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The adoption of sustainable marketing practices within the UK music festivals sector

Richardson, Neil Andrew (2015) The adoption of sustainable marketing practices within the UK music festivals sector. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This research investigates the efficacy of communications in matters germane to sustainable practices within the UK independent music festival sector. To do this the study identifies Triple-Bottom-Line based sustainability and/or marketing practices adopted by stakeholders and how they (and consumers) perceive related communications. The ‘sector’ is complex, fast changing, a major contributor to the UK creative economy and is forecast to grow. It is typical of the creative economy where a small number of large firms counterbalances a large number of essentially local, micro-enterprises. Largely independent, these smaller festivals comprise a variety of multi-stakeholder businesses with differing aims and objectives. Micro-enterprises have different characteristics (to larger companies), which dictate their marketing approaches. However sustainability studies often focus on larger manufacturers, which mirrors how most extant approaches to marketing were developed i.e. from experiences in larger companies. Stakeholders must align their values with changing consumer behaviour (e.g. increasing ethical and environmental spending patterns). Festival organisers must communicate with a diverse range of stakeholders and this case study investigates perceptions and attitudes germane to the communication of sustainable practices. Festivals are unlike other events or services as they are based almost entirely upon high degrees of consumer engagement often in areas of outstanding natural beauty. Despite this scholars have largely ignored them. Festivals are temporary townships, generally transitory, occurring infrequently and limited in time. Governments regard them positively owing to the economic sustainability generated, their ability to generate a sense of collective responsibility and encouraging community involvement. Many researchers apply functional ‘silo-based approaches’ to events. The customer-centric disciplines have largely failed to embrace sustainability. This study is inter-disciplinary being located in the overlap between sustainability and customer centric disciplines. Sustainable Marketing (SM) is gaining credence and increasingly adopted by progressive marketers. This research identifies recognised marketing and sustainability practices adopted by those micro-enterprises who ‘deliver’ festivals. Festivals operate in an increasingly competitive environment hence the implementation of effective marketing approaches is a priority. This study provides insights into marketing communications (‘marcomms’) and positioning that will prove useful for practitioners and academics. Few studies of the adoption of sustainability within services or arts exist. This study seeks to address this, contributing to the growing area of research into sustainability within the services and leisure economy. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 19 stakeholders representing enterprises delivering 7 independent music festivals in the 2014 festival season. Parallel to this 119 festivalgoers were surveyed which enabled triangulation and provided useful insights.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: sustainability, marketing, festivals, music, SME, entrepreneur
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds) > Sustainability Research Institute (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.692405
Depositing User: Dr Neil Richardson
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 09:56
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2016 14:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13578

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