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Green branding effects on attitude: functional versus emotional positioning strategies

Patrick Hartmann (Departamento de Economía de la Empresa y Financiación, Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, Spain)
Vanessa Apaolaza Ibáñez (Departamento de Economía de la Empresa y Financiación, Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, Spain)
F. Javier Forcada Sainz (Departamento de Economía de la Empresa y Financiación, Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, Spain)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 1 January 2005

40997

Abstract

Purpose

Proposes a set of strategic options for green brand positioning, based either on functional brand attributes or on emotional benefits. The aim of the study is to test the suggested green positioning strategies against one another, assessing their effect on perceived brand positioning and brand attitude.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model of the dimensionality and attitudinal effects of green brand positioning was developed. Both suggested alternatives to green brand positioning, along with a combined functional and emotional strategy, were tested in an experimental online setting. The hypothesized model was tested in the scope of exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modelling.

Findings

Results indicate an overall positive influence of green brand positioning on brand attitude. Further findings suggest distinct functional and emotional dimensions of green brand positioning with the interaction of both dimensions in the formation of brand attitude. Highest perceptual effects were achieved through a green positioning strategy that combined functional attributes with emotional benefits.

Research limitations/implications

The measures used, while providing good reliability and validity, have their limitations, especially in the case of the emotional dimension of green brand associations. Future research should concentrate on the further development of the constructs used in the study, particularly that of the emotional dimension of green brand associations and replicate the study under “real‐life” conditions within different product categories and with a representative sample.

Practical implications

A well implemented green positioning strategy can lead to a more favourable perception of the brand, giving support to the green marketing approach in general. This study supports significant attitude effects of both functional and emotional green positioning strategies. Thus, brand managers should deliver emotional benefits through the brand, at the same time making sure that target groups perceive real environmental benefits.

Originality/value

Although green marketing has been an important research topic for more than three decades, hardly any research has been conducted that focuses specifically on green branding. This paper analyses the dimensionality of green brand positioning, offers green branding insight and suggests strategic tools for brand managers.

Keywords

Citation

Hartmann, P., Apaolaza Ibáñez, V. and Forcada Sainz, F.J. (2005), "Green branding effects on attitude: functional versus emotional positioning strategies", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 9-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/02634500510577447

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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