As a brand consultant I get asked about marketing mix often. A brand must understanding the ideal marketing mix and how it impacts brand equity (BEq), sales growth, and firm valuation has been on the minds of marketers, academics, and business owners as an ever evolving challenge. This article explores how the marketing mix impacts BEq and provides classical examples that demonstrate how the roles of the marketing mix build brand equity. Readers will gain an understanding of the importance of marketing mix as it relates to brand equity as well as the opportunity to explore some of the literature which has been recently developed around the subject.
The Connection Between Marketing Mix and Brand Equity
While several journal articles hint on the theory that marketing mix and brand equity are related, the research by Mukherjee and Shivani (2016) stood out from others and seemed to generally be supported, although not intentional, by other researchers. According to Mukherjee and Shivani (2016), relationships between marketing mix and brand equity exist. However, such relationships and connections were not as directly related to marketing activities or marketing mix as assumed by the study. Instead the research found a correlation in regards to indirect impact on brand equity from the marketing mix in 17 of 20 areas that suggest high consumer growth to a specific brand (p.19).
Defining the specific drivers that influence BEq and firm valuation is essential to marketing professionals as they collectively work to drive consumer behavior through the strategic application of the marketing mix. With the surfacing of the study by Mukherjee and Shivani (2016) defining marketing activities that impact BEq the most becomes even more of a challenge. Further research as depicted by Cornett (2016), suggests the importance of having an understanding of how brand equity is built through brand trust. However, brand trust is only one factor under consideration. According to Baser, Cintamure, and Arslan (2015), brand experience directly and positively affects consumer satisfaction, brand trust, and brand loyalty (p. 101). The marketing mix greatly determines how a consumer interacts with the brand.
The 4Ps and 4Cs have been identified to impact brand equity through modern research around Service Dominant Logic theory (SDL). According to Hilton and Hughes (2013), the theory of SDL indicates that products and services are being traded as what the theory refers to as a service in exchange for a service. An example of SDL in practice commonly seen in today’s world of marketing can be seen on nearly every item listed in the Amazon store. As consumers move along the buyer journey of a product, they often become brand evangelists and share reviews of a product in the case of Amazon. This review has the potential in becoming more valuable over time than the actual money which was exchanged for the product. Below, we will examine two examples of how an effective marketing mix can build brand equity as well as a cross section of an ideal blended approach to the theory of marketing mix.
Where Marketing Mix Builds Brand Equity – Two Examples
Apple is an example of endurance and innovation when it comes to building a marketing mix with predicable outcomes. They compete strongly against other device and software manufactures through brand loyalty, brand trust, and brand perception. Apple invests heavy in design and triggering perceived value. The SDL theory mentioned above is apparent as consumers are strong advocates of the brand, at times to the extreme. Consumer demand for innovative product drives ongoing investment in research and development by the company. The products go for higher than market value as the result of the perceived quality and perceived superiority over other similar products. Consumers can now purchase Apple products from anywhere in the world through an internet connection to through a vast array of retail shops or Apples stores close to most consumers. The best part, is that Apple typically lets the consumers promote the product as the result of a great understanding of the SDL theory. However, clear investments in communicating the product value is made. This is a brand that understands their blended marketing mix and clearly invests to build long-lasting brand equity.
On the other hand, we can look as a brand such as Dell. While there are many strong attributes of Dell for business, their marketing mix has changed overtime to focusing on price and promotion with product specific to businesses. While consumers can purchase a Dell PC from nearly every retail outlet, Dell’s consumer business has fallen sharply in the last several years. A shift in focus in any of the four areas can impact the organization. Today, Dell is a strong recognized brand for business computing power. The equity they hold is uniquely different than the equity of Apple. While both companies are strong, the structure of the marketing mix and strong connection to the consumer makes Apple the stronger brand of the two according to Interbrand (2013).
Creating Strong Marketing Mix to Build Brand Equity
The chart below depicts a modernized view of the marketing mix where the 4Ps of marketing might cross the 4Cs and the role each area has in creating brand equity.
Building brand equity could be defined as the action of strategically aligning the 4Ps and 4Cs of marketing to obtain predictable and measurable increase in brand trust, brand loyalty, and brand recognition. Through careful strategic planning companies can maximize the contribution of each of the 8 components in the table above to build brand equity.
Understanding the marketing mix and strategically investing in each of the quadrants can drive consumer behavior and ultimately positive or negative perceived value of a brand. Brand equity, while difficult and complex to measure, is critical to the organization’s identity. This paper highlighted how the marketing mix can indirectly impact brand equity as well as provided examples of well-known brands and how one of the two brands changed focus within the marketing mix impacting their strong market position away from consumer towards business clients. Finally, the investment in consumer experience with a brand remains at the helm of important strategic planning for organizations around the world.
Baser, I. U., Cintamure, I. G., & Arslan, F. M. (2015) Examining the effect of brand experience on consumer satisfaction, brand trust and brand loyalty 37(2), 101-128. doi:10.14780/iibd.51125
Cornett (2016). Analyzing brand equity and trust. Unpublished manuscript, Northcentral University
Hilton, T., & Hughes, T. (2013). Co-production and self-service: The application of Service-Dominant Logic. Journal of Marketing Management, 29(7/8), 861-881. doi:10.1080/0267257X.2012.729071
Interbrand. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.interbrand.com/assets/uploads/Interbrand-Best-Global-Brands-2013.pdf
Mukherjee, S., & Shivani, S. (2016). Marketing Mix Influence on Service Brand Equity and Its Dimensions. Vision (09722629), 20(1), 9-23. doi:10.1177/0972262916628936