University of Oulu

Sustainability in communications content : the frames of handprint in corporate communication and branding

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Author: Ruokostenpohja, Maria1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Pages: 89
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Ruokostenpohja, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-06-13
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Saraniemi, Saila
Väinämö, Milka
Reviewer: Saraniemi, Saila
Väinämö, Milka


Industrial B2B companies are increasingly interested in communicating about their sustainability due to stakeholder interest. However, companies struggle to communicate about their sustainable actions and objectives in a way that is both credible and aligns with their brand. The handprint concept is a novel methodology that can express the positive impact an actor has on environment. It is meant to be a tool for sustainability communication, but so far it has not been explored from the perspective of content formulation.

Purpose of this study is to better understand how the handprint can be used as a tool for communication outside of calculation methodology. Aim is to identify how the handprint has been used in industrial corporate communication content to communicate about sustainability. This work uses thematic analysis in order to observe the use of the handprint in industrial corporate communications. Framing theory is used to find out how the content creates certain narratives and perspectives that help the companies to express their contributions to sustainability as well as promote their products and services, all in accordance with the brand image.

This work establishes themed message types that B2B companies use to adopt sustainability into their communications content, and further, find three different types of handprint frames: guide towards good, the helping hand and sign of advancement. These frames help to distinguish between company responsibility and creation of solutions, that help stakeholders and customers to meet their sustainability goals. They highlight the company’s achievements and further objectives in sustainability, communicate commitment above a typical market actor. Clearly themed messaging turns vague value statements into concrete solutions, and helps to connect the brand image, product brands, and sustainability in communication. The handprint frames help to illustrate how the concept can be used as a tool for communication in corporate content on multiple platforms.

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Copyright information: © Maria Ruokostenpohja, 2023. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.