The influence of sustainability on consumer behaviour: A Marketing communication perspective
Sustainability is a growing concern in the modern world and this has led to a large increase in sustainability efforts by firms. This thesis aims to address how firms can use the marketing communication of their sustainability efforts to influence consumer behavior. Hypotheses are developed and tested through an experiment exposing 140 consumers to four different presentation modes of an advertisement of a fictional product presenting the sustainability efforts of a fictional firm. The simplicity and the dominance of the message about sustainability efforts are manipulated. In contrast to expectations, simplicity and dominance of the sustainability message do not lead to positive consumer responses and increased perceived sustainability. As expected, perceived sustainability leads to positive consumer responses. Personal norms and social norms do not strengthen this effect, contrary to expectations. The findings show that sustainability influences consumer behavior, but altering the simplicity and dominance of a sustainability message are not reliable ways to affect perceived sustainability and consumer behavior. Earlier research has lacked clear links between marketing communication and consumer behavior in a sustainability context. This thesis advances theory by taking the marketing communication variables simplicity and dominance into account in studying the sustainability – consumer behavior relationship.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen