An investigation into the role of emotional branding in the cola market with particular reference to Coca-Cola
Bachelor Thesis 2005 53 Pages
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 NATURE OF STUDY
1.2 AIMS OF STUDY
1.3 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
1.4 STRUCTURE OF STUDY
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 MARKETING IN GENERAL
2.2 ROLE OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
2.2.1 THE LOYALTY FACTOR
2.3 THE MARKETING MIX
2.4 THE BRAND
2.5 EMOTIONAL BRANDING
2.5.1 TEN COMMENDMENTS OF EMOTIONAL BRANDING
2.5.2 FOUR PILLARS OF EMOTIONAL BRANDING
PART TWO: MAIN BODY
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
3.1 RESEARCH FAMILIES
3.1.1 QUANTITATIVE & QUALITATIVE DATA
3.1.2 FIELDWORK & DESKWORK
3.2 RESEARCH APPROACHES
3.2.1 CASE STUDY
3.3 RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
3.4 VALIDITY, RELIABILITY AND GENERALISABILITY
3.6 ETHICAL ISSUES
CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS
4.1 THE GLOBAL BRAND
4.2.1 UNITED STATES AS AN EXAMPLE
4.3.3 RIVALRY BETWEEN PEPSI AND COCACOLA
4.3.4 THE PEPSI CHALLENGE – BLIND TASTE TEST
4.4 EMOTIONAL BRANDING – PLAYING WITH THE SENSES
4.4.2 COLOUR – VISIONARY BRANDING
4.4.3 TOUCH – BRANDING THAT FEELS GOOD
4.5 BRAND PERSONALITY
4.6 WHAT MAKES COCACOLA SO SPECIAL?
4.6.1 THE ‘INVENTION’ OF SANTA CLAUS
4.7 SECRET OF SUCCESS – NOT ‘ONLY’ CUSTOMER FOCUS
PART THREE: CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION
5.1 AIMS OF THE RESEARCH
5.2.1 MEANING AND USE OF EMOTIONAL BRANDING
5.2.2 SIGNIFICANCE OF COCACOLA’S MARKET POSITIONING
5.2.3 COCACOLA’S BENEFITS FROM EMOTIONAL BRANDING
5.2.4 INFLUENCES ON CONSUMERS
5.3 SUCCESS OF THE PROJECT
5.4 RISTRICTING ELEMENTS AND LIMITATIONS
5.5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
APPENDIX ONE QUESTIONNAIRE
APPENDIX TWO INTERVIEW
APPENDIX THREE – LIST OF COCACOLA SLOGANS
Part One – Introduction
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Nature of Study
The business area of marketing has become increasingly important over the last few decades turning marketing activities into a critical success factor. Emotional benefits in marketing have received more and more attention and discussion because they work beyond the awareness of the customer and influence their buying behaviour. A New York Times article says, “Over the last fifty years the economic base has shifted from production to consumption. It has gravitated from the sphere of rationality to the realm of desire: from the objective to the subjective; to the realm of psychology.”
In an article from the Canadian Marketing Association, Glenn Livingston (2004) says that most of the people do not want to believe that they are or can be emotionally influenced by brands. They do not want to admit to using brands as a method of partially supporting their self-esteem but this is what makes the emotional benefit motivation such an important technique in marketing. It is the case that emotional benefits are so elusive and hidden that it makes them incredibly powerful and persuasive.
Companies like Coca-Cola, Gillette or Victoria’s Secret understand the art of accessing, with intelligence and sensitivity, the true power behind human emotions. They form their brands in a way that they become a face and a character in order to reach the overall aim: the identification of customers with the brand. Today’s most successful brands have built relationships with consumers by engaging them in a personal dialogue that responds to their needs.
In fact, many brands make the mistake of trying to force the emotional benefit by telling the customer directly. As soon as this thought is then put into language and made conscious, a person’s adult mind will make rational decisions and realize that this product does not make them a different person.
As Coca-Cola is the number one on the “Interbrand’s Annual Ranking of 100 of the World’s Most Valuable Brands” (www.biz-community.com), the researcher will take this brand as an example and applies the findings on how consumers are emotionally attached by this brand and how it was able to find its way into consumers’ psyche.
According to the mentioned power of emotional branding, the following research topic was made up:
«An investigation into the role of emotional branding in the cola market with particular reference to Coca-Cola.»
1.2 Aims of Study
The aim of this work is to show the significance of emotional branding as a marketing instrument based on demanding customer needs and the changed business situation. Furthermore it should identify the role brands play in our enjoyment of consuming.
To underline the research topic, the researcher has the following objectives:
- Evaluate the use and the nature of emotional branding
- Establish the significance of Coca-Colas market positioning and its size
- Evaluate how Coca-Cola is benefiting from emotional branding and the opportunities they gain from it
- Identify how emotional branding influences consumers on the ground and if they are emotionally branded
Different marketing theories such as branding were chosen to support the author’s investigation.
1.3 Limitations of Study
The subject of ‘Emotional Branding’ has been an area of considerable debate amongst theorists. As its scope for discussion is huge, this research must be restricted to an extent. Therefore this work will only concentrate on the beverage industry with special focus on the marketing efforts of Coca-Cola.
Limitations also exist on the level of access to organisational branding strategies, as the majority of information is confidential and sensitive and will not be given out to the general public.
The word limit, as well as time and cost limits prohibited the extension of the project. It would have been beneficial to examine different industries in the market or a comparison between luxury goods and goods of ‘every-day use’.
1.4 Structure of Study
The basic knowledge of marketing and the nature of emotional branding as a specific marketing tool is provided in chapter two through the use of an extensive literature review, which examines the key theoretical perspectives influencing this study.
Chapter three provides a detailed explanation and justification of research tools and techniques used by the author in order to achieve the aims and objectives of this project.
The findings of primary and secondary data are detailed outlined and analysed in chapter four. It describes the changes in buying behaviour and the shift in thinking: placing the consumer, not the product, at the forefront of a brand’s strategy and will also identify the new kind of thinking, which explores how brands can connect with people in a more sensitive way and touch them at the level of senses and emotions.
In chapter five the researcher concludes the project and gives a critical reflection.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
According to Denscombe (2003), a literature review is “a review of material that already exists on the topic in question. It should demonstrate how the research being reported relates to previous research and, if possible, how it gives rise to particular issues, problems and ideas that the current research addresses.”
(Denscombe, 2003, p. 293)
This chapter provides the reader with an up-to-date account to understand the basic principles of marketing and to gain a more holistic view of the subject area. It puts the chosen topic in a conceptual and theoretical context. The author will, due to the limited scope of this work, present a brief overview of marketing in general and the areas particular interesting to the study.
2.1 Marketing in General
“Marketing must be understood not in the old sense of making a sale – ‘selling’ – but in the new sense of satisfying customer needs.” (Kotler, 2001, p.4)
According to Kotler’s (2001) definition, the aim of marketing is to understand the customer so well that the product or service will sell itself. The total marketing effort involves assessing customer needs and carrying out market research, together with the development of the product and its pricing, promotion and distribution. For the marketing effort to be successful, all of these factors need to be planned and co-ordinated as a whole.
However, the consumer should be placed at the centre of an organisation’s activities.
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Figure 1: The ingredients of marketing
(Source: Needham D., 1995, Marketing – Everybody’s Business)
For an organisation to continue to make profits it must find out what its consumers want to buy and then satisfy consumer requirements:
Identifying - How to find out what the consumer’s requirements are and how to keep in touch with their thoughts, feelings and perceptions about the product?
Anticipating involves looking at the future as well as at the present as consumer requirements change all the time.
Satisfying - Consumers want the right products, at the right price, at the right time and in the right place. They want their requirements to be met and seek particular benefits.
Profitability – An organisation needs a margin of profit to put into ongoing marketing activities.
2.2 Role of Consumer Behaviour
It is important to understand customer needs. Therefore the marketing process starts with finding out what motivates customers to buy a particular product. Marketers need to study consumers and to learn more about their behaviour. Who buys? How do they buy? When do they buy? Why do they buy?
According to Kotler (2001), the key question for marketers is: How do consumers respond to various marketing stimuli a company might use?
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Figure 2: Model of buying behaviour
Source: Kotler P., 2001, Principles of Marketing)
The company that understands how consumers will respond to different product features, prices and advertising appeals has a great advantage over its competitors. Figure 2 shows that marketing and other stimuli enter the consumer’s “black box” and are then turned into various buyers’ responses. In order to understand how the stimuli are changed into responses, the marketer needs to be aware of the characteristics affecting consumer behaviour. Consumer purchases are also strongly influenced by cultural, social, personal and psychological characteristics. These factors cannot be controlled, but must be taken into consideration.
Stefanou (1993) said that first of all there is a need to understand what motivates consumers when making their buying decisions in order to fulfill their needs and wants.
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Figure 3: Stages in the consumer buying decision process
(Source: Stefanou R., 1993, Success in Marketing)
This model shows all the considerations that arise when a consumer faces a new and complex purchase situation. Consumers often skip or reverse some of these stages when it comes to routine purchases or they are emotionally attached to a certain product.
2.2.1 The Loyalty Factor
Harvin (1999) said that consumers who have a positive buying experience with a brand perceive the brand to offer value, simplicity and convenience. A consumer is much more likely to remain a loyal customer if the purchase experience is a positive one. Strong brand loyalty provides consumers with peace of mind when purchasing a product or service.
2.3 The Marketing Mix
The Marketing Mix is a combination of product, price, place and promotion. These four elements, commonly known as the ‘four P’s’ can be combined in different ways. As marketers have no control over the external factors in the marketing environment such as political, demographic, technological and social forces, they obviously do have an influence on internal decisions concerning the way a product is branded, priced, distributed and promoted. For companies like Coca-Cola, the Marketing Mix needs to be done very carefully and well-planned as they want to combine the elements in a way that the consumers gets emotionally attached to the drink without even recognizing it. As Kotler (2001) pointed out, “The Marketing Mix is the set of controllable variables that firms can use to influence the buyer’s response”
Marketers need to ensure that the key elements are mixed together appropriately in order to present a co-ordinated offering to the customer, consisting of the right product, at the right price, in the right place and supported by the right promotion. This is because the elements are inter-dependent and have automatically a knock-on effect on the others in the mix. Brands like Coca-Cola are very strong and can profit from this interrelation. They allow the company to charge higher prices in order to increase the profit margin. Furthermore, brand extension becomes easier because it enables a new product to take advantage of the already established functional attribute and symbolic values that make up the personality of the parent brand. (Kotler et al, 2001)
2.4 The Brand
The Dictionary of Business and Management defines a brand as:
“a name, sign or symbol used to identify items or services of the seller(s) and to differentiate them from goods of competitors.”
Signs and symbols are part of what a brand is but the definition above is a very incomplete one as it neglects the psychological aspect. A brand is much more than just a registered trademark. The imagery created by brands is so powerful that it is debated whether buying decisions can ever be completely rational. (Stefanou, 1993)
According to Travis (2000), a brand – at least, every brand worthy a proper noun – has a specific identity, and identity is something for which we all strive and probably cannot live without. “It can be like a badge that lends you a certain identity.”
(Travis, 2000, p.15)
2.5 Emotional Branding
According to Sergio Zyman, Chief Marketing Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, “Emotional Branding is about building relationships; it is about giving a brand and a product long-term value. It is about sensorial experiences, designs that make you feel the product; designs that make you taste the product; designs that make you buy the product.” (Gobé, 2001,p.vi)
In order to survive, it is crucial that brands understand the upcoming economic changes and compete differently. Today, companies are clearly operating with a completely different set of values than five years ago. Speed has replaced stability; intangible assets (symbolic values) have become more valuable than tangible assets (functional attributes). The new market opportunities are not based on squeezing costs and increasing profits around a set business model but are above all in growing entirely new lines of revenue with innovative ideas.
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Figure 4: Comparison between Old and New Economy
(Source: Gobé M., 2001, Emotional Branding)
In a Wall Street Journal article entitled ‘So Long, Supply and Demand’ the conclusion reached is: “The bottom line. Creativity is overtaking capital as the principle elixir of growth. And creativity, although precious, shares few of the constraints that limit the range and availability of capital and physical goods.” Ideas, in fact, are a new kind of currency altogether – more powerful than money.
According to Gobé (2001), Emotional Branding provides the means and methodology for connecting products to the consumer in an emotionally profound way. It focuses on the most compelling aspect of human character; the desire to transcend material satisfaction, and experience emotional fulfilment. A brand is uniquely situated to achieve this because it can tap into the aspirational drives which underline human motivation.
2.5.1 The Ten Commandments of Emotional Branding
Marc Gobé (2001) developed the ‘Ten Commandments’, which illustrate the difference between traditional concepts of brand awareness and the emotional dimension a brand needs to express in order to become preferred.
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- Coca-Cola Emotional branding marketing strategy Pepsi Consumer behaviour loyalty factor marketing mix case study