University of Oulu

The implementation of sustainable branding in the context of industrial companies

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Author: Kampman, Matias1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Pages: 71
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Kampman, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-21
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Saraniemi, Saila
Reviewer: Saraniemi, Saila
Koivumäki, Timo


This master’s thesis focuses on the implementation of sustainable branding in the industrial sector. Sustainable branding has received attention increasingly in the prior academic research, especially in the consumer sector. However, studies regarding the topic from the industrial companies’ perspective is scant, even though industrial companies are intensive users of natural resources, and they have observable impacts on the environment. Therefore, studying how industrial companies implement sustainable branding is important, and for that research gap, this thesis aims to contribute to. Recognizing general guidelines to conduct sustainable branding will be beneficial not only to the industrial companies themselves, but also to societies and the environment.

Regarding the industrial companies and their branding, industrial branding exists as a concept, but it has not a connection to sustainability. Furthermore, from the companies’ buyer-supplier relationship, this study emphasizes the role of the supplier since the prior literature of industrial branding focuses mainly on the buyers’ perspective. This selection of perspective appears also in the empirical study of this research, in which three publicly listed industrial companies’ representatives are interviewed. The semi-structured theme interviews include experts from both fields — sustainability and branding. Hence this study is a qualitative research, utilizing abductive research method. The findings of the empirical study are being reflected to the theoretical framework, which is created at first by studying the existing literature regarding industrial companies’ sustainability and branding, and sustainable branding in general.

The findings of this study suggest that industrial companies implement sustainable branding by combining their sustainability practices and branding activities. These are connected because the messages need to be aligned with the actions. Further, the practices need to be genuinely sustainable for the branding to also be sustainable. Another key finding is that sustainable branding is not concerned to be necessarily different from other types of branding, it just utilizes sustainability as a core value in the branding. However, sustainable branding is seen to be a source of competitive advantage, and for its achievement, it requires a common effort from the whole value chain. From the managerial perspective, the key findings include that the initiative of sustainability starts at the top, internal branding in terms of how the employees perceive sustainability is crucial for the success of the sustainability efforts, and customers attitudes towards sustainability have a significant role in how sustainable branding will succeed. Overall, this thesis presents guidelines on how sustainable branding is implemented in the context of industrial companies and offers tools to industrial companies if their aspiration is to differentiate in the competitive industrial sector with sustainable branding.

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Copyright information: © Matias Kampman, 2021. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.