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Competitive advantage from marketing the SDGs: a luxury perspective

Judith Hepner (International University of Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco)
Jean-Louis Chandon (International University of Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco) (INSEEC U Research Center, Inseec Business School, Paris, France)
Damyana Bakardzhieva (International University of Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco) (INSEEC U Research Center, Inseec Business School, Paris, France)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 21 July 2020

Issue publication date: 8 March 2021

Abstract

Purpose

Shall luxury firms promote their sustainable development goals (SDGs)? What are the risks and the competitive advantages? Some answers from sustainability-oriented luxury buyers are provided.

Design/methodology/approach

Quantitative and qualitative analysis from an online survey of 315 luxury buyers in 28 countries.

Findings

Sustainability-oriented luxury buyers want branding strategies aligned with the SDGs and rank SDGs in order of importance for the luxury industry. However, they are unable to rank consistently most brands based on their sustainability efforts. The Stella McCartney brand is a clear exception to the general findings: sustainability-oriented luxury buyers rank Stella the most sustainable luxury brand by a vast margin, show willingness to purchase more from this brand, recommend it and are ready to pay a premium.

Research limitations/implications

The paper uses partial ranking of 20 luxury brands because in pretests, luxury buyers found it difficult to provide a complete ranking of the sustainability efforts of all the brands. Further research in more cultural or geographical contexts is needed.

Originality/value

The research empirically provides an example of a successful marketing strategy leveraging the SDGs to meet sustainability-oriented luxury buyers with targeted actions and messaging to gain competitive advantage.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors hereby acknowledge the valuable input provided by Gilles Laurent and Hans Mühlbacher

Citation

Hepner, J., Chandon, J.-L. and Bakardzhieva, D. (2021), "Competitive advantage from marketing the SDGs: a luxury perspective", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 39 No. 2, pp. 284-299. https://doi.org/10.1108/MIP-07-2018-0298

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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