To sum, it is evident that advertising is an effectivemarketing communication tool, particularly when the focus is on reinforcing abrand message. Using a combination of advertisement tactics, it enables a brandto strengthen its image. Moreover, it is becoming more important for brands tointegrate marketing communication tools to ensure a consistent brand message isbeing delivered to every consumer on each platform. Therefore, other marketingcommunication tools have proven to compliment advertisements to building astronger image. This shows that it is hard to identify which marketingcommunications tool is most effective as they each play a different role in themarketing strategy. In the modern communications environment it is understoodthat the consumer has the control (Keller, 2009). Consumers have access to moreinformation on products and they share their opinions of brands on social mediaplatforms. The implication of this on brands is that they need to ensure thatthey are being portrayed positively to the public which will result in greater intermediary cooperation in thefuture (Keller, 2009).
Social media advertisements allow brands the ability to havereal-time interaction with consumers, so consumers can form positive opinionsof the brand due to the personal interaction (MyCustomer, 2018). This connectionhelps improve consumer involvement with brand activities on social media which canfurther build loyalty. PR could also be argued to be an effective tool inproducing a similar outcome, however, the main difference is that PR works toengage with a smaller audience of people such as influential individuals orcorporations (The Everwall Blog, 2018). This may not be as effective for Pepsi,who are engaging with young adults, as the interaction with consumers is lessand therefore consumer relationships won’t be as strong (Schwab, 2018). Therefore,social media advertisements can be argued to be the most effective marketingtool when regulating such opinions on the internet as they offer the bestinteraction with the consumer. Secondly, Out of Home advertisements such as billboards (TheBalance, 2018) can be a particularly useful form of reinforcing messages toconsumers. Billboards are usuallypermanent fixtures found in popular locations which means city dwellers willbecome familiar with such advertisements.
The benefit of familiarity isthat the consumer will feel more comfortable engaging with the product whichcould lead to a long-term brand relationship (Taylor, Franke and Bang, 2006). Thisis particularly beneficial to Pepsi who are competing with one of the largesthousehold names in the world. Pepsi have already used creative billboardsthrough involving customer vine videos into the campaign (Grand VisualCreative, 2018) which was a method to increase brand equity and proved successful.Moreover, the gravity model indicates that consumers naturally prefer shoppingin close locations (Taylor, Franke and Bang, 2006). Through Pepsi placingbillboards strategically near shopping and food locations it should have astronger influence on nearby store sales (Taylor,Franke and Bang, 2006). However, a city commuter encounters roughly 300advertisements per day (Carlson, Grove and Dorsch, 2003) which makes itextremely hard for a brand to ensure that their advertisement is recognised.
Thissuggests that although billboard advertisements are effective in reaching themass audience, it is difficult to measure the impact the advertisement has onthe consumer. Therefore, an alternative marketing communications tool which ensuresconsumer interaction and could be more effective is personal selling. Personalselling is a push marketing strategy whereby a sales representative engageswith the consumer with the aim of selling (Surbhi, 2017).
A push strategy couldbe a more effective tool for consumers who are more comfortable with two-wayconversation such as young adults who are the main target market for Pepsi. Itallows the sales representative to tailor their pitch to the customer to ensurethey get the best first interaction with the brand. This is crucial incontributing to the brand equity as Ehrenberg argues that ‘consumers are acreature of habit and therefore make it difficult for different brands toentice them’ (Ehrenberg, 1988) (Ehrenberg, 1997). Pepsi use this strategythrough the PepsiCo Network of well-respected and reputable restaurants. Salesrepresentatives of branches can encourage the choice of Pepsi over any othersoft drinks beverage.
Through actively offering Pepsi as a choice overCoca-Cola, it will slowly form a new taste choice for consumers which shouldultimately lead to the change preference of drink. By setting a positiveimpression on the customer through the collaboration of big brand names, it willallow for improved perceptions of the brand (Keller, 2009) and alter views ofPepsi being a ‘challenger brand’ to Coca-Cola (Yglesias, 2018). Before the arrival of advanced technology and social media,traditional advertising efforts proved to offer the most effectivecommunication tool for a brand.
Television advertising is within this categorywhere the aim is to deliver commercial messages to mass audiences (Editors,2018). As an established brand like Pepsi, the need for this method is morefocused on reinforcing the message of superiority rather than reintroducing thebrand. Therefore, Pepsi television adverts focus more on emotions rather thanthe product itself. The benefit of using emotion is that the brand will be ableto engage with the customer on a more personal level and form a relationshipwhich is valuable for maintaining brand equity (Friestad and Thorson, 2018).This is because, if a strong relationship is established, then customers willbe more elastic to price decreases and inelastic to price increases as there iscustomer loyalty (Keller, 2009). Therefore, the Pepsi brand will have astronger position in the market since the main following is loyal regardless ofthe content of the advertisements. Moreover, the FCB matrix identifies soft drinksas being a low involvement product and therefore this only requires theconsumer to ‘learn something positive about the brand and pay attention to themessage’ (Vaughn, 1980).
This supports the argument that advertisements are aneffective tool, especially for low involvement products such as Pepsi, becauseit allows the brand to convey a simple message to the mass. Having said this,advertisements can only be effective if the brand understands the personalityof the target market. Pepsi recently failed at executing this in their advertisementwith Kendall Jenner where they received backlash by misusing sensitive worldtopics to promote the product (NBC News, 2018). This shows that advertisementsare only effective if the content offered is suitable for the target market.
Televisionadvertising is also one of the most expensive marketing tools costing up to£3,000 for a 30 second showing (television, 2018). Therefore, it is importantto consider the effectiveness of advertisements especially since the disruptionof technology, where consumers can eliminate commercials with DVR’s and PVR’s (Keller,2009) during their television viewing. This means brands are risking losing capitalon a platform that doesn’t guarantee the exposure it once did.
This isparticularly risky for a brand like Pepsi, who have had numerous failedtelevision advertisements in the past due to miscommunication of brandmessages. Therefore, one could argue that a more effective marketing tool atengaging the consumer is through sales promotions. The core target market ofPepsi is young adults who are accustomed to being involved in two-wayrelationships with their favourite brands (Kapler and Kapler, 2018). Sales promotions allow brands to engage withcustomers on a more personal level through offering them a short-term incentivefor using the product.
In comparison to advertisements, sales promotions aremore targeted to the end user which makes this marketing tool much more effectiveto reach the target market. Pepsi will be able to offer promotions throughmediums which have a higher concentration of young adults such as ‘UNIDAYS’. It should also be noted that young adults alsohave lower disposable income and through offering a sales promotion it showsthat the brand understands the needs of its customer. This could allow Pepsi toachieve a competitive advantage over Coca-Cola through enticing disloyalcustomers to the Pepsi brand.
However, it is important to consider thatalthough a sales promotion engages a consumer once, there is no guarantee forrepeat purchase without frequent reinforcement of the brand so one could stillargue that a television advertisement is more effective in influencing thecognitive response on a consumer. ‘Advertising is a paid, non-personal communication from anidentified sponsor, using mass media to persuade or influence an audience’ (Turnbull& Fill, 2016). As a marketing communications tool, advertising can bebroken down into several categories.
With 31% market share in the soft drinks industry (BrandonGaille.com,2018) Pepsi are already a household name. Coca-Cola is the other market leader,holding 42% market share (BrandonGaille.com, 2018), so comparison between thesetwo brands is inevitable.
One could argue that the constant need for Pepsi todifferentiate itself has left it with a weak brand image leading to a fragmentedrelationship with their customers. The impact of this is that the brand is moresensitive by marketing actions from their main competitor which will furthertarnish brand consumer relationships and reputation. Traditional marketing communication tools are proving to bemore challenging when trying to convey brand messages to the modern consumer (Keller,2009).
Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable on products and disinterestedin simple marketing communication tactics which once proved successful (Kim& Kim, 2015). Brands are identifying that to maintain a strong image, thereneeds to be an integrated marketing communications mix which can operate globallybut can connect to the local market (Proctor & Kitchen, 2002). This essayaims to analyse advertising as a marketing communications tool to understand itseffectiveness and how it can be used today.
The essay will focus on Pepsi; the thirdmost valuable soft drinks brand in the world (Leading most valuable soft drinkbrands worldwide in 2017, 2018), to demonstrate how the marketing communicationenvironment can and has affected advertising within a global brand.