Communicating Sustainability - is it worth it A closer look at three different message contents and their impact on the brand
Sammanfattning: Many companies are working to become more sustainable. The reason can be altruism, cost savings or building a more attractive brand. There is however limited research into how these efforts should be communicated and what type of impact they have on the customer. By conducting field experiments at two hotels, this thesis tries to identify which message content types can strengthen the perceptions of brand sustainability, as well as have an effect on brand attitude and brand loyalty. The used message contents are third-party labels, coupling sustainability to other benefits, and highlighting company's sustainability goals. We found that sustainability perceptions are indeed linked to higher brand loyalty and brand attitude. However, none of the tested messages raised the perceived sustainability of the hotel nor had a positive impact on the brand attitude and loyalty. This might have been due to, for example, specific industry characteristics as well as customer expectations affecting the impact of sustainability communication. Companies should also keep in mind that building sustainable brands takes time, and the communication has to be credible, trustworthy and relevant to the consumer.
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