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Normalising green behaviours: A new approach to sustainability marketing

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This paper develops a new approach to sustainability marketing: repositioning activities as normal, or not normal, to encourage the adoption of more sustainable consumer practices. The paper is grounded in theories of social normalisation, conformity, and social practice theory. Previous qualitative work by the authors suggests that some sustainable behaviours are not adopted because they are perceived to be not normal, and that some unsustainable behaviours persist because they are seen as normal. This paper shows how consumer perceptions of the extent to which behaviours are normal or not normal can be identified and used in the design of sustainability marketing strategies. The research involved a survey of 1000 UK respondents' attitudes to 15 specific activities, and identifies marketing strategies for (re)positioning these activities as either normal or not normal, as appropriate. In addition, the paper provides guidance for targeting these normalisation strategies at specific demographic groups.

Keywords: green marketing; normalisation; segmentation; social marketing; sustainability marketing; targeting and positioning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Kingston University, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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