MKT 618: Sustainable Marketing: CSR & Brand Activism

Sustainable Marketing is defined as the company’s social, environmental, and economic responsibility through its products and services, corporate practices, and values. Today, many corporations are including two forms of sustainable marketing in their marketing strategies: Corporate Social Responsibility and Brand Activism. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) started taking shape as a marketing concept and being implemented by businesses after World War II, especially in the 1950s (Carroll, 2009; Farcane & Bureana, 2015). However, decades later, brands started going beyond CSR by taking public stances on socio-political causes, a concept known as brand activism. This sustainable marketing course explores CSR and brand activism typology, characteristics, and communication strategies while discussing approaches of regional and international brands.

Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • understand the concept of sustainable marketing
  • understand the principles and characteristics of two main types of sustainable marketing: CSR and Brand activism
  • differentiate between CSR and Brand activism
  • identify the efficacy and the authenticity of the two strategies and their related campaigns

Necessary prerequisites

Recommended prerequisites
Attendees of this course should be knowledgeable in marketing and communication strategies and have a basic understanding of sustainable marketing.

Forms of teaching and learningContact hoursIndependent study time
Lecture1 SWS4 SWS
ECTS credits2
Graded yes
Form of assessmentAbout the assessment: Students will watch an ad or read an article and answer questions about the brand, ad, and strategy.
Written exam
Duration: 90 minutes followed by a discussion session
Restricted admissionyes
Further informationStudent Portal (information on central registration process).
Performing lecturer
Prof. Dr. Florian Stahl
Souha Itani
Frequency of offeringSpring semester
Duration of module 1 semester
Range of applicationM.Sc. MMM, M.Sc. Bus. Edu., MAKUWI
Preliminary course work
Program-specific Competency GoalsCG 1, CG 2
LiteratureReadings will be shared with the students four weeks prior to the course.
Course outlineSustainable Marketing
1. History and evolution
Corporate Social Responsibility
1. A brief history
2. Definition and objectives
3. Principles and characteristics
4. Communicating and reporting CSR
5. Internal and external effects
Brand activism
1. Definition and objectives
2. Typology and Characteristics
3. Communicating stances
4. Marketing efficacy
5. Brand activism and political ideologies
Comparing CSR and brand activism
Green and woke washing