Challenges and approaches of integrating sustainability into the brand positioning : a qualitative research
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- Master Thesis 
Since sustainability is an important marketing tool nowadays, companies are increasingly paying attention to integrate sustainability into their marketing communication. Across the industries and types of companies, there can be observed ambitions of integration processes. Simultaneously, there are obstacles forcing companies to develop new approaches to overcome them. The paper is dealing with the integration of sustainability into a company’s brand positioning and the upcoming challenges of this integration while also looking on possible solutions to overcome these obstacles. The following research questions were developed: i. How do marketers integrate sustainability into the brand positioning? ii. What challenges and problems occur in the process of integrating sustainability? iii. How do marketers try to overcome these challenges and problems? By using an exploratory design, qualitative interviews were conducted with five major German enterprises. The interviewees have either been marketing managers, sustainability mangers or the chief execute officer itself. The result of the analysis is showing that companies are already actively engaging in sustainable matters and communication by the integration into their practices and strategy. Some of them already implemented sustainability into their brand positioning, while others are actively planning to do so. Across the companies, several sustainable measures are already executed and implemented in the areas of logistics, waste management, internal resource usage, fleet renewal or sustainable project investment. Challenges of the integration of sustainability can be identified as higher costs due to the amendment of products and services, the thread of being perceived to greenwash with green communication and the overall choice of sustainable approach or measures. Companies feel partly overwhelmed with the possibilities to engage with sustainability which leads to a confusion of where to start and where to leverage sustainability in the most effective way. Simultaneously, an inconsistent and irresponsible communication can create the risk of building an untrustworthy image in this regard. In order to overcome challenges of sustainable integration, companies adapt their pricing strategies to cover costs, but simultaneously invest into innovations leveraging sustainability. Partnerships and cooperation are of utmost importance to share expertise and build up a whole strategic concept that is supporting each other. At the same time there is paid an increasing caution on thorough communication of sustainable matters and the constant control to prove the measures and believes when questioned.