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Green marketing in housing: reality or rhetoric?

By Whitney Bevan and Shu-Ling Lu


All new homes in the UK will be required to be zero carbon from 2016. Housing sector bodies and individual housing developers are championing a transition from traditional marketing to green marketing approaches to raise consumer awareness of the benefits of low and zero carbon homes. On-site sales teams on housing developments form a central interface between the developer and potential buyers. These teams, then, have a critical role in the success or otherwise of the developers’ green marketing strategies. However, there is a dearth of empirical research that explores the actual attitudes and practices of these teams. An exploratory case study approach was adopted. The data collection consisted of reviewing relevant company documentation and semi-structure interviews with the on-site sales teams from six housing developments. The findings from two case studies suggest that the sales teams do have potential to forge a bridge between the design / production and consumption spheres in the way that consumers understand and appreciate, but further work is required. The sales teams’ practices were constrained by the incumbent, traditional marketing logic that rotates around issues such as location and selling price. The sales teams appeared to adopt a strategy of a restriction of information about the benefits of low and zero carbon homes to not disturb the prevailing logic. Further, the sales teams justify this insulating mechanism by the argument that consumers are not interested in those benefits. This rhetoric may be driving a real wedge between the design / production and consumption spheres to the detriment of the consumer and, in the longer term, the house builder itself

Year: 2013
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