Keen to be green? Consumer perceptions of green advertising in the skincare industry : Consumer perceptions of green advertising in the skincare industry

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Consumer perceptions of green advertising in the skincare industry



School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University

Course: Master Thesis in Business Administration Supervisor: Konstantin Lampou

Course code: FOA403 Date: 2020-06-09



Performing research do not only include hard work but also gives a lot in return. The learnings obtained from the process of writing this thesis is highly valuable and will not soon be forgotten. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our supervisor Konstantin for your consistent support, encouragement and sharing of valuable knowledge. This has been a great benefit and contribution to the completed thesis. Furthermore, we thank our fellow students for great support and feedback during the process. This enabled a continuous development and improvement of the thesis.

We would also like to pay special regards to all who participated in our research, without your engagement and valuable contributions, the research would not have been possible. The providing of interesting insights created an intriguing work process which we are most grateful for.

Despite the unusual situation in society with the Covid-19 pandemic, it has still been possible to complete this thesis because of the great commitment of everyone involved in the process. This includes Mälardalen University who enabled all proceedings to be continued online when it was no longer possible to meet in person. For this we are most grateful.

Last but not least, with the hope that you will find this report interesting, we wish you an enjoyable time of reading.



Date: 2020-06-09

Level: Master thesis in Business Administration, 15 cr

Institution: School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University

Authors: Lisa Eriksson Lana Rasool

(91/08/31) (97/02/23)

Title: Keen to be green? Consumer perceptions of green advertising in the skincare industry

Tutor: Konstantin Lampou

Keywords: Green advertisements, green perceived risk, green trust, green skincare, green marketing, green content.


questions: How do consumers perceive green content in advertisements? a. What aspects create perceptions of trust?

b. What aspects create perceptions of risks?

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore how consumers perceive green advertising practices in the skincare industry and what aspects affect perceptions of trust and risks.

Method: The study was conducted through a qualitative approach by performing focus groups. Data was analyzed through a thematic analysis.

Conclusion: The research indicate that there are several aspects that lead to

consumer perception of trust and perceived risk when consumers view green advertisements. Six main themes that included different aspects were identified.


Table of content

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Background 1

1.2 Problem formulation 2

1.3 Purpose and research questions 5

2 Literature review 6

2.1 Green advertising 6

2.1.2 Defensive and assertive approaches 6

2.2 Consumer knowledge 7

2.3 Consumer attitudes 8

2.4 Consumer perceptions 9

2.4.1 Perceived green trust 11

2.4.2 Perceived risk 12

2.5 Conceptual model of consumer perceptions 13

3 Methodology 16

3.1 Research design 16

3.2 Literature review process 16

3.3 Data collection 17

3.3.1 Performing focus groups 19

3.3.2 Focus groups participants 20

3.3.3 Questions 20

3.3.4 Advertisements 21

3.4 Pilot study 22

3.5 Sample 22

3.6 Data analysis 24

3.7 Ethical considerations 25

3.8 Validity and reliability 25

4 Findings 27

4.1 Identified themes 27

4.2 Green advertising approaches 29

4.3 Consumer knowledge 29

4.4 Consumer attitudes 30

4.5 Consumer perceptions 30


4.7 Perceived risk 34

5 Discussion of analysis 36

5.1 Green advertising approaches 36

5.2 Consumer knowledge 36

5.3 Consumer attitudes 37

5.4 Consumer perceptions 38

5.5 Perceived green trust 39

5.6 Perceived risk 41

6 Conclusion 44

6.1 Implications and future research 46

References 48

Appendix 53

A Model of cognitive processing 53

B The persuasion knowledge model 53

C Summary of findings 54

D Coding 55

E Theming 63

List of figures

Figure 1. Tricomponent attitude model

Figure 2. Determinants of green trust Figure 3. Conceptual model of consumer perceptions

List of tables

Table 1. Databases and keywords Table 2. Participants

Table 3. Main questions Table 4. Concluded themes


1 Introduction

The first chapter introduces a background to problems within green marketing and continues by explaining the problems and what previous research has found within the subject. Thereafter the purpose and research questions of the thesis are presented.

1.1 Background

One of the largest markets around the globe today is the market of cosmetics (Statista, 2020). Cosmetics are products created to cleanse, protect and change the appearance of the external parts of the body (Jones, 2019). According to 2019 statistics, the global cosmetics market has grown by an estimated 5.5 percent compared with the previous years (Statista, 2020). During 2019, the category of skincare products consisted of 50 percent of the global cosmetic market (Statista, 2020). Skin care is things that you apply on your skin to keep it healthy and attractive (Cambridge Dictionary, n.d.). A strong trend is seen towards natural ingredients and innovations in skincare products, and this is one of the reasons for the current and continuing growth in the skincare industry (Statista Consumer Market Outlook, 2019). The global market of natural and organic beauty has been growing considerably over the past years and it is expected to continue expanding (Statista Research Department, 2016b). Chin et al. (2018) furthermore confirms that green skincare products is the fastest growing product category within green cosmetics.

Environmental issues have increased the consumer's willingness to purchase green products (Bhagwat, 2019; Chin, et al., 2018; Bhutto et al., 2019; Chen & Chang, 2012). It is continuously becoming more common that consumers display concerns about environmental issues, which has shifted their purchase behaviour and demands for green products (Bhagwat, 2019; Setyawan et al., 2018; Shahbandeh, 2019a; Chen & Chang, 2012). A global study about female consumers displayed that 26.6 percent of women find green ingredients to be important features when buying skincare products (Shahbandeh, 2018). When consumers have been asked what they look for in green skincare products before purchasing, 56 percent state that they look for products that only consist of natural ingredients (Wunsch, 2018). It is thereby clear that people are becoming more concerned about dangerous ingredients in their skin care. Furthermore, a survey from 2016 in Sweden show that more than 50 percent of the female respondents are concerned about chemicals in their skincare products, which is much higher than for men (Statista Research Department, 2016a). To ad, a study also show that 70 percent of Swedish respondents buy green skincare because they want to reduce the impact on the environment, and 40 percent buy green skincare because the products are perceived as better for their health (Statista Research Department,


2015). Since more people are becoming aware of the ecological impact on the environment and the issues that can arise from controversial ingredients being used in skin care, a switching from such ingredientes to instead purchasing in skin care that contain green ingredients has occurred (Statista Research Department, 2016b). According to Statista Research Department (2017), more than 40 percent of Swedish females purchased green skin care products in 2015. Their research also show that over 50 percent of those females were able to differentiate the two different categories between the “normal” skin care and skincare that contains green ingredients. This shows that Swedish females are becoming more knowledgeable in this area (Statista Research Department, 2017).

The increased consumer knowledge and willingness to contribute for the good of the environment has resulted in the development of green products and companies implementation of green content in their marketing (Bhagwat, 2019). Green marketing has been defined as “organizational efforts to design, promote, price and distribute products that do not have an adverse impact on the environment” (Chrisjatmiko, 2018). It refers to all marketing activities that promotes and stimulates the consumers environmentally friendly needs and behaviors, which can be used by companies to differentiate and to meet customer needs (Chrisjatmiko, 2018).

1.2 Problem formulation

Perrini et al. (2010) argues that there is a lack of trust from consumers towards green marketing, and one of the reasons for this is the mainstreaming of green products the last years and their marketing strategies. Consumers are generally sceptical because many companies claim to protect the environment but fail to do what they advertise (Nyilasy et al., 2014). Shahbandeh (2019b) also explains that there is a lack of regulations in the cosmetic industry, and that the differences between personal standards and organizations interpretations of natural cosmetics, creates an uncertainty in the cosmetic industry. Uncertainty is something that companies can take advantage of in their marketing, Ho et al. (2019) argues that the green marketing has emerged as “a competitive weapon to win the customers from the marketplace”. This has given rise to a phenomenon called “greenwashing”, which can be explained as “misleading consumers about firm environmental performance or the environmental benefits of a product or service” (Delmas & Burbano, 2011:64). Green washing practices have limited formal regulations (Shahbandeh, 2019b) and often lead to distrust, negative perceptions about products and brands, confusion (Seelig, et al., 2019; Aji & Sutikno, 2015) as well as decreased purchases (Lewandowska, et al., 2017).

When companies use misleading green communication messages towards consumers, such as advertising how purchasing the products supports ecological values and is good for the environment without it being so, it has a high probability of creating perceived risks regarding green products (Aji


& Sutikno, 2015; Seelig et al., 2019). In order to reduce greenwashing, companies should make the green claims more reliable and transparent (Chen et al., 2020). When consumers intend to purchase products or services, they can hesitate to purchase because of their perception of risks with the purchase. Pathak and Pathak (2017) defines consumers perceived risk as “consumers’ perception of the uncertainty and adverse consequences of engaging in a purchase activity”. Chrisjatmiko (2018) introduces the term “green perceived risk”, referring to the perceived risks specifically towards green products, and highlights the lack of research within this area. Green perceived risks is perceptions of risks related to environmental issues such as the performance or usage of the product or that the product might not function properly because of its environmental design (Chrisjatmiko, 2018).

Green marketing actions play an important role for companies and clearly affects consumer behaviour (Mele et al., 2019). Sustainable and green actions are important for companies to perform because it has positive impacts on consumers and increases companies’ overall performances (Mele et al., 2019). Looking at previous studies, several are found to investigate green marketing in relation to different concepts and aspects. Papista and Dimitriadis (2019) explored relationships between consumers and green brands. They concluded that future studies should research the effects of brands sincerity and credibility regarding brands green performance as well as perceived benefits of self expression, socialization and altruism in this context.

Doszhanov and Ahmad (2015) found in their research that awareness about green products create positive perceptions about the products and decrease the perceived risks of green products and affects consumers purchase intentions. According to Doszhanov and Ahmad (2015) future researchers should investigate the variables of green brand trust in different markets. Furthermore, Mele et al. (2019) investigated identification and engagement between green companies and consumers. They found that it is important to reach the consumers with communication about the performed actions and the green concerns that the company have, through clear and direct communication. Mele et al. (2019) who investigated this in the hotel context in Spain, suggest that further research investigate the subject in other countries and industries (Mele et al., 2019). Another study by Bhutto et al. (2019) investigated consumer behavior of green products and found that predictors on green buying behavior are consumer attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control. Investigating green products in general, Bhutto et al. (2019) recommend that future studies should investigate different product categories, for example green skincare products.

Lin et al. (2017a) investigated green perceived value and transparency of communicating this.They found that the increased awareness about the environment and the growing demand for green products has made more companies want to position their brands as green in order to be competitive, and that this has resulted in greenwashing issues and a succeeding increased consumer skepticism towards green


brands which negatively affects consumers perception of risks. Chen and Chang (2012) as well as Chrisjatmiko (2018), explains that companies need to implement green marketing that decreases green perceived risks, eases customer skepticism and increases consumer trust. Chen (2010) mean that the characteristics of greenwashing in green marketing, different types of greenwashing and how they can be prevented needs to be investigated, and Papista and Dimitriadis (2019) encourage future studies to investigate green brands sincerity and credibility. Lewandowska et al. (2017) even describe that there is a currently “trust crisis” in green marketing today because of the lack of consumer trust towards green marketing practices. They found that in green marketing it is important to create consumer trust for the green businesses activities by communicating green credentials of the products and the product life cycle and advise future studies to continue research about optimal content for green marketing communications related to the life cycles of products (Lewandowska et al., 2017).

It is apparent that many studies have been conducted about green products, consumer behavior and green marketing, but there is a lack of research about this in the skincare industry (Mele et al., 2019; Bhutto et al., 2019; Doszhanov & Ahmad, 2015) which makes it a relevant industry to investigate. This is also supported by Bhutto et al. (2019) who mentions that future studies need to dig deeper and get more information about different product categories since the results differs from product to product. Furthermore, most previous studies within the area are also conducted through quantitative methods to measure connections between different variables (Mele et al., 2019; Bhutto et al., 2019; Doszhanov & Ahmad, 2015, Chen & Chang, 2012; Chrisjatmiko) which means that there is a lack of qualitative research in the chosen industry for this research.

Mo et al. (2018) argues that despite the importance, practical implications and widely spread appearance of green advertisements, knowledge about the effects of them are still lacking. There are studies that highlight the importance of consumers perception of green trust and consumers perception of risks, however, less attention has been paid on what aspects affect trust or perceived risks within green marketing (Doszhanov & Ahmad, 2015; Lin et al. 2017a).

Due to the global growth in the green skin care industry, the visible and clear strong trend of consumers showing their consuming of green skin care (Statista Consumer Market Outlook, 2019) and statistics that show how Swedish female consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and interested in this area (Statista Research Department, 2017) makes it relevant to investigate these consumers perceptions of green marketing practices in the skincare industry. Chen and Chang (2012) explains that companies need to reduce consumers green perceived risk and enhance the green trust in order to increase consumers green purchase intentions. Chen and Chang (2012) as well as Perrini, Castaldo, Misani and Tencati (2010) argue that this has not been investigated within a green perspective.


1.3 Purpose and research questions

The aim of this research is to discover what aspects affect perceptions of trust and perceived risks towards green products in green advertisements. This is important to research since it can contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of regulating policies of green content and green content advertisements in the green skin care industry as well as provide marketers with better insights in how to create advertisements that create the desired perceptions from the consumers. Therefore, this report will investigate the following research questions:

1. How do consumers perceive green content in advertisements? a. What aspects are perceived as trustworthy?

b. What aspects create perceptions of risks?

The purpose of this study is to explore how consumers perceive green advertising practices in the skincare industry and what aspects affect perceptions of trust and risks. The main objective is to investigate what contributes to Swedish female consumers perceptions of trust and perceived risks towards green products in green advertisements. The choice to investigate advertisements in the skincare industry seemed relevant since there is limited research in this area, and Swedish female consumers have shown a great interest in green skincare which made it a significant group of consumers to investigate. In order to fulfil the purpose and get a deeper understanding of the aspects that contribute to different perceptions of green content marketing, a qualitative study with three focus groups of Swedish female respondents will be conducted. This paper is addressed to scholars and marketers that are interested in the enhancement of consumers purchase intentions of products with green content by using green advertisement.


2 Literature review

This chapter contains found literature and theories about green advertising and marketing approaches, consumer motives of buying green, as well as consumer perceptions, knowledge and attitudes towards advertisements. The chapter ends with a conceptual model that is based on the literature findings.

2.1 Green advertising

Marketing communication can be used by companies to help the consumers gain knowledge and understand the features and benefits of an object (Fill & Turnbull, 2016). Mo et al. (2018) explains that one of the most common types of green marketing is green advertising. Chen (2010) mentions five reasons for companies to use and develop its green marketing. The reasons are that it makes companies comply with environmental pressures, companies gain competitive advantages, it improves corporate image, help finding new markets and opportunities as well as enhances the product value.

Studies have found that this type of advertising has a direct positive effect on the consumers purchase intention. However, companies need to be honest and not misleading with their green advertising by showing different green attributes in their advertisement that is false, this could lead to a negative comeback from the consumers (Mo et al., 2018). Aji and Sutikno (2015) explains that green advertising that is perceived as misleading also creates consumer perceptions of confusion and scepticism. Mo et al. (2018) argues that if a green advertisement is perceived to be manipulative by the consumer, it can minimize the consumers willingness to understand the information that is included, such as introducing the benefits of the product, and therefore lead to advertising failure (Mo et al., 2018). In order to avoid such manipulative functional green perceptions, some advertisers include instead more comprehensive messages, such as “recycable” and “environmentally friendly” to make sure it results in effectiveness of the green advertising and at the same time show the benefits of the product (Mo et al., 2018).

2.1.2 Defensive and assertive approaches

McDaniel and Rylander (1993) claim that the term “green marketing” target people who are referred as “environmental consumers”. Marketers create different type of green marketing approaches in order to attract environmentally conscious consumers. There are two basic approaches to green marketing that marketers can use in their green marketing strategies, the first one is a defensive approach and the second one is an assertive or aggressive approach (McDaniel & Rylander, 1993).


According to McDaniel and Rylander (1993), the defensive approach is the most common approach among companies, holding a defensive approach toward green marketing. This occurs when companies do the absolute minimum in order to abstain unfavorable consequences (McDaniel & Rylander, 1993; Rathod & Vaidya, 2019). Rathod and Vaidya (2019) explains the defensive approach to be a reactionary strategy, in the sense of companies using this type of marketing approach to avoid any mistakes going against the governmental environment regulations. McDaniel and Rylander (1993) mention three types of defensive approaches. The first one is when companies avoid as much as possible to mention environmental regulations in order to avoid taxes or penalties. The second one, similar to the first one, is to meet minimum standards in order to avoid a consumer rejection. The third and last defensive approach is to follow competitors’ approaches, however, avoiding doing more than what they perform (McDaniel & Rylander, 1993).

McDaniel and Rylander (1993) and Rathod and Vaidya (2019), explains that the assertive approach will give the company the best chance to develop a sustainable competitive advantage. The assertive approach is about being the first one to take a move that has not occured before and doing more than what is required from the government or could be expected by the consumers. It is making responses to the market reasons and being profit-driven instead of regulations (McDaniel & Rylander, 1993; Rathod & Vaidya, 2019).

Being a first mover is very critical in green marketing, since it is something that has not been applied to the market before and therefore the risks and advantages are unknown. However, if the strategy is well planned and the image of the firm will not be ruined and instead be seen as a sincere environmental activist, this gives a great competitive advantage (McDaniel & Rylander, 1993). Other companies will start imitating the new assertive approach and this could give an advantage by the consumers becoming sceptical about the imitators and trusting the first mover instead which leads to increased profitability (McDaniel & Rylander, 1993).

2.2 Consumer knowledge

Friestad and Wright (1994) found that people, mainly consumers, use persuasion knowledge to influence their responses to persuasion attempts. They created a model model called “the persuasion knowledge model” which presents how different types of knowledge affect consumers and companies in their interactions of persuasive advertisements, see appendix B. Friestad and Wright (1994) explains that knowledge helps the consumer identify how, when and why marketers try to influence them, which helps the consumers to adapt and respond to the persuasive marketing messages as they desire. Friestad and Wright (1994) describes that there are three types of knowledge that interact, shape and determine the outcomes of persuasion attempts. They are persuasion knowledge, agent knowledge and topic knowledge. Both consumers and companies have these different types of knowledge, companies use


the knowledge in persuasion attempts, and consumers use the knowledge in coping behaviors towards companies persuasion attempts (Friestad & Wright, 1994). When exposed to an advertisement, consumers cope with the advertisement, which means they perform actions as a response to the advertisement, often through a fight against or strive towards the persuasive message (Friestad & Wright, 1994). For the consumer, content knowledge is knowledge about the product and specifics about it. Advertisement knowledge refers to the consumers knowledge about how advertisements are created and how companies try to persuade them through for example marketing tricks. A high advertisement knowledge make consumers able to identify persuasion attempts and gives the consumers an increased control over the responses to the advertisement. The last type of knowledge, the agent knowledge, is consumers knowledge about the company itself, its attributes, competencies and goals (Friestad & Wright, 1994). However, since this type of knowledge is related to the brand, it will not be focused on in this study.

Truong (2019) argues that the consumer persuasion model is relevant to use when investigating how consumers evaluate credibility when consumers are exposed to green advertisements. Truong (2019) discusses the model in relation to consumers credibility and trust, and concludes that some consumers can use persuasion knowledge to think in terms of that companies may use certain tactics in their advertisements for the main reason to increase consumer trust. Truong (2019) explains that when consumers evaluate how effective arguments in an advertisement is, they may conclude that the advertisement is thorough or careless, as well as trustworthy or deceptive. Advertisements with different levels of perceived tactic effectiveness are concluded to lead to different levels of perceived credibility in terms of using persuasion knowledge to process information (Truong, 2019). Consumers who use persuasion knowledge to process information that are are exposed to effective advertisements will be more likely to perceive the message as credible due to an appreciation of a meaningful message, whilst those exposed to less effective advertisements will perceive the message as less credible due to a lack of making sense (Truong, 2019).

2.3 Consumer attitudes

Advertisement perceptions include consumer attitude to a particular advertisement, consumer attitude towards advertising in general and the consumer attitude towards the specific advertiser (MacKenzie, & Lutz, 1989). Consumer attitudes towards an advertisement is explained to depend on how the ad is perceived, if the advertisement is perceived as credible, the consumers attitude towards the advertiser, the consumers attitude towards advertising in general, and the consumers particular mood at the time the advertisement is displayed (MacKenzie, & Lutz, 1989). Since the focus of this study is not consumer perceptions about companies, this study will focus on the consumers perceived attitudes towards advertisements.


Lin et al. (2018) argues that consumer attitudes differ from person to person, depending on different factors such as psychological and emotional feelings, family desire and social and cultural status. Consumers develop different attitudes to different advertisements and this has a strong impact on how the communication is perceived and how the consumers react to the communication (Evans et al., 2009). Evans et al. (2009) claim that one of the most long lasting views on consumer attitudes is that attitudes consists of three interconnected components: affection, conation and cognition. These components belong to a model called the tricomponent model (Evans et al., 2009).

Figure 1, Tricomponent attitude model (Evans et al., 2009)

In order to understand the attitude of a consumers and to envision their behavior, all three attitudinal components of the model needs to be considered (Evant et al., 2009), see figure 1. Evans et al. (2009) describes that the cognitive component refers to the consumers opinions, what perception and level of knowledge are held by the consumer about an object. Fill & Turnbull (2016) explain that the cognitive component also serve the learning form of attitude creation. The affective component refers to the feelings that a consumers hold towards an object (Evant et al., 2009), both positive and negative feelings (Fill & Turnbull, 2016) and concerns the advertisements emotional value. The conative attitudinal component is related to the consumers intention to act a certain way depending which depends on what they know and feel about a certain object (Evans et al. 2009). Fill and Turnbull (2016) mean that this component can be described as an observable behavior.

2.4 Consumer perceptions

Fouziya and Gracious (2018:64) explains that consumer perception is the “impression and awareness

about a company and its products and services” and advertisement perceptions has been explained by

MacKenzie and Lutz (1989) as a multidimensional mix of consumers perception of the advertisement. Fill and Turnbull (2016) explains that by understanding the thoughts that occur for consumers when they read, view or hear a message, in other words the cognitive process of the consumer, an understanding of how consumers interpret and perceive messages can be made. Fill and Turnbull (2016)


explains through a model of cognitive processing how consumers process information after being exposed to an advertisement which can be seen as the stimulus to the following effects, see appendix A. When an advertisement is displayed, consumers react to the advertisement by processing three aspects (Fill & Turnbull, 2016). One aspect is called the product message thought which is about the consumers thoughts towards the product or the communication (Fill & Turnbull, 2016). Source oriented

thoughts is described as another aspect which concerns how the source of the message or the company

is viewed (Fill & Turnbull, 2016). This view can be for example that the company or advertisement is credible, annoying or untrustworthy. The last aspect, advertisement execution thoughts regards the consumers thoughts of the overall design and impact of the message (Fill & Turnbull, 2016). Thenceforth these aspects lead to the consumer forming an attitude towards the advertisement, the product or the brand (Fill & Turnbull, 2016). Fill and Turnbull (2016) explains that the consumers form their attitudes towards an advertisement and its message based on their experiences, perceptions and the degree to which they like the message.

Another aspect that affects the consumers perception is the environmental commitment of consumers. Kim et al. (2016) explains that consumers who are committed to environmentally friendly behaviors have easier to accept green messages than consumers who are not environmentally committed. Furthermore when the environmentally committed consumers also believe what is said in the green message, they are even more likely to accept the green message and form purchase intentions (Kim et al., 2016). Kim et al. (2016) concluded that consumers environmental commitment and the believability of green marketing messages, positively affects consumers acceptance of green advertisements. Mo et al. (2018) furthermore explains that consumers that are highly environmentally conscious process green advertisements with more caution and are more capable of recognizing the tactics used in advertisements, than consumers who are not environmentally conscious.

Consumers perception are also affected by what makes consumers motivated. Percy and Rossiter (1992) explains that consumers are motivated by eight types of motivational factors that are categorized to be either positive or negative. The positive motivational factors are described to be sensory gratification, intellectual stimulation and social approval whilst the negative motivational factors are problem removal, problem avoidance, incomplete satisfaction and mixed approach avoidance. This is confirmed by Fouziya and Gracious (2018) who explains that consumers buy green products for many different reasons such as to ensure their own personal safety, help protecting the environment and to protect the moral and ethical values of society.


2.4.1 Perceived green trust

Dahlén et al. (2017) explains that important factors for creating effective communication is that the communication is convincing and trustworthy. Perrini et al. (2010) found that when consumers believe that retailers are committed to respect their claims for the good of the environment, they are more likely to trust the green product that is marketed. Green trust has been defined as ‘‘a willingness to depend on a product, service, or brand based on the belief or expectation resulting from its credibility, benevolence, and ability about its environmental performance” (Chen, 2010:309). Measuring consumers green trust, Chen (2010) looked into five aspects. The first is the consumers feeling of the product’s environmental reputation being generally reliable and the second is the consumers feeling of the products environmental performance being generally dependable. The third aspect is about the consumers feeling of the product’s environmental claims being generally trustworthy, and the fourth is if the product’s environmental concerns meet the consumers expectations. The last concerns if the product keeps its promises and commitment for environmental protection (Chen, 2010).

Perrini et al. (2010) explains that green products are so called “credence products” which are described to be products that are difficult for consumers to assess the utility of. Consumers can not verify if green products have the marketed benefits or comply with official standards and therefore depend on credence (Perrini et al., 2010). When this is the case, consumers have to rely on the producer, the seller or independent third parties for information about the trustworthiness of the products. Credible communication is needed to increase consumer trust (Perrini et al., 2010). MacKenzie and Lutz (1989) explains that the advertisement credibility is about the extent to which consumers perceive claims about the brand in the advertisement to be truthful and believable, which depends on three constructs: perceived ad claim discrepancy, advertiser credibility, advertising credibility. Perrini et al. (2010) mean that one of the main ways to create credibility is to use different certifications or labels such as organic labels). Another example of what increases consumer trust is the consumer knowledge about green products, since it has been found to have a mediating role on consumer trust, and an important factor that affects consumers trust is the perceived risk about products (Wang et al., 2019).

Chen and Chang (2012) developed a framework on how companies can improve their green trust through three important determinants of trust, see figure 2. The determined factors that affects green trust are greenwashing, green consumer confusion and green perceived risk.


Figure 2, Determinants of green trust (Chen & Chang, 2012)

Chen and Chang (2012) explains that a decrease of greenwashing enhances green trust. Green consumers confusion and green perceived risks negatively affects green trust, and can be seen as mediators in the effect that greenwashing has on green trust.

2.4.2 Perceived risk

When buying green products, important issues for consumers are the products reliability, durability and performance (Zaidi et al., 2019). Since consumers can not assure that products meet these expectations, consumers will perceive risks with their purchase. Marketers should therefore provide green products that meet the consumers expectations in order to increase trust (Zaidi et al., 2019). Perceived risk can be described as “consumers’ perception of the uncertainty and adverse consequences of engaging in a purchase activity” (Pathak & Pathak, 2017:33). The risk is thereby in the mind of the consumers and does not necessarily have to be real (Pathak & Pathak, 2017). Green perceived risk can be defined as “the expectation of negative environmental consequences associated with purchase behavior” (Chen & Chang, 2012:506) and concerns perceived risks with the environmental performance of the product, perceived risks with the environmental use of the product, perceived risks of the function of the product because of the product being designed in an environmentally friendly way (Chrisjatmiko, 2018). Bhukya and Singh (2015) explains that there are four major dimensions of perceived risks, which are perceived functional risk, perceived financial risk, perceived physical risk and perceived psychological risk.

Green perceived risks are often a result of misleading, ambiguous or deceptive advertising (Aji & Sutikno, 2015). Green perceived risks reduces the consumers trust and green purchase intentions, and in order to reduce consumers perceived risk and enhance trust, marketers should develop strategies that


raise the perceptions of green value and build long-term relationships with the consumers (Chen & Chang, 2012). Chen and Chang (2012) argues that in order to reduce consumers green perceived risks, companies need to provide more information about the products and not just communicate claims about their greenness. Chen and Chang (2012) also explains that consumers are more willing to take green perceived risks if they are sure that the product provider stand behind their products, thus assuring the consumers about the reliability of the products will reduce the perceived risks. Other methods of reducing the perceived risks and enhancing the trust can be to use for example money back guarantees or guarantees about the value of the products (Chen & Chang, 2012).

Misleading green advertising have the risk of being perceived as “greenwashing” by consumers. Greenwashing is the false representation of environmental benefits that companies claim about their organisation or its products and services (Fouziya & Gracious, 2018). When consumers perceive marketing as greenwashing, the consumers purchase intentions and willingness to know more about the product decreases (Zaidi et al., 2019). Green washing practices often lead to distrust, negative perceptions about products and brands as well as confusion (Seelig et al., 2019; Aji & Sutikno, 2015). Practices of greenwashing can be for example misleading with words or graphics about its environmental features, using claims that are vague or impossible to prove, exaggerations of the green functionality, or leaving out important information that makes the green claims appear better than they actually are (Chen & Chang, 2012).

2.5 Conceptual model of consumer perceptions

A conceptual model was developed from the outlined theoretical framework and will be used as a framework for this study, see figure 3. The factors of the model are; green advertisement, factors affecting consumer, perception of trust and perception of risk. The first factor in figure 3, green advertisement, refers to the green advertisements that will affect the consumer that is exposed to the green advertisement. The factor of green advertisement includes information about the environmental benefits of a certain products which can be either defensive or assertive which McDaniel and Rylander (1993) have described as common marketing approaches. The information of environmental benefits that is displayed in the green advertisements, is explained to affect on people who are environmentally concerned (Mo et al., 2018).

When green advertisement is displayed to a consumer, the arrow in the figure between “green advertisement” and “factors affecting consumer” show that there are different factors that affect if consumers form perceptions of trust (Perrini et al., 2010) and perceived risk (Aji & Sutikno, 2015; Seelig et al., 2019). Therefore, after “factors affecting consumer”, arrows point towards “perception of trust” and “perception of risk” is followed. There is also an arrow between “perception of trust’ and


“perception of risk”, since perceived trust and risk affect each other. Perceived risks can decrease perceptions of trust, and increased perceptions of trust can decrease perception of risk (Chen & Chang, 2012; Seelig et al., 2019; Aji & Sutikno, 2015; Zaidi et al., 2019).

Figure 3. Conceptual model of co

nsumer perceptions.

Consumers perception of green trust (Perrini et al., 2010) and green risk (Aji & Sutinko, 2015; Seelig et al., 2019) are perceptions that are created when consumers are exposed to green advertising. These factors are important in green advertising since they can lead to either advertising failure or success by how environmentally concerned consumers view them (Mo et al., 2018). This study will therefore investigate what factors affect consumer perceptions of trust and perceptions of risk.

From previous literature, it was found that consumers perceptions are affected by factors in the attitudinal tricomponent model. The tricomponent model explains how the three components cognition, affection conation affects consumer attitudes (Evans et al., 2009) and is relevant to use in order to understand how consumer attitudes affect perceptions of trust and perceptions of risk towards advertisements. Therefore, the consumers attitude is part of the “factors affecting consumer” in the conceptual model. Furthermore, Fill and Turnbull (2016) explains that when consumers are exposed to advertisements, they react by processing the three aspects, product message thought, source oriented thought and advertisement execution thought, which can results in the consumers perception of trust or perceived risk. Since this study focus on the effect that advertisements have on consumer, the aspects of product message thought and advertisement execution thought will be the main focus.

Furthermore is was found that consumer perceptions are affected by what consumers are motivated of. Percy and Rossiter (1992) explains how consumers are motivated by the positive factors of sensory gratification, intellectual stimulation and social approval as well as the negative factors of problem removal, problem avoidance, incomplete satisfaction and mixed approach avoidance. Moreover Lee


(2017) found that green consumers are motivated by economic factors, social status, personal health concerns, social norms, cultural values, environmental concern and personal environmental responsibility. Lastly, three factors regarding consumer knowledge and their effect on consumers reaction to advertisements persuasion attempts was described by Friestad and Wright (1994), persuasion knowledge, agent knowledge and topic knowledge. These factors also belong to “factors affecting consumer” in the conceptual model. There are also other factors that have been found that can affect consumers perception of trust and perceived risk, a summary of this can be found in appendix C.


3 Methodology

This chapter introduces by explaining the research design and literature review process. It continues by explaining how the data was collected, sampling and method of analysis. The chapter closes with a discussion of ethical considerations as well as reliability and validity.

3.1 Research design

A qualitative research method using focus groups was chosen to perform this research since the purpose of the study was to gain a deeper understanding of consumers perceptions about green content in green advertisements. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that qualitative methods are relevant to use when the purpose is to obtains a deeper understanding of why a phenomenon is the way it is, instead of investigating if it is a phenomenon. The intention is to interpret respondents words, which is in line with Bryman and Bell (2013) who explains that in qualitative research the main focus of collecting words and making interpretations. This can be confirmed by Yilmaz (2013) who explains that qualitative research is based on a constructivist epistemology and explores assumed socially constructed realities through frameworks that provide in-depth descriptions of a phenomenon from the perspective of the investigated people. Yilmaz (2013) furthermore described that these types of investigations are flexible, concern different values, are descriptive, holistic and sensitive to different contexts. Since the aim of this study is to understand and describe the investigated phenomenon by capturing respondents experiences and their own words, it is in line with Yilmaz (2013) thoughts that an emphasis should be put into the context that influences people’s actions, interactions in order to understand the meanings that the respondents ascribe to the experiences. In this research, an abductive design was used where concepts genuinely from previous research were collected and created a basis for the questions that were developed to use for collecting data from respondents. A collection of data through focus groups was made, the results was thereafter analysed and interpreted, which lead to a creation of new concepts. Björklund and Paulsson (2016) explains that the abductive method is a working process where the researcher move back and forth between concepts and findings.

3.2 Literature review process

A literature review was made to understand what had already been studied and found in the chosen area that was investigated. Bryman and Bell (2013) also explains that a literature review also helps finding the relevant terms and theories, and to understand what strategies have been used in previous studies as


well as seeing if there is a pattern of the results from several studies. To find relevant literature, several databases was used where scientific articles were found, see table 1. During the research in different databases, different keywords was used. The keywords that was used were: green marketing, green advertisement, green skincare, green content, green perceived risk and green consumer trust. During the research, different limitations was also used in order to eliminate irrelevant results. The scientific articles used were assured to be marked as peer-reviewed to make sure that they are examined and published. This is suggested by Bryman and Bell (2013) to be able to contribute to a higher trustworthiness of the findings. In order to find articles that was up to date, limitations of the publication year was also fused.

Table 1, Databases and keywords

When choosing litterature is is important to thoroughly evaluate if an article is reliable and trustworthy. Therefore a large emphasis was put into making careful considerations regarding this. Mälardalens University (2014) explains that being critical while searching for sources to use in a study is very important and that the reliability and trustworthiness always should be considered. Every source was thereby well observed and evaluated by both authors to understand if the articles was up to date, if the could be trusted, and if it was relevant for the study.

3.3 Data collection

There are different approaches to collecting data for a research project depending on the purpose of the research, problem formulation, the empirical basis, time and resources (Bryman & Bell, 2015). The data collection process can be complex, however, a good preparation is essential in order to find relevant data for the chosen study area (Yin, 2009). In this research the primary data was collected by using focus groups who performed discussions within the area of research in this study. The discussions about different concepts were initiated by asking predetermined questions where the respondents could share their thoughts. The respondents were also shown video commercials that was used as a basis for the the


questions and the discussions. No secondary was collected for the investigation. Björklund and Paulsson (2016) explains that secondary data can be useful when performing research under a limited time och economic resources, but Bryman and Bell (2015) highlights that there are limitations with using secondary data, such as unfamiliarity, complexity, quality concerns and missing incompleteness of the data.

In order to answer the purpose of the study, three focus groups was performed with different respondents. By making three sessions, each session could be evaluated and adjustments be made for the next group. The method of focus groups was chosen as the interview method for the study, which means interviewing several people, oftenly minimum four people, together at the same time about a specific research questions or theme to get a deeper understanding. Focus group are beneficial to use since they enable the participants to share their opinions with each other and can explain how they perceive different questions. The focus group was lead and managed by a moderator who presented the research questions or chosen theme, which is advised by Bryman and Bell (2013) to do when performing focus groups.

The method of using focus groups is common amongst marketing researches who show advertisements with the purpose of observing how the participant react to how a product is presented in a specific advertisement (Bryman & Bell, 2013). Since the focus of this research is about how consumers perceive green content in advertisements, using focus groups seemed highly relevant to choose as an interview method. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that the use of focus groups is preferable to have when the researchers intend to gain an understanding of why people think in different ways.

The focus groups were held online through the digital communication programme Skype, where all participants could see each others faces on their computer screen. The choice to perform the focus groups online was mainly based on the current restrictions of gatherings in society that was employed due to the current global pandemic. However, performing focus groups online with the use of cameras that show the participants faces was found to be a good substitute to physical meetings since it is possible for participants to interact with each other through the computer screen. This can be compared with focus groups online with only texts or phone calls which can limit the understanding between participants due to a lack of nonverbal communication (Bryman & Bell, 2013). The respondents were asked on beforehand if they were comfortable using the programme Skype for the focus groups and if they had registered accounts there. All respondents were already registered on Skype on beforehand which was beneficial since they then did not have to take time to create accounts or risk declining their participation due to an unwillingness to use the programme. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that one of the difficulties of performing focus groups online can be the need for participants to use a certain


webconference programme, compatibility issues with different operating systems on the computer, participants fear of getting a virus on the computer or issues with internet connection.

3.3.1 Performing focus groups

The participants were informed about the time for the focus groups and what programme to use during the session. Each focus group lasted around 60 minutes and were recorded to make transcriptions that could be analyzed thoroughly. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that it is necessary to record and transcribe focus groups in order to facilitate the analysis and be able to go through the answers several times. The respondents were asked to find a quiet place where they would be able to discuss undisturbed during the focus groups. All participants had been asked on beforehand for their consent to recording the focus group, and ensured of the confidentiality of the recording. This was important to do since the use of recordings can risk of inhibiting the participants during the focus groups (Bryman & Bell, 2013). Furthermore, all respondents were informed beforehand on what to do in case they were disconnected from the focus group during the discussion in order to reduce the risk of losing participants due to eventual unexpected technical issues.

In the introduction of the focus groups, the moderator welcomed the participants and introduced the topic. The moderator explained that it is important that only one person speaks at a time during the discussion so everyone can hear, and to make it possible to make transcriptions afterwards. All participants were asked to share their names and professions to make everyone in the group feel comfortable with each other. Introducing the topic and asking the participants to introduce themselves is recommended by Bryman and Bell (2013) in the introduction of a focus group. The participants were reminded again that the session was recorded and informed of their participation being anonymous, which is also recommended by Bryman and Bell (2013). Thereafter the moderator introduced by showing the commercials, and then moved on to discussing the predetermined questions from the interview guide. The moderator kept in mind to not interfere with the respondents more than necessary, for example if the participants lead the discussion to completely irrelevant subjects, in order to influence the participants as little as possible. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that this is one of the difficulties regarding focus groups, how involved the moderator should be, how leading the questions should be, and how much control should be left to the respondents. In the end of the focus group discussion, the moderator made a summary of what had been said, explained what will happen with the collected data and thanked the participants for their attendance. Ending the discussion this way has been described to be relevant when ending focus group sessions (Bryman & Bell, 2013).


3.3.2 Focus groups participants

The three focus groups consisted of 15 participants with five persons in each focus group. In table 2 below, information about the participants is displayed. The participants are referred to by their initials instead of full names and information about their age, professions and interest is explained.

Table 2, Participants

3.3.3 Questions

During the focus groups, questions that had been outlined in an interview guide was used. The main questions that were used are presented in table 3. The questions were asked after displaying different advertisements, after one advertisement had been displayed some questions were asked, and then the next advertisement were displayed, followed by questions. After the advertisements and the related questions, general questions related to the investigated subjects were asked. All questions were formed to enable open-ended responses, which is in line with Yilmaz (2013) who explains that open-ended responses enables answers from the respondents that present the reality and the world is seen without using predetermined standpoints. Additionally, Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that it is advisable to make room for varieties in the discussion. Though the structure of the interview guide was created to not limit the answers from the respondents, it was also formed to ensure that the subject was followed by using a clear structure with predetermined questions. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that though there is no correct way of forming questions for focus groups, some degree of structure is useful when the researchers have knowledge about the investigated subject.


Table 3, Main questions

3.3.4 Advertisements

During the focus groups three commercials was displayed to the consumers and discussed afterwards. The commercials were chosen to display different types of green advertisements and different techniques that marketers use in order to try to make the commercial trustworthy. The commercials were from the brands Dermastore, Uniquely natural and RÅ organic skincare.

The first commercial displayed, from Dermastore, were from 2017 and had a combination of defensive and assertive marketing approaches. This commercial had arguments about the customer caring about their skin, ingredients and health. The products claimed to be natural and effective. They offered a 30 days money back guarantee, free shipping and a time limited offer. In the commercial there were pictures of skincare products, spa and a facemask, fresh fruits, a mother and a child, a women taking a shower and a woman relaxing in a sofa.

The second commercial that was displayed were from Uniquely natural, from 2016 and used a defensive marketing approach. The commercial used arguments such as affordable range of natural skincare products and used the terms pure essential oils and plant extracts. In the commercial a woman's face was shown, the woman was looking at different directions and touched her skin with her hand. Skincare products was shown as well as a certification of the products not being animal tested could also be seen.


The last commercial was from RÅ organic skincare, from 2016, and used an assertive marketing approach. It was a long commercial with noone talking, displaying a woman walking through forests in the wilderness. Beautiful nature and waterfalls was shown. With an axe, the woman cut down branches from a tree that she dragged to a house with a container. She put the fresh branches in the container were they were mashed and after that processed to drops of liquid that dripped into a laboratorial glass. The end of the commercial showed a range of skincare products placed on a stone in the woods.

3.4 Pilot study

In order to ensure the relevance of the questions and commercials used during the focus groups, a pilot study was performed to try out the questions and commercials on beforehand. By doing this, adjustments could be made to ensure that the respondents of the study would understand the questions and able to engage in discussions that were connected to the purpose of the study. This is in line with how Bryman and Bell (2013) as well as Maxwell (2008) describe that pilot studies can be used to test the ideas, the methods for testing them and to explore their implications. Maxwell (2008) explains that pilot studies are especially useful for qualitative studies in generating an understanding of the concepts and the theories held by the people investigated, and Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that it is a good way of understanding if the questions are wrongly interpreted by the respondents. The pilot study was performed with three people chosen from the authors social network. Findings from the pilot study included suggestions of explaining the subject of the focus group clearer before starting and to explain the meaning of words that might not be understood by everyone such as perceived risk and

greenwashing. Other than that the questions appeared to work as intended by generating interesting


3.5 Sample

Maxwell (2008) explains that sampling concerns what times, settings or individuals are selected to observe and what other sources of information are used to do this. The criterias for the respondents of this study was to be women, in the age between 20 to 35 years, from Sweden, be able to talk english and have access to a computer in order to be able to participate in the focus groups. The choice to investigate women from Sweden was made since studies have shown that Swedish women to a large extent are interested in and purchase skincare with green content. The age group was chosen based on the fact that is a large consumer group for specifically skincare (Statista, 2020). Furthermore, in order for everyone to be able to participate in the discussion it was also necessary that all respondents could speak english as well as have access to a computer.


The amount of participants in each focus group was five persons which was decided as an appropriate amount of people in order for everyone to be able to be heard and to make all participants feel confident to express themselves freely in the group. This is in line with Bryman and Bell (2013) who explains that larger groups can make it difficult to make participants to speak and be engaged the discussion. Three focus groups were organized and planned after different interests in order to see if there were differences in the results depending on the personal knowledge of the consumers. The first group had respondents interested in the environment, the second had respondents interested in skincare, and the last group had respondents that were not specifically interested in the environment or skincare, so they were referred to as neutral. By dividing the participants to different groups, it was possible to find out if different factors affect consumers with various interest, in different ways. All the respondents got the chance to choose which group they felt they belonged to.

The respondents of the focus groups was found through the authors social network, people who are friends with the authors of this study. This was found appropriate since the authors are from Sweden and in the same age and gender as the target groups, which meant that a desired sample of respondents could be obtained through the personal networks. The sample of people were asked through making phone calls, mobile text messages and messages on the digital social media plattform “Facebook messenger”. The people that was asked to participate were chosen based on the authors previous knowledge about individual persons different interests. Thereby, purposively, specific respondents were asked to participate based on the authors previous knowledge that they are interested in the environment or in skincare. The participants were then asked if they had this specific interest, if they had the interest, they were asked if they wanted to participate. By doing so it was possible to find respondents that fit into the different respondent groups of being environmentally conscious and skincare interested. The neutral respondents were found based on the authors previous knowledge that they are neither environmentally conscious or skincare interested, and thereby would fit to participate in the neutral focus group. They were asked if they would consider themselves as neither skincare interested or environmentally conscious. Different people were asked and when five respondents belonging to each focus group had confirmed their desire to participate, no more respondents were asked to participate. This way of finding respondents can also be referred to as purposive sampling, which Bryman and Bell (2013) explains is when individuals are chosen strategically based on how they can help answer the research questions. The respondents were contacted based on their interests, and the personal interests were controlled before asking them to participate, which is in accordance to Bryman and Bells (2013) description of purposive sampling that people for the sample is chosen based on important aspects or characteristics with the research objectives in mind. Considering this is not a probability sample, the results can not be generalized to a larger population (Bryman & Bell, 2013) but since that is not the purpose of the research, it is not seen as a disadvantage of the study. Maxwell (2008) explains that generalizations in qualitative studies are not based on probability and large samling that represents a


population like in quantitative studies, but instead refer to if the developed theories can be transferred to other cases.

3.6 Data analysis

Before the data analysis could begin, the recordings from the focus groups was transcribed word by word. This is in line with Bryman and Bell (2013) who explains that it is advisable to make transcriptions after having performed focus groups as well as making exact transcriptions of what the respondents have said. In order to make sense of the data from the transcriptions, a categorizing strategy was used. Maxwell (2008) explains that forming data into categories is one of the main strategies used in qualitative research to understand and interpret data. The categorizing was performed by developing codes and making a thematic analysis. This method of categorizing seemed appropriate since it, as Bryman and Bell (2013) explains, is a simple way of labelling, distinguishing and organizing raw qualitative data. Bryman and Bell (2013) also explains that this is a basis upon which most qualitative methods of analyzing data are performed. When analyzing through coding, the data was broken down into smaller parts and thereafter named. This is a coding method that has been explained by Bryman and Bell (2013) as way of interpreting data and then forming developed codes from it. Different levels of the coding was also be performed, which Bryman and Bell (2013) explains is a common approach of qualitative data analysis, to continuously develop and reevaluated different codes.

The levels of coding consisted of three main steps. First, an initial coding was performed where important findings in the text, of value to the research, were labeled into codes, see Appendix C Coding. The value of the labels was determined by the usefulness of the concepts, which Bryman and Bell (2013) explains is when a phenomena is displayed several times in the text and which the respondents of the study would recognize from their experiences. In the second level, different codes connected to each other were categorized into different concepts called themes, which are displayed in table 4, 6 and 8 in chapter four. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that the second level of coding is where codes are connected to different contexts, consequences, interplays and causes. The third level of coding was performed to develop the themes into more analytical concepts. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that the themes developed in the third level do not have to be closely related to what the respondents have expressed exactly, but should be more on an analytical level. Performing a thematic coding according to the three levels as has been described, is explained to be a common used method when coding qualitative data (Bryman & Bell, 2013).

The approaches of coding varies between researchers, and Bryman and Bell (2013) emphasizes that there is no right method when it comes to coding the data that has been collected. In this study, a large focus has been put into keeping the context of what had been said throughout the coding process, which


is why we have used analytical comments to the themes in the second coding phase, see appendix E. This is in line with Bryman and Bell (2013) who explains that a difficulty when coding is the risk of losing the context of what has been said. The choice to perform manual coding instead of using a computer programme was also made in order to reduce this particular risk. Bryman and Bell (2013) explains that a risk with using computer aided qualitative data analysis softwares is the risk of the data being decontextualized and that it is not preferable to use when analyzing data from focus groups.

3.7 Ethical considerations

In all investigations it is important to make ethical considerations, and this research is no exception. Maxwell (2008) explains that ethical considerations should be included in every aspect of a study, but that one of the most important parts of a research to consider ethics is in the methodology. When finding respondents and performing focus groups in this study, several ethical considerations was taken into account. When the respondents were asked to participate, they were informed about the purpose of the study, that they would participate anonymously, and informed of how the data would be used. When reaching out to the respondents, they were also informed about why they were asked to participate by clarifying the purpose with the study and by providing an explanation of the orientation of the specific focus group. By doing so the aim was to avoid any misunderstanding about why they were chosen to participate. Before the focus groups took place, the respondents were asked for consent to make recordings of the focus groups, and informed that they had the right to exit the interview if they at anytime would not feel comfortable of being part of the discussion any longer. This was also repeated in the beginning of each focus group in order to make sure that this information would not be missed so the participants would feel safe. The respondents were ensured that no other persons than the authors would access the recordings afterwards. When informing the respondents of different aspects related to the study, is was also always kept in mind to present accurate and correct information in order to avoid the risk of misleading the respondents in any way.

The measures explained above explains how different ethical considerations have been made. These are in alignment with Bryman and Bells (2013) proposed ethical rules advisable to follow when performing research: informing the participants of their free will, the importance of the participants consent, informing about the research’s confidentiality and anonymity, informing about how the data will be used as well as the importance of the researchers not making any false or misleading claims.

3.8 Validity and reliability

The validity and reliability of qualitative research can be looked into from different approaches. Many researchers question the relevance of the terms validity and reliability in qualitative investigations since


Figure 3. Conceptual model of co nsumer perceptions.

Figure 3.

Conceptual model of co nsumer perceptions. p.19


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