Brand molecule theory: An exploratory study of a telecommunication company’s events

This source preferred by Dorothy Fox

Authors: Goodwin, A. and Fox, D.

Start date: 14 July 2010

Over the past decade or so, events have become key elements in strategic marketing initiatives with event marketing or, as it is sometimes known, live or experiential marketing, dominating some promotional budgets. The aims of these initiatives are not only to drive sales, but also to increase brand awareness, loyalty and image. Brands provide the basis for differentiation between competitive offerings and are often conceived in terms of the consumer’s perspective or that of the brand owner; other definitions refer to purpose or characteristics. A traditional perspective therefore is of a brand created by the marketer but Grant (2006) suggests that brands are built up of a number of interconnected cultural ideas, which he conceives as a brand molecule. The brand therefore develops from the reception and enculturation of the associated aspects of the brand and is therefore a co-creation between marketer, audience and wider society. Grant gives the example of 501 s - Levi’s flagship brand which rather than the intended 15-19 year old target audience became associated with men in middle age through the ‘Jeremy Clarkson effect’.

This exploratory study considers events as an integrated element of the business activity of O2, a leading UK mobile ’phone provider. Seven semi-structured interviews were undertaken with employees in the organisation’s Events and Sponsorship Team. These showed that the cultural ideas associated with their events and sponsorship related not only conventionally to the organisation’s brand values but also to the employees’ own cultural perspectives and experiences. Grant, J. (2006). The brand innovation manifesto. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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