A Qualitative Study of Brand Purpose in a Communication and Branding Perspective: A Casestudy of the Hotelbooking Platform Goodwings' Communicative Use of Purpose

Julie Boisen Schmidt & Stine Franker Holm

Student thesis: Master thesis


In an industry where CSR and sustainability remain on a discussion level, this thesis aims to investigate how brand purpose can be used to create stronger brands. It reflects upon the phenomenon of brand purpose through a case study of the purpose driven Danish hotel booking platform, Goodwings. It will provide recommendations as to how Goodwings can use brand purpose communicatively to strengthen its brand and better position itself in the hotel booking industry. Goodwings’ business model is based on close partnerships with NGOs. These NGOs receive donations making up 50% of the total profits in exchange for promoting Goodwings to potential B2B customers. The theoretical framework of the thesis is used as a basis for the provided recommendations and acknowledges a review of existing brand purpose literature as well as theoretical perspectives on blue ocean strategy, storytelling, competition, communication and branding theories. It is an empirical study taking a social constructivist and philosophical hermeneutic approach. Thus, the methods for data collection include a series of qualitative expert and focus group interviews as well as a quantitative questionnaire. Therefore, the theoretical foundations and the collected data provide the basis for the analysis and the final recommendations for Goodwings’ use of brand purpose. The situational analysis considers the competitive environment, target group segmentation and buying behaviour, as well as an examination of Goodwings’ brand in the minds of consumers, and the company’s use of brand purpose and communication. Based on this, the thesis presents four practical challenges relevant to Goodwings’ current situation. In addition, it suggests a list of recommendations for how Goodwings can reduce the risks of the presented challenges in order to strengthen its business model and brand. As a result, the findings show that Goodwings must incorporate brand purpose at a core level, which must be reflected in all decision-making and always be prioritised more so than profit. Furthermore, a purpose statement should create consistency throughout the organisation and in all communicative efforts. For this, help people travel a better world, is recommended as Goodwings’ specific purpose statement and also as the main message for all communication and storytelling. Communicatively, Goodwings must base its dialogue with NGOs on constant knowledge-sharing facilitated by an NGO dashboard, where NGOs can see the status of donations and the impact created. This information, as well as a collection of marketing materials from Goodwings, should ease the NGOs’ marketing efforts and improve the communication to the target audience, hereby contributing to communicative and brand consistency. It is important for the external communication of Goodwings’ brand purpose that the messaging should be directed to both the primary and secondary target groups of business and private customers. It is also vital that this is done through a mix of interpersonal- and mass communication channels, as this will help increase the level of brand awareness. Finally, the thesis recommends Goodwings change their supplier from Expedia to Booking.com in order to ensure competitive advantage on hotel supply. These recommendations all contribute to a suggested communication strategy and thus making Goodwings a stronger brand, that is recognised for both soulful and operational excellence.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages295