A critical approach to Kotler and Sarkar's brand activism: a comparison to a theoretical framework of CSR, CC, and activism

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dc.contributor Aalto University en
dc.contributor Aalto-yliopisto fi
dc.contributor.advisor Mikkonen, Ilona
dc.contributor.author Hassinen, Maria
dc.date.accessioned 2018-12-28T17:00:07Z
dc.date.available 2018-12-28T17:00:07Z
dc.date.issued 2018
dc.identifier.uri https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/handle/123456789/35811
dc.description.abstract Brand activism is a new emerging concept in the literature of practical strategic marketing. The concept has not entered the academic discussions yet, but it is clearly gaining traction as Interbrandhas listed brand activism as a trend to watch in 2017, Darden has published a few cases about it, and newspapers e.g. Forbes, Adweek, and Ad Age have published several articles considering it. This paper focuses on Kotler and Sarkar’s concept of brand activism as they have written several articles and a book considering brand activism. Their concept of brand activism is critically examined in this paper by the four claims they make about brand activism in their publications. These claims are compared to a theoretical framework of corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate citizenship (CC), and activism. The theoretical framework is formed based on the claims Kotler and Sarkar make and it is used to conclude what is problematic in their concept. Kotler and Sarkar claim that brand activism has evolved from the concept of CSR. If brand activism had truly evolved from the concept of CSR, the philosophies should be somewhat similar. However, there are significant differences between these concepts as brand activism is mainly a business strategy for profits whereas CSR is a broader concept which considers the effects that CSR activities have on society. Kotler and Sarkar have divided the concept of brand activism into regressive, neutral, and progressive brand activism. Regressive brand activism refers to hurting the common good while progressive brand activism is helping the common good. Kotler and Sarkar talk often about only ‘brand activism’ when they discuss the concept which makes their ideas somewhat problematic and contradictory. The current political polarization has led to corporations and CEOs taking a more visible stand on societal issues. Harvard Business Review and The World Economic Forum describe this as ‘CEO activism’ and it is suggested in this paper that brand activism is similar to this concept as these both concepts focus on making public statements about sensitive social and political issues. Brand activism is not comparable to traditional activism. Traditional activism aims for a meaningful change whereas brand activism is taking an advantage of the societal themes which are relevant for the consumers. In Kotler and Sarkar’s brand activism, the focus is on knowing your stakeholders, especially customers and employees. Millennials form a significant group of today’s consumers and workforce and they are found to be especially interested in brands taking a stand on current issues. Thus, brand activism is a business strategy to affect the corporations’ reputation positively so that millennials would want to buy their products and work for them. en
dc.format.extent 17 + 6
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.title A critical approach to Kotler and Sarkar's brand activism: a comparison to a theoretical framework of CSR, CC, and activism en
dc.type G1 Kandidaatintyö fi
dc.contributor.school Kauppakorkeakoulu fi
dc.contributor.school School of Business en
dc.contributor.department Markkinoinnin laitos fi
dc.subject.keyword brand activism en
dc.subject.keyword corporate social responsibility en
dc.subject.keyword corporate citizenship en
dc.subject.keyword activism en
dc.subject.keyword CSR
dc.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:aalto-201812286820
dc.type.ontasot Bachelor's thesis en
dc.type.ontasot Kandidaatintyö fi
dc.programme Markkinointi en


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