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Consumer Brand Preference – Role of Advertising

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The decision to arrive at a specific brand name is one of the most crucial aspects in the branding strategy of any product before it is introduced in the market. The rapid industrialisation in the early part of the 19th century led to a shift in business emphasis from the cottage industries to well organised and automated industries and heralded the advent of the packaged goods. These factories which produced goods by volume and quality, catered for a larger demographic population scattered over a wider areas compared to the cottage industries, but they encountered stiff resistance from the customer base who refused to change loyalties and preferred to retain the use of products made locally. The packaged goods manufacturers needed to convince the market that the public could place just as much trust in the non-local product.This dire need of the manufactures to enhance customer awareness and familiarity with their products led to employment of brand names by the companies.

The modern concept and practice of branding is much more holistic and refined as compared to its earlier counterpart, and today branding implies a wide range of issues like trust, range of products, origin, quality, youthfulness, fun luxury etc. In the European context, though brand Pepsi is not synonymous with either the source or origin or product range; in recent times, it has emerged as the most significant factor contributing substantially to the company’s merchandising efforts. The brand value and significance will gain more prominence in a market teeming with competition and marked by increasing consumer awareness.

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Brand is a word, mark, symbol, device or a combination thereof, used to identify a particular product or service(Kotler 1984, Kotler and Armstrong 1994,). A brand is a symbolic means of conveying all aspects of information pertaining to the product and helps to create associations and expectations around it. The definition clearly emphasises on the function of a brand, that is, to identify, irrespective of the specific means employed for the identification.

Brand name is a term, symbol, design, or a company-specific name for a particular product or service or combination thereof that identifies and distinguishes a seller's products or service from competitor’s offerings. When both the definitions are compared, it emerges that essentially, both terms serve the same purpose, which is to effectively project and establish the identity of the product concerned. Brand name is a word or a combination of words/letters that is pronounceable, e.g., Pepsi Co. Europe Plc.  Since a brand name serves to establish a distinct identity of a product and distinguishes it from the offerings of the other players in a competitive marketplace, it follows that the unique identity of each brand name has to be jealously guarded and protected by law.

Problem Discussion

Advertising prevails in all walks of human life and it has acquired the distinction of being the most visible and glamorous method of marketing communication in Europe. Advertising is defined as any paid form of non-personal communication and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor through any media(Dunn ; Barban 1978). In the present context, the major marketing and communication functions performed by advertising include: to inform, entertain, persuade, influence, remind, reassure and add value to the product or service advertised (Arens 1996). Advertising is used to establish a basic awareness of the product or service in the mind of the potential customer and to build up knowledge about it(Morden1991). Before commencing a comprehensive discussion/analysis about the role of advertising and the management aspects pertaining to advertising, it would be essential to deliberate on the various types of advertising and their impact on Pepsi, study Pepsi’s standing in comparison to its peers and examine its long term strategies.

The aggressive and often modified content of advertisements by the concerned companies has been severely criticised for the negative social and economic consequences and have become the subjects of continuing debate. A study of the arguments put forward with regard to advertisement leads to the emergence of   two contrasting view points: one which considers advertising as effective information disseminating tool and the other which views advertising as a source of market power.

On balance, advertising has carved an indispensable place for itself in the marketing mix of a firm. The impact of advertising on the company’s revenues and performance is likely to be more pronounced and substantial in the following situations:

  • When buyer awareness is minimal.
  • When industry sales are rising rather than remaining stable or declining.
  • When the product has features normally not observable to the buyer.
  • When the opportunities for product differentiation are strong.
  • When primary instead of secondary motives can be tapped.

If the above mentioned conditions exist in the market place and the advertisement conveys the uniqueness and the distinct values of the product, thereby impressing the potential customer, then a brand name is created, which in turn is the first step in the quest for achieving a sizable market share.

Purpose and Research Questions

In modern times advertising prevails in all walks of human life. It has acquired the distinction of being the most visible and glamorous method of marketing communication and has helped sustain consumer brand preferences in Europe.

We may approach the goal by discussing the important aspects which merit detailed analysis:

What is Pepsi branding? The brand name ‘Pepsi’ has emerged as one of the most important elements of merchandising and its influence will enhance commensurate to the increasing severity of the competition in the market place. Brand is a word, mark, symbol, device or a combination thereof, used to identify a particular product or service. The definition focuses on the function of a brand rather than the specific purpose employed for the identification.

What role does advertising play in influencing the consumer’s brand preferences in Europe? Advertising affects consumer preferences and tastes; changes product attributes and differentiates the product from competitive offerings. Consumers become brand loyal and less price sensitive, and perceive fewer substitutes for advertised brands. The purpose of advertising is to enhance potential buyers’ responses to the organization and its offering, and it seeks to do this by providing information, by channelling desire, and by supplying reasons for preferring a particular organization’s offer(Kotler 1988).

How are advertisements in Europe customized to appeal to Europeans? Advertisement provides potential consumers with an easy means to compare competitive offerings in a highly competitive marketplace. In Europe, advertising serves to  inform consumers about product attributes and do not change the way consumers value those attributes.


To facilitate the realization of advertising objectives, it is necessary that these are laid down in specific operational terms and are linked to the time p during which these are to be accomplished. The research on the practices of corporate has revealed that corporates in Europe pursue a wide spectrum of advertising goals at different time periods and in relation to different products. Even similar companies placed in more or less similar market situations pursue different advertising goals depending upon a host of factors like advertising philosophy, past experience and the level of expertise existing in the company.

An analysis of the advertising goals pursued revealed that these basically focused on moving the customer from one stage of the purchasing process to the next, expansion of the market share and creation of favourable image, and the overall objective of improving sales. The objectives set, in general, lacked specific mention of the per cent of target market to be reached and influenced.

Outline of the Thesis

Brand management is one of the most important areas of marketing especially with reference to consumer products. For Pepsi in Europe, advertising is an impersonal mass selling and communication method. It makes use of various types of media to reach the target public in a proportionately short-time. Being persuasive in nature, advertising broadly aims at gaining exposure, creating awareness, changing attitudes of target customers in favour of sponsor’s products and services, and also at effecting sales and improving corporate image. Besides, it can also act as a good offensive/defensive tool in managing competition.

Management of effective advertising requires that the process be initiated by setting up measurable and realistic goals. The advertising objective of a firm involves determining the advertising budget required the message to be formulated, development of the project, and selection and scheduling of media. Concurrently, the process of identifying and calculating the economic, demographic, cultural and psychological profile of the target customers should initiate the process of detailed planning for the advertisement. This should be followed by selection of appropriate appeals, proper illustrations and unique themes in the language the audience understands, and the process of communicating to the intended customers through appropriate media having a meaningful reach and desired credibility.

Pepsi Co. - Consumer Brand Preference

The present study aims to understand the Pepsi brand amongst consumers and to study the effects of advertising amongst the European consumers. The organo-gram above outlines the study strategy and covers the fields for the respective study analysis. It also outlines an interview diagnosis amongst prospective customers and strategic analysis of competitor branding and advertising strategies.


  1. Arens, F. Contemporary Advertising. USA: Richard D. Irwin, A. Times Mirror Higher   Education Group Inc. Company(1996)
  2. Dunn, and Barban. Advertising, it’s Role in Modern Marketing Advertising, it’s Role in    Modern Marketing. (1987).Hindsdale, Illinois, U.S.A.: Dryden Press.
  3. Kotler, P. Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, and Control(1984) p. 482. Prentice-       Hall,             Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
  4. Kotler, Philip and Armstrong, Gary Principles of Marketing, (1994) Prentice Hall,Englewood    Cliffs, New Jersey p. 285.
  5. Morden A.R  Elements of Marketing. London: D.P.Publication Ltd(1991)

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