Integrated marketing communication as the key component to building customer based brand equity.
This study investigates the role of integrated marketing communications in building customer based brand equity. The study was conducted in Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa using the consumers of the Coca Cola brand as the study subjects. The aim of the study was to determine the differential effect that knowledge of the Coca Cola brand has on consumers’ responses to the marketing of the brand. The study commenced with a survey of literature related to the fields of integrated marketing communications and customer based brand equity. The theoretical framework was determined to be the customer based brand equity model of Keller (2008: 60). For the empirical research, the quantitative research methodology was employed. The primary data was collected from a sample of 285 Coca Cola drinkers from Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa. The findings from the theoretical survey revealed that there are several promotional mix tools that can be used to market a brand and that these can be used in brand building to precipitate the strong, favourable and unique brand associations that are necessary for the development of brand equity. The results of the empirical study revealed that the Coca Cola brand does indeed employ several marketing communications tools and that they have been integrated in such a way that they present a cohesive and consistent message. Respondents revealed that this integration of communications has an impact on their attitudes and beliefs about the brand. The research determined that Coca Cola is a highly salient brand in the minds of consumers and that they hold positive associations about the brand. The study determined however that although they hold strong, favourable and unique brand association of the brand in their minds, the majority of respondents do not have the attitudinal attachment, active involvement and sense of community that are necessary for brand resonance.