List of references
“Sch…” - are you familiar with that sound? It is the sparkling bubbles coming out of a bottle when you open it. But you knew that before, didn’t you? And, be honest, right now you have an image of a special bottle in your head: A bottle labelled “Schweppes”. Isn’t it amazing what just three letters can do with our mind? But this is no coincidence. This is the successful influence on the consumer by the marketing department of Schweppes, creating brand recognition.
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: www.ukgate.com [online] [Accessed 18/11/2010]
Schweppes-brand soft drink products are manufactured by different companies all around the world. These are for example the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in the US (Dr Pepper Snapple Group, 2010), the Krombacher brewery in Germany (Krombacher Brauerei, 2009) and the Coca Cola Company in the United Kingdom (Coca Cola, 2010). All these bottlers are interested in distributing beverages on high sales to make profit. By using the license of a well-known brand it is much easier for marketers to influence consumer behaviour and to achieve these goals.
Applying consumer behaviour theory, this essay will analyse the marketing activities of Schweppes in the UK and their effect on the consumer decision process. Regarding one after another the marketing mix elements based on McCarthy (1960, in: Winkelmann 2010, p. 43) it will result in explaining how the brand manages to be successful in catching consumers’ attention and motivate them to buy Schweppes products.
Schweppes as a brand for carbonated soft drinks (CSD) competes on the market of beverages. As Maslow (1954) states in his hierarchy of needs that drinking as a biological need is one of the fundamental life needs, this shouldn’t be very difficult. “[Need is the] perceived discrepancy between actual and desired state of being sufficient to motivate need reduction behaviour” (Blackwell, 2006, p. 102). We need to consume beverages to survive, which motivates us to go to the supermarket and buy something to drink. However, the market is huge and there is a large amount of suppliers. The CSD market records a slow growth and even some loss of consumer base (Mintel, 2009).
The reason for the shrinking consumer base can be explained applying the cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957): There is a current trend of a healthy lifestyle (Mintel, 2009), that mainly aroused from influences in the media. Heuristically processed information makes people believe that the glut of supposed experts, telling us to live the healthy way and purchase their products, is right. And although, as an individual, we might evaluate some products in a more systematic way, these experts shape cultural values, attitudes and beliefs (Peter and Olsen, 2009). These changes affect the consumer’s social group sharing the cultural meaning of healthy living. This meaning creates a cognitive dissonance that has been reduced by a certain amount of the consumer base by changing their behaviour and not buying CSD anymore.
Correspondingly, the cultural meaning has a negative impact on consumers’ attitude towards the CSD brand Schweppes as well. Attitude is “a learned predisposition to respond to an object or class of objects in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way” (Allport, 1935, cited in Fishbein, 1967). Schweppes, at its beginnings with a product portfolio centred around adult flavours such as Tonic Water, Ginger Ale and Bitter Lemon, tried to position themselves differently by enlarging their product range. They still target mainly adults, but adapt to the cultural change offering slimline products, fruit-flavours and water (Coca Cola, 2010). All these additional products are associated with fitness and a healthy diet. This is an argument against the formed dissonance, stating that Schweppes does not fit in the range of common CSD, because it is healthier. This is another way out of the created mental tension returning to consonance (Festinger, 1957). In this case, the marketers understood the general cultural meaning and influenced the belief towards one specific attribute of the brand, the health factor, to create a more favourable attitude towards Schweppes. According to Fishbein (1967) and his multi attribute model, attitude comprises salient beliefs on all for the consumer relevant attributes. These beliefs stem from own experiences, for example of post-consumption evaluation, and environmental influences and have different intensity and importance in shaping attitude.
The following table gives an example of how the evaluation of Schweppes compared to a CSD competitor could look like:
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: compiled by the author; based on Fishbein, 1967
Beliefs are active and dynamic and can change over a period of time. Consumers might have different beliefs towards the brand after the purchasing and consumption process, as they can evaluate the product’s attributes based on own experiences. It is crucial for marketers to observe and influence the attitude of a brand within a society, but also to adapt the product to the market needs and expectations. A good word-of-mouth of the brand Schweppes because of the amazing attribute of effervescence might influence the consumer behaviour to purchase the brand product, but once purchased and evaluated, he will compare his expectation, formed by the belief of high effervescence, and the perceived performance of the Schweppes product. The expectancy disconfirmation model (based on Oliver, 1997, in Peter and Olsen, 2009) proposes, that this comparison either leads to consumer satisfaction or dissatisfaction, depending on the disconfirmation level between PPE and PPP (see figure below).
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: Peter and Olsen, 2009 based on Oliver, 1997
Therefore marketers need to know whether the product’s attributes can meet consumers’ expectations or not. Neutral or positive feelings are crucial. A negative feeling can influence the brand attitude in an unfavourable way. Satisfaction acts as reinforcement and motivates consumers to buy the same product again (Schiffman, Hansen, Kanuk 2008, pp. 221-223). “Brand loyalty describes repeat purchasing behaviour that reflects a conscious decision to continue buying the same brand” (Jacoby and Chestnut, 1978, p. 349). Repeat purchasing behaviour can also happen because of habit. But a positive attitude after the post-consumption evaluation can turn consumers into loyal customers (Solomon, et al. 2010, pp. 287-289).
The packaging forms no part of the classical 4P-marketing mix, as it is often linked to the product itself, because it provides consumer benefits as well. In British retail stores Schweppes offers their products in convenient plastic bottles or small cans. An oversized 2.5 or 3 litre offer does not exist. This attribute allows the consumer to carry small and lighter bottles home easily and furthermore it states the premium class of the products. The beverages should be enjoyed and savoured, because they are special and not common mass consumption goods. Due to past experience we know that discount and low-quality products are often oversized to create a competitive advantage. We learned that less can be more and tent to choose for example the smaller Schweppes Lemonade, believing that the quality is higher than an ADSA-brand 3 litre offer.
As we can see, packaging is more than just another product benefit, which is why a whole chapter is devoted to it. For marketers it is the playground of creating stimuli, as they can label it with much attention-based visual effects (colours, images) and persuading information.
Perception is “how we assemble sensations into meaningful patterns” (Coon and Mitterer, 2008, p. 150). The perception of the packaging develops through processing these and other stimuli by sensory receptors and through catching attention. It is followed by an interpretation of the sensory input depending on an individual perceptual set (Solomon, et al., 2010). The set can be shaped by attitudes, emotions or context for example. This is a reason for different interpretations among people, although influenced by the same marketing activities. Finally the stimuli result in response. The whole perceptual process is the basis for consumers’ action.
- Quote paper
- Benjamin Buchwald (Author), 2011, Schweppes - how the beverage brand affects UK’s consumer behaviour, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/174216