The impact of event marketing on brand equity
The mediating roles of brand experience and brand attitude
Lia Zarantonello, IÉSEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS), Bernd H. Schmitt Columbia Business School and ACI
Marketing managers and advertisers have begun to re-evaluate conventional, mass media-based models of persuading consumers. They are increasingly interested in alternative communication platforms and brand touchpoints for influencing consumers and enhancing brand impact. According to Gupta (2003, p. 119), ‘event marketing has beenviewed as valuable in generating awareness for the brand and corporate images, but less has been studied about its ability to communicate a more sophisticated, specific message or contribute to other aspects of brand equity
Events can take various forms, including incentive/reward programmes, product launches, open days, conferences, product sampling, publicity events, the so-called ‘created’ events, road shows, press conferences, competitions/contests, exhibitions, corporate entertainment, charity fundraisers, trade shows and product visitor attractions (Wood 2009). Additional forms of events, such as street events and pop-up shops, have been developed recently under the umbrella of ‘unconventional communication’ (Brioschi & Uslenghi 2009)
We propose that a change in brand equity will be a key outcome of event marketing.
Moreover, we examine the process through which events might affect brand equity.Based on prior theory and research, two mediating marketing constructs will be considered:brand attitude and brand experience. Brand attitude has been established as a key factor contributing to the effectiveness of many different marketing and communications (MARCOM) media. Its role in explaining the effects of event marketing has been acknowledged in prior literature (Sneath et al. 2005; Close et al. 2006; Martensen et al. 2007; Close et al. 2009). Brand experience, in contrast, is a relatively new construct(Brakus et al. 2009). Its potential role in event marketing has been stressed by both academic (Whelan & Wohlfeil 2006; Wohlfeil & Whelan 2006; Wood 2009) and managerial writers (Schmitt 1999; Schmitt et al. 2003). In sum, this paper addresses the following two questions: (1) Do events have an impact on brand equity? (2) What role do brand attitude and brand experience play in this process?
Conceptual background and hypotheses development
Defined as ‘the practice of promoting the interests of an organisation and its brands by associating the organisation with a specific activity’(Shimp 1993, p. 8)
Events can take various forms, including incentive/reward programmes, product launches, open days, conferences, product sampling, publicity events, the so-called ‘created’events, road shows, press conferences, competitions/contests, exhibitions, corporate entertainment, charity fundraisers, trade shows and product visitor attractions (Wood 2009)
Event marketing and brand equity
In the brand management literature, event marketing is usually presented as a means for building brand equity (Keller 1998, 2009).
Specifically, Aaker (1991, p. 15) views brand equity as ‘a set of brand assets and
liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol that add to or subtract from the value
provided by a product or service to a firm and/or to that firm’s customer’. He identifies
the following five components of brand equity: (1) brand awareness; (2) brand associations;
(3) perceived quality; (4) brand loyalty; (5) other proprietary assets such as patents,
trademarks and channel relationships.
Event marketing and brand attitude
Brand attitudes have been defined as ‘a relative enduring, unidimensional summary evaluation of the brand that presumably energises behaviour’ (Spears & Singh 2004, p. 56). In sum, as literature provides evidence that, on one hand, event attendance can have a positive impact on brand attitudes and that, on the other hand, brand attitudes positively impact brand equity,
Event marketing and brand experience
Brakus et al. (2009, p. 53) have defined brand experience as ‘subjective, internal consumer responses (sensations, feelings and cognitions) as well as behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity,packaging, communications and environments. In sum, prior research suggests that brand experience represents an important outcome of event attendance because attending an event allows consumers to deal with brands directly and interactively. There is also evidence that brand experience is a source of brand equity, especially in relation to some of its components.
H1: The level of post-event brand equity is significantly higher than the level of pre-event brand equity.
H2: Brand attitude mediates the relationship between pre-event and post-event
H3: Brand experience mediates the relationship between pre-event and post-event brand equity.
H4: Brand experience has a stronger mediating role than brand attitude.
H5: Brand experience has a positive impact on brand attitude.
Each participant received two questionnaires, one before (‘pre-event questionnaire’) and the other after (‘post-event questionnaire’) attending an event. Both questionnaires included a brand equity measure.
- Whether there is level differences of brand equity between pre event and post event
- When there is Brand Attitude in organization whether brand attitude strengthen or weaker the relationship between Event Marketing and Brand Equity.
- When there is Brand Experience mediating in organization whether Brand experience strenghten or weaken the relationship
Research method is Experimental Method, based on surveys conducted both before and after event attendance using the same sample of consumers. More specifically, the field study was structured as a one-group pre-test/post-test quasi experimental design, where the treatment was the attendance of an event.
Cosumer event marketing, types of events were included for generality, including both sponsored events and unconventional events. The specific list of events selected included: a city marathon sponsored by Gatorade; a trade fair where Nokia had its own stand; three street events, two organised by Red Bull and one by Nokia; two pop-up shops, one by Fiat and the other one associated with a Nestle brand. All events took place in multiple cities inna major European country.
Each participant received two questionnaires, one before (‘pre-event questionnaire’) and the other after (‘post-event questionnaire’) attending an event. Both questionnaires included a brand equity measure Questioner pre event and post event , use Likert scale
The specific list of events selected included: a city marathon sponsored by Gatorade; a trade fair where Nokia had its own stand; three street events,two organised by Red Bull and one by Nokia; two pop-up shops, one by Fiat and the other one associated with a Nestle brand.
The pre-test questionnaire was administered outside the venue of the events. People were approached by research assistants and were asked to fill out a questionnaire. At the end of
the questionnaire they were asked for their email address so they could be sent the second
part of the questionnaire. The post-event questionnaire was sent one week after the event.
People that did not reply within one week were sent a reminder during the following week
(i.e. two weeks after the event). The study assessed brand equity any time between one
and two weeks after the event, thus assessing impact in the medium, and not short, term.
The number of usable questionnaires collected in the pre-event phase was 808. The number
of usable questionnaires collected in the post-event phase was 354, of which 135 were
for sponsored events, 77 for trade shows, 89 for street events and 53 for pop-up shops.
Summary of findings
- This research shows that events have an impact on brand equity both directly and indirectly through brand experience and, for some events, through brand attitude.
- Specifically, H1, which proposed that the level of post-event equity is significantly higher than the level of pre-event brand equity, was supported: event attendance increased brand equity. This finding suggests that event marketing does not only contribute to the development of specific components of brand equity, as previous literature demonstrated, but also to brand equity overall.
- H2, which stated that brand attitude mediates the relationship between pre-event and post-event brand equity, was only partially supported.
- The mediating role of brand attitude was verified only for some types of events, namely trade shows and street events.
- Sponsored events, instead,can generate a positive response in terms of brand attitude, but this response does not lead to a behavioural outcome.
- Pop-up shops do not seem to be able to influence brand attitude at all; these events can still produce an increase of brand equity, but this increase does not involve consumers’ attitudes towards the brand.
- H3, which stated that brand experience mediates the relationship between pre-event and post-event brand equity, was fully supported. Event attendance has an impact on brand experience, which, in turn, is a source of brand equity.
- Brand experience plays a mediating role in the process that leads to the development of brand equity, and this role was confirmed for all types of events. Although there are some differences across event types, the analysis performed showed that not all these differences are significant.
- In the case of pop-up shops, the impact generated on brand experience contributes to brand equity more than in the case of trade shows and street events. This may be due to the fact that pop-up shops are new forms of events, which make use of a more structured and immersive space.
- In more traditional events such as sponsored events, the experience that is generated may be less intense, even though this experience still results in an increase of brand equity.
- H4, which stated H4, which stated that brand experience has a stronger mediating role than brand attitude, was confirmed.
- In the analysis with aggregate data, the relationships involving brand experience (i.e. from pre-event OBE to brand experience and from brand experience topost-event OBE) were stronger than those involving brand attitude (i.e. from pre-event OBE to brand attitude and from brand attitude to post-event OBE).
- In the group analysis, the relationships involving brand attitude were not significant in all types of events, whereas those involving brand experience were.
- finally, the hypothesis concerning the relation between brand experience and brand attitude
- H5, was confirmed as well. The chi-square test demonstrated, on an aggregate level, that brand experience positively impacts brand attitude.
- The group analysis showed that this relation is positive and significant in all event types, no matter if the event marketing initiative considered is a sponsored event, a trade show, a street event or a pop-up shop.
- There is inconsistency at mediation variable
- Respon research less than 50%
- Research can not generalized