Branding Sustainability: Determinant Factors for Transition Brands in Portugal Bárbara Leão Abstract
The current research program aims to ascertain whether during the evolution towards a new consumption paradigm and in a transitional period to market sustainability, corporations strategically exhibit similar marketing mixes to those observed in well-established free-market economies where sustainability is a crucial component of the prevailing paradigm. Methodologically the study will draw on primary data collection aiming to measure how consumer targets perceive sustainable brands in Portugal. This includes both quantitative and qualitative methods of scrutiny and analyses. The research will aim to make an academic contribution on the theoretical areas of: 1) Sustainability and brand image; 2) Marketing mix behaviour: a. Strategic marketing and branding and sustainability by focusing on a spectrum of marketing mix behaviours across three sectors of economic activity. b. In so doing the research will aim to correlate marketing mix strategy with sustainable corporate behaviour with a view to identifying patterns of applicability of traditional marketing mix approaches to new organisational thinking where sustainability is a key pillar of strategic formulation 3) Finally the research aims to integrate the concepts of sustainability in corporate behaviour and brand identity, drawing on their implications to market positioning and organisational competitive advantage. Keywords: Sustainability; Brand Image and Identity; Marketing Mix Behaviour; Transition
State of the art
One can quote the most widely known definition of sustainability and sustainable development as: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Brundtland Commission of the United Nations on March 20, 1987). But the concept of sustainability has been changing and evolving into something richer. At the 2005 World Summit it was noted that this requires the integration of environmental, social and economic demands - the "three pillars" of sustainability
(i.e., the triple bottom line). According to a study done by McKinsey&Co in 2007 where they studied of 7,751 consumers around the world five stages are identified as barriers to buying green at all of the purchase process: lack of awareness, negative perceptions, distrust, high prices, and low availability.” (Helping „green‟ products grow Sheila M. J. Bonini and Jeremy M. Oppenheim) But from sector to sector the panorama might change. For instance in the alimentary sector, and according one can find studies concluding that the majority of consumers prefer organic farming products and have been increasingly more interested in it (Wandel and Bugge, 1997 and BrunsØ and Grunert, 2002). Consumers also have positive beliefs about organic farming (Grankvist and Biel, 2001) and the image of organic farming is generally positive, due to their perceived health value, safety and naturalness (Beharrell and Macfie, 1991; Tregear et al., 1994; Thompson and Kidwell, 1998; Gil et al., 2000; Bruhn, 2001; ZMP, 2001; ZMP, 2002; Zanoli and Nasppetti, 2002; Ricquart, 2004; Zanoli and Nasppetti, 2004; Spiller and Lüth, 2004; Lüth et al., 2005; Zanoli, 2005). Also Magnusson (2004) concluded that the most common beliefs associated with OFP are that they are ´more expensive´ and ´healthier.´ (Quality, Safety and Consumer Behaviour Towards Organic Food, CEFAGE-UE Working Paper 2008/05) Regarding the tourism sector, Rural Tourism (with deep link to sustainability) areas has sparked a growing interest is often seen as a potential tool for development of rural areas in Europe (EDMUNDS, 1999). Moreover, there are trends in the tourism market that point to a promising future for this type of tourism. This potential is associated with a higher level of education and experience of tourists, the his increasing interest in "authentic" as reflected in the cultural and natural heritage, a growing concern about the environment and health, as well as a trend sense of holiday, seeking to "new" destinations, new activities and experiences. (Buhalis & Cooper, 1993, OECD.1994;EUROPEANCOMMISSION,1999,RYAN,2003). Planning strategic sustainable marketing can contribute decisively to the creation of products according to the needs of a clearly defined market, allowing a differentiation compared to competing destinations, and thereby providing the desired success in the market (Kastenholz, Davis and Paul, 1999). The success of this strategy will depend on the integration and coordination of the various components offer to create a harmonious and sustainable product. (Kastenholz, Elisabeth Kastenholz in “A Gestão da Procura Turística como Instrumento Estratégico no Desenvolvimento de Destinos Rurais”) In terms of the usage of Renewable Energy Sources by the final consumer, is has been stated that “... For years scientists, governments, and people have considered the potential of renewable energy resources for providing society with efficient and environmentally responsible energy. In parallel, enormous strides have been made in renewable energy technologies and markets. But until recently most of those have all taken place at a leisurely pace, generally with no particular sense of urgency.” (Donald W. Aitken). Nevertheless, according to the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES), Solar thermal technologies (STTs) are mature in many EU Member States. However, in some EU regions solar applications, and especially the innovative ones (such as solar heating/cooling, solar drying, solar-powered desalination), remain at an early stage. The degree of development of each market does not depend on climate conditions (e.g., insolation) or on different technological developments. The major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of STTs are examined, in order to identify the most important actions that should be taken to reduce existing barriers, as opposed to RTD (Research and Technology Development) of the new STTs. These include financing schemes, publications, electronic dissemination tools, campaigns, events, creation of
information centres, audits and studies. (Theocharis D. Tsoutsos 2002) The practical contribution of the current research programme resides on a new perspective on what can be termed the Sustainable Marketing Mix, Identity and Positioning for Sustainable Brands in the Portuguese Market.
The current research program aims to ascertain whether during the evolution towards a new consumption paradigm and in a transitional period to market sustainability, corporations strategically exhibit similar marketing mixes to those observed in well-established free-market economies where sustainability is a crucial component of the prevailing paradigm. In this sense, the Marketing Decision and Research Problems are as follows: Marketing Decision Problem “How to reinvent the marketing mix and branding guidelines in enterprises working in a sustainability bases, in order to accelerate business, and turn the sustainability niche into a fast growing market in Portugal“ Marketing Research Problem “To understand what consumer expects from sustainable services and products; what their preferences in terms of portfolio are and to define the best marketing mix and brand identity strategy in order to target Sustainability products consumers in the most effective way”.
Methodologically the study will draw on primary data collection aiming to measure how consumer targets perceive sustainable brands in Portugal. This includes both quantitative and qualitative methods of scrutiny and analyses. 1)Analysing Sustainability and Brand Image; To study this link the study will use the following models: Theoretical model of bran identity and image relationship Scientific literature presents different models of brand identity and brand image. Still, analyzing various processes of brand image building, three closely connected elements are identified: brand identity; brand positioning and brand image. (Vytautas Janonis, Aistė Dovalienė, Regina Virvilaitė in .Relationship of Brand Identity and Image., ISSN 1392-2785 ENGINEERING) Research and empirical studies in Brand Identity definition have been carried out by such scholars as L. de Chernatony (1999, 2001), D. Aaker and E. Joachimsthaler (1997, 2003), L. Keller (1993,1998), F. Melin (1997), L. Upshaw (1995) and others, however, the Jean-Noel Kapferer model, Brand identity prism, will be used to analyze and present the current Identity of Sustainable Brands in Portugal.
The Kapferer‟s Prism of brand identity The composition of brand identity is characterized by the prism of identity (Kapferer, 2003) Brand image measuring process Although there are many definitions of brand image in marketing literature, various scientists present the conception of brand image from the consumer‟s perspective (Vytautas Janonis, Aistė Dovalienė, Regina Virvilaitė in Relationship of Brand Identity and Image., ISSN 1392-2785 ENGINEERING) 2) Marketing mix behaviour: a. Strategic marketing and branding and sustainability by focusing on a spectrum of marketing mix behaviours across three sectors of economic activity. In order to accomplish this, information from both the enterprises and consumers is needed to understand their expectations and doubts about sustainable products and services. Thus, in this project, one will use primary data organized in the two main groups: i) clients and ii) consumers. i) To analyze clients‟ topics, one has conducted a Qualitative analysis applying an exploratory research using the direct method trough 30 in-depth interviews per sector in analysis, in a total of 90 interviews. The interviews will last approximately 45min and will be recorded (with the respondent‟s permission). This will allow us to collect both verbal and non-verbal information. The clients selected will follow the quotas: 50% owners of sustainable brands and 50% owners of regular brands; 33% from turism sector, 33% from alimentary sector, 33% from renewable energies sector 100% Portuguese 100% PMEs;. ii) To analyse consumers. topics, one has conducted both Qualitative and Quantitative analysis: . For the qualitative analysis one will conduct an exploratory research using the direct method trough 100 in-depth interviews. This allowed us to collect both verbal and non-verbal information. The interviews will last approximately 45min and were recorded (with the respondent‟s permission). The selection of the consumers followed the quotas: 50% Male Consumers, 50% Female Consumers; 30% are heavy users of sustainable products and services, 30% randomly/punctually consume sustainable products and services, 30% never tried them before; 100% age 25 to 60 years old; 100% Portuguese. . For the quantitative analysis one will conducte an descriptive research trough 1000 face-to-face or online questionnaire to consumers. Our sample followed the same quotas as the qualitative analysis: 50% Male Consumers, 50% Female Consumers; 30% are heavy users of sustainable products and services, 30% randomly/punctually consume sustainable products and services, 30% never tried them before;
100% age 25 to 60 years old; 100% Portuguese. So, the topics to be developed are as follows: On the enterprises‟ side: • How do they think their consumers perceive their products/services? • How do they define their target? • What kind of services and products do they find relevant for this target? • What sustainable solutions are they offering? • What kind of products do they feel the market needs? On the consumers‟ side: • How do they really perceive sustainable services and products? • What are their habits in terms of sustainability? • What are they looking for in sustainable products and services? • What sustainable solutions are they looking for? • What marketing mix would they appreciate the most? • Are they looking for products always with a social significance, for instants? Or are they being selfish only taking care of their own health and consciousness? b. In so doing the research will aim to correlate marketing mix strategy with sustainable corporate behaviour with a view to identifying patterns of applicability of traditional marketing mix approaches to new organisational thinking where sustainability is a key pillar of strategic formulation. Statistical Tools and Tests For quantitative analysis one will use SPSS Software and the following statistical tools (on-top of the regular descriptive analysis): i) Cross Tabulation, to describe the joint distribution of the variables chosen; ii) Factorial Analysis, to describe variability among observed variables in terms of a potentially lower number of unobserved variables called factors. The information gained about the interdependencies between observed variables can be used later to reduce the set of variables in a dataset. iii) Conjoint Analysis, to determine what combination of a limited number of selected attributes is most influential on respondent choice or decision making regarding sustainability topics. iv) One-Way ANOVA, to test the differences among the three sectors selected. All validated with the relevant statistical tests that will test the association between the identified variables. For instance, one will use chi-square to test the statistical significance of the observed association in the cross tabulation. 3) Finally the research aims to integrate the concepts of sustainability in corporate behaviour and brand identity, drawing on their implications to market positioning and organisational competitive advantage.
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