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The conscientious corporate brand: definition, operationalization and application in a B2B context

Russell Abratt (School of Business, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA)
Nicola Kleyn (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands andUniversity of Pretoria Gordon Institute of Business Science, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 3 January 2023




As B2B firms face increasing scrutiny due to increased stakeholder awareness of environmental and social concerns, doing business with a conscience has become an important imperative. Despite a growing focus on conscientious corporate branding (CCB), the construct has never been clearly defined, and many of the exemplars used to depict CCB have focused on a B2C context. The purpose of this research paper is to define CCB, to develop a framework that leaders can apply to build and manage a conscientious corporate brand and to demonstrate application of the components of the framework in the B2B context.


This study uses an exploratory approach and focuses on extant literature relating to operating with a conscience, including organizational purpose, ethical leadership, ethicalization of the organization, stakeholder co-creation, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.


This study shows how companies in a B2B context can use a framework that includes dimensions of purpose, ethics, stakeholder co-creation, sustainability and CSR to build a CCB through reconciling and integrating leadership and stakeholder perspectives to create and communicate sustainable and responsible behavior.

Research limitations/implications

This study opens the door for further research into the actions required to build CCBs. There is a need to validate the CCB framework in future studies.

Practical implications

This study identifies how to build a conscientious corporate brand and applies it in the B2B context.


This study expands our understanding of CCBs by providing a definition and framework to guide scholars and practitioners. Given the paucity of focus on CCB in the B2B context, the authors exemplify the framework using B2B examples.



Abratt, R. and Kleyn, N. (2023), "The conscientious corporate brand: definition, operationalization and application in a B2B context", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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