Stakeholder-based brand is increasingly recognized as a measure for corporate sustainability, although the knowledge in this area is relatively unknown. Through a systematic review approach, the present study explores the global knowledge base on sustainability and brand. The most influential authors and documents are identified, followed by a discovery of the intellectual structure of the sustainability and brand knowledge base with five schools of thought. First, the Customer Attitudes and Behavior school refers to behavioral studies (one of the common approaches in sustainability studies). Second, the Tourism Marketing school represents the popular context of sustainability studies that mainly relates to hospitality, destination marketing, and fashion brand management. Third, the Brand Strategy school refers to corporate strategy concerning brand that is widely used to measure corporate sustainability performance such as brand equity. Fourth, the Societal Marketing school provides insights into the marketing strategy that leads a firm to achieve competitive advantages under concerns about finite resources and rising environmental and social costs. Finally, the Advanced Quantitative Analysis school reveals an approach that is mainly used when conducting sustainable marketing studies. A model on sustainability brand is then derived, adopting the grounded theory approach. Future research opportunities are also identified and discussed to continuously advance the scholarship in this specific area.
Competitiveness through tangible practical benefits is no longer viable in today’s cut-throat business environment. For this reason, a company’s brand—which is viewed as providing both practical and intangible benefits—is essential to its long-term viability. Corporate brand is being valued more and more due to the increasing interest about business sustainability. Given the impact it has on the attitudes and behaviors of consumers, the corporate brand eventually affects the financial performance of the company. It stands for business strength and reputation in the marketplace [1,2]. The collective value of a brand or brand equity is a crucial component that describes a company’s performance as perceived by its stakeholders . It responds to the idea that a company’s stakeholders should look at how well the company performs in terms of sustainability and how well its stakeholder-focused strategies and practices work . According to research that was carried out in the past [5,6], one of the most critical factors that determines a company’s reputation is how its social performance is seen by the public or stakeholders. This increases brand equity. According to Avery and Bergsteiner , corporate sustainability should be achieved by building a strong brand and reputation. Similar to this, several studies have discovered that CSR results in brand equity and business reputation and that a positive reputation can result in long-term profitability and consistently higher performance . In addition, a corporation can benefit from cause-related activities  by enhancing the position of the brand, increasing favorability for the brand, raising the volume of the revenues, boosting loyalty among customers, and creating strong bonds with alliances and social organizations.
Brand equity, according to Aaker , increases the firm’s worth through boosting marketing campaigns’ efficiency and effectiveness, as well as customer loyalty, prices and profit margins, brand expansion, trade leverage, and competitiveness. Whilst others have claimed that brand equity is determined by the added value that the brand name brings to a product (e.g., ), Aaker  defines brand equity as a collection of brand assets and liabilities associated with the brand’s name and symbol. The value provided by a service or product may be reduced or increased as a result of this grouping. Undoubtedly, a company’s perceived reputation should reflect both its past and future actions and, in comparison to its rivals, should reflect the firm’s total appeal to all significant stakeholders . Additionally, some scholars [12,13] have claimed that brand equity is determined by the overall value that a brand offers to one of its primary goods. The brand equity model includes associations with the brand, a user’s impression of the product’s quality, and other proprietary aspects of the brand in addition to brand loyalty, brand name awareness, and perceived brand quality . Building a powerful brand involves considering all of these aspects as part of the process [15,16,17].
Through the systematic review approach, the present review has provided the answers to the five research questions. First, we identify the most influential authors and documents regarding sustainability brand. The top four influential scholars in the specific sustainability brand knowledge base are: Gupta, Suraksha; Gupta, Shuchi; Kumar; Kantabutra. Accordingly, their eight documents are the most influential documents in this specific knowledge domain. Second, we discover the topical foci and most popular topics that scholars in the sustainability and brand literature are interested in. Some of the most recent topics are brand, brand loyalty, brand image, brand equity, and buying intention.
Third, we reveal the intellectual structure of the sustainability and brand knowledge base by identifying five schools of thought in the knowledge domain. First, the Customer Attitudes and Behavior school refers to behavioral studies (one of the common approaches in sustainability studies). Second, the Tourism Marketing School represents the popular context of sustainability marketing studies that mainly relate to hospitality, destination marketing, and fashion brand management. Third, as in the Brand Strategy school, the brand strategy such as brand equity is widely used to measure corporate sustainability performance. Fourth, the Societal Marketing school provides more insights into the marketing strategy that leads the firm to achieve competitive advantages under the concern about finite resources and rising environmental and social costs. Finally, the Advanced Quantitative Analysis school reveals an approach that is mainly used when conducting sustainable marketing studies.