The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as an important topic for both corporations and researchers as public expectations of the proper role of business in society continue to grow. This thesis focuses on what constitutes effective CSR communication that establishes consumer perceptions of higher corporate reputation and legitimacy. In particular, the study analyzes the CSR report as a communication tool utilized by companies to advance their reputation. The analysis adopts a case study of one of the most prominent companies in the world, the Coca-Cola Company in order to determine the most prominent CSR themes communicated by companies to educate their consumers about corporate CSR initiatives. Further, it seeks to find out which CSR issues resonate the most with consumer perceptions. In order to assess stakeholder reactions and sentiment towards Coca-Cola’s CSR communication strategy, the study utilizes the social networking platform Twitter. The results are obtained through a mixed method approach of thematic qualitative content analysis and digital methods, including topic modeling, semantic network analysis and sentiment analysis. The thematic analysis of the corporate CSR report revealed that the most prominent themes within Coca-Cola’s CSR communication are the Stakeholder, Environmental, Ethical, Philanthropic, Legal and Economic. The semantic network analysis proved that the CSR themes are non-mutually exclusive. The Ethical and Stakeholder themes and the Philanthropic and Economic themes are the most interconnected pairs, while the Environmental and Legal themes are the least related. Finally, the top seven topics discussed by consumers regarding Coca-Cola and CSR are Women, Economy/Business, Environment, Sustainable Packaging, Consumer Health and Safety, Labeling and Corruption Scandals. Overall, the predominant sentiment towards Coca-Cola’s CSR was neutral. The Ethical and the Legal themes sparked the most negative conversations, while the Philanthropic and Stakeholder themes were the most positively discussed. The findings of the research could assist companies’ efforts to tailor effective CSR communication and serve as a basis for future research investigating successful CSR strategies.

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J.S. Lee, S.J. Opree
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Z.P. Mocheva. (2016, June 22). CSR Communication for Advancing Corporate Reputation. Media & Business. Retrieved from