Purpose: With the goal of helping consumers bounce back from the financial challenges they faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many firms developed and announced consumer-targeted resiliency programs (e.g. Walgreens waived delivery fees, Associated Bank allowed deferred mortgage payments). However, there is a paucity of research examining the unique features of these programs, and whether firms' investors (the first external stakeholder group to provide them with feedback regarding their strategies) were receptive to these programs during a period of time in which firms themselves were suffering financially. Drawing on resilience theory and stakeholder theory, the present research incorporates an event study of consumer-targeted resiliency program announcements to understand their financial implications for firms, and to learn whether firms witnessed different financial effects as a result of firm- and program-specific factors.
Design/methodology/approach: This study referred to business news publications and newswire services to collect a comprehensive list of consumer-targeted resiliency programs announced by publicly traded U.S. firms during the pandemic. The resulting dataset consisted of 145 announcements made during the period of February–June 2020. An event study was conducted in order to precisely measure the main effect of consumer-targeted resiliency programs on firm value, as manifested through abnormal stock returns. Finally, a moderation analysis (regression) was conducted to uncover whether firm characteristics or specific features of firms' consumer-targeted resiliency programs lead certain firms to witness stronger financial effects than others.
Findings: The main effect of consumer-targeted resiliency programs on firm value was found to be positive – a 1.9% increase on average. The moderation analysis finds that non-financial firms were rewarded more positively than financial firms (e.g. banks and credit card companies). In addition, financial aid (i.e. allowing customers to defer their payments to a firm for its products/services, versus a reduction in the price of a product/service or offering it for free or giving cash back to customers) and temporal characteristics (i.e. an offer being framed as limited-time, vs being indefinite or for the foreseeable future) are not found to have a moderating effect.
Originality/value: This theory-driven empirical study uncovers practical implications for managers of firms interested in whether investing in corporate social responsibility during times of crisis is a wise allocation of resources. Any form of financial aid for consumers, regardless of temporal limitations, is received positively by investors. © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited.
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International Journal of Bank Marketing
consumer-targeted resiliency programs, corporate social responsbility, COVID-19 pandemic, CSR, event study, firm value, marketing-finance interface
Bahmani, Navid and Yazdanparast Ardestani, Atefeh, "Helping consumers weather the storm: the impact of consumer-targeted resiliency programs on firm value" (2024). School of Management. 208.
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Bahmani, N., & Yazdanparast, A. (2024). Helping consumers weather the storm: the impact of consumer-targeted resiliency programs on firm value. International Journal of Bank Marketing.