope may be widened by taking into consideration the samples segments such as; geography, industries and other crosscultural settings. The findings of the study may not be generalised to other sectors in India and other cross-cultural settings. Therefore, the study may be examined in other cultural as well as cross-cultural settings for further validation of the findings. Second, the scope of the data collection is cross-section in nature and hence the findings correspond to a snapshot state of the model examined. This model can further be examined by conducting a longitudinal study. Third, this study has not incorporated all measurement constructs of corporate branding as proposed by Anisimova (2007, 2013) rather it has used a reduced scale for corporate branding that includes the representative items from each construct of corporate branding. Therefore, future research may be suggested to test the effect of CSR on different corporate branding dimensions to enhance customer BL. Fourth, this study has not incorporated the multi-group analysis and its effect can further be investigated. Fifth, another considerable scope of future research is to study the role of corporate communication effect on corporate branding. In this context, research initiatives can be extended to explore the role of corporate communication strategies in shaping the corporate branding from the CSR perspective to enhance BL.