This master’s thesis investigates how the global consumer goods company Unilever communicates
about their CSR activities online as well as how this affects their stakeholders’ perception
of the company. The study examines Unilever’s corporate brand through the use of the VCI
model as presented by Mary Jo Hatch and Majken Schultz. Furthermore, it explores the use of
Facebook as a media for Unilever’s CSR communication as well as how consumers feel about
the use of CSR as a branding tool.
Besides the VCI model, the thesis explores these areas through theories about CSR, organizational
culture as well as stakeholder identification and salience. The study is founded on qualitative,
empirical data from a survey, a focus group, and four interviews with experts in the field of
The study found an apparent gap between Unilever’s vision and culture, which has resulted in
the creation of another gap between the company’s vision and the stakeholder image. This gap
appears to have a negative impact on the reception of Unilever’s CSR communication due to the
contrast between the company’s promises of sustainable business practices and their CSR related
scandals in the media.
Additionally, the study found that Unilever currently uses Facebook as a means to communicate
about the company’s CSR activities. However, as Facebook is a social media, unsatisfied stakeholders
appear in turn to be using these communication efforts as a place for publicly shaming
the company for their shortcomings in regards to CSR.
In conclusion, CSR and sustainability are central parts of Unilever’s chosen identity, and they
actively communicate thusly online to position the company advantageously. However, due to
the gaps in Unilever’s corporate brand, stakeholders do not always receive this communication
|Uddannelser||Kommunikation, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat|
|Udgivelsesdato||1 jun. 2018|
- corporate branding