Master thesis | Sustainability advertising in the furniture industry

Eco-labels are a signal in furniture advertising

Julia Gerstmayer & Bernhard Laber from the St.Pölten University of Applied Sciences have investigated sustainable purchasing behavior in furniture retail in their joint master’s thesis in cooperation with eye square.

They wanted to know what influence eco-labels have as a sustainability signal on explicit and implicit brand knowledge. Brands rely on eco-labels as an associative branding strategy to communicate their sustainability performance. In this way, the brand is linked to an eco-label and creates added value for consumers.

The two students* investigated the following questions to evaluate consumers’ brand associations with sustainability:

  • What impact does the presence of a (fictitious) eco-label have on the implicit and explicit association strengths of a furniture brand and thus on the brand?
  • To what extent do implicit and explicit brand associations of a furniture brand differ from each other?
  • What influence do external factors have on the effect of the eco-label?

The study was implemented this year within 2 weeks in May and June in Austria. 504 people aged 18 to 65 plus participated. The test persons were shown 2 digital ads of different furniture brands.

With quantitative questioning, measurement of Brand React and eye-tracking, the student research team was able to prove that the implicit sustainability of a brand through the perception of an eco-label represents a positive brand association that has a positive impact on consumer decision-making and preferences.

It does not matter whether the eco-label is fictional or real. The perception of an eco-label in furniture advertising significantly increases explicit brand sustainability.

To ensure that consumers can continue to trust their own brand, sustainability must be linked to the brand. Eco-labels do exactly one thing: they increase brand-related sustainability at the explicit level and strengthen brand perception for the future.


eye square
Philipp Reiter

Philipp Reiter is COO and partner at eye square. In particular, he is a qualified psychologist and specialized in cognitive information processing and implicit research methods. Philipp Reiter focuses on the optimal implementation of innovative neuroscientific measures from EEG to EDA in user, brand and buyer research.

He is also responsible for scientific collaboration with university partners such as Humboldt University or Leibniz University Hannover. Philipp teaches business psychology at the BiTS campus in Berlin.

Phone +49 30 698144-22
Mail reiter@eye-square.com

St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences

Julia Gerstmayer, MA
Telefon +43 664 735 17712
Mail jugerstmayer@gmail.com

Bernhard Laber, MA
Telefon +43 660 7497799
Mail bernhard.laber@gmail.com

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