Social Capital and Decision Making

How Social Capital Affects Student’s Decisions about Attending University?


The concept of social capital has gained prominence in the domain of social science. It refers to the potential of people to get benefits and address the challenges by associating in social networks. Past studies have mentioned different types of social capital, including bridging, bonding, and linking social capital. These relationship networks can perform best when they ensure diversity and promote pluralism.

This essay reflects on the various aspects of social capital. The author highlights its role in the decisions of the students regarding attending university. The paper analyses the influence of friends and families on a student’s decision to go to a university.

School and college students do not possess sufficient information to decide on the career choices, areas of interest, and relevant professions. Hence, their career choices may be significantly influenced by the feedback, recommendations, and suggestions they receive from their friends and families. This paper discusses this impact of social capital on university students.

Social Capital Discussion

The core emphasis of social capital is on intangible resources. These resources become an integral component in interpersonal relationships. The concept of social capital in the context of education is highlighted in various forms and dimensions. It is exhibited in the expectations of the parents, obligations and domestic responsibilities, and the social networks of academic institutions, family, and community.

Deepak, Wisner, and Benton (2016) assert that the aspects of social capital and engaged learning are crucial to the academic success of college students when they intend to advance to university level education. A broader understanding of these aspects will improve student outcomes at the level of higher education. Deepak, Wisner, and Benton (2016) categorised social capital into three types of linking, bonding, and bridging. The social capital is considered as linked when the relationships are built with those who are relatively powerful.

The social capital is regarded as bonded when the networks of families and friends are considered in anticipation of providing substantive motivational and emotional support. The social capital is termed as bridged when people from different social networks and backgrounds come forward and create a bridge between diverse social networks. This essay is focused on bonding social capital because it analyses the influence of friends and families on a student’s decision to go to a university.

Access to Resources

The outcomes in academic institutions are also influenced by social capital. For example, if a student belongs to a low-income family, the student will have fewer books and may lose out on educational visits. The student may not have access to the internet at home or access to an internet connection of low bandwidth. Demographic characteristics and the class background are significant predictors of educational ambitions (Behtoui, 2017, p. 487).

Students compare their standards of living and quality of life with that of the affluent people. They feel deprived and depressed and begin to believe that no matter how hard they work, they will never be able to match the academic excellence of higher-income class. This aspect has gained further significance in the current context due to the advancements in technology. Now the access to higher technology, tools, and gadgets make the learning experience far easier compared to the absence of these facilities.

If a student aims to enroll in an online university, all the academic achievements are based on online interactions, high-quality connection, and an enabling environment at home to pursue the studies. Teachers also facilitate students in top streams to acquire knowledge at higher levels.

Hence, the social class of a student is profoundly affected by the amount of wealth possessed by the student. When a student belongs to a low-income family, the student may get primary and secondary education of the same quality as that of other students.

It is because, in many countries, the provision of primary education is free for all and uniformity is also maintained in the curriculum taught in each school. However, when it comes to the institutions of higher education or universities, the class system plays a role in all aspects. There is an unequal allocation of educational benefits due to income, civic, and social engagement (Cincinnato, De Wever, Van Keer, & Valcke, 2016, p. 144).

Higher academic institutions demand expensive tuition fees for enrolling the students, and it creates a class system at this level. People belonging to the lower social classes either give up attending universities or seek financial assistance for meeting their educational expenses.

Convincing Power of Families and Friends

Families and friends have significant influences on the choices of students at this stage. If they are fully convinced with the significance of higher education, they will encourage their children to pursue higher studies by seeking financial assistance or using the financial resources from their savings. Parents will even work harder to enable their children to receive higher education.

Friends can also be good motivators if they realise the significance of higher education. The attainment of higher education is highly likely when new social resources are developed together with enduring mentoring relationships (Ashtiani & Feliciano, 2018, p. 439).

If parents and friends have a long-term orientation, they can convince the students that college-level education will not earn them good jobs with attractive compensation packages when they are competing with university graduates in professional life.

Butler and Muir (2017) describe that the theories of social capital have indicated that students make decisions about their academic endeavours based on complex family connections. Their education narratives are anchored in particular family associations through which they interpret their experience of education.

According to Butler and Muir (2017), social capital is a leading factor in facilitating productive activity. It is because the concept is rooted in social cohesion, trust, and reciprocity. Hence, parents and families should realise that higher levels of social capital are strongly correlated with a good quality of life and wellbeing. The thrust of social capital is on building values derived from social engagement and networking.

Butler and Muir (2017) highlight that social capital is manifested in various forms. In the context of education, the most influencing factor is that of bonding relationships, and if the families and friends do not realise its potential, it may become inherently disabling for the students. On the other hand, its judicious use can become a source of support and assistance in various circumstances.

Scholars have also broadened the role of friends in influencing the career decisions to a broader perspective of community-based education management (Edwards Jr, 2019, p. 18). It refers to the involvement of the whole community at various levels of academic endeavours.

According to Edwards Jr (2019), it means that families and friends should work with principals and teachers on the effectiveness of the curriculum, performance evaluation of teachers, and hiring of quality human resources. Edwards Jr (2019) argues that the administrators of the education system have not been able to attract a large pool of students due to the “absence of a focus on social relations and social capital” (p. 19).

The development initiatives cannot be successful merely on technical interventions without realising the significance of the social contexts in which those initiatives are introduced (Edwards Jr, 2019, p. 19). A focus on social capital will develop capacities for developing solutions to joint problems.

Merit-Based System

In a capitalist society, the merit-based system becomes a challenge for the people belonging to the lower-income group and lower social status. In this society, the gap always widens between the rich and the poor. The rich become richer, and the poor become poorer. It is because when the people compete on an equal opportunity basis, those belonging to the affluent class always win the race due to the accumulation of vast resources.

A student brought up in elite schools, colleges, and universities will find it a lot easier to beat a candidate on the job who belongs to a lower social class. It is because the student belonging to a lower level never got the same opportunity and facilities to polish and improve the skill set.

Hence, that student would have no choice but to be complacent with a lower level of education and mediocre jobs. According to the findings of Zhang and Lu (2019), depressive symptoms are found higher among students belonging to low family social capital when they cannot attain higher education.

The marginalisation of students belonging to low social capital cannot be overlooked. The anger and frustration may be deviated and ventilated through other channels. All the stakeholders of the educational system will need to play their role to reduce the class system at the level of higher education.

Money is not the solution to this issue because a high cost is associated with higher education, and various universities operate in a country. The problem can only be addressed through the development of social networks and encouraging the students to come out of the vicious circle. It is not an issue limited to the student. The decisions will define the fate of future generations as well.

Expensive Education

One of the solutions to this issue could be to ensure free education at the level of universities as well. It will reduce the effect of social capital and students will be able to continue their studies without any worries regarding the financial aspect. However, the governments across the world are even struggling to stay with their promises of free primary and secondary education.

Higher education is an advanced area of study, and the provision of funding to all institutions at the state level will never be possible. Even the philanthropic organisations and foundations either build their universities or fund two or three institutions at maximum.

Social Capital and Decision Making
Social Capital and Decision Making

Job versus Entrepreneurship

Another factor that influences the decision of the student regarding attending university is whether the students would like to become entrepreneurs or they dream an excellent job after the completion of their studies. Many students believe that university education is beneficial only if they want to apply for a job.

Some organisations even announce promotions and benefits when an employed person completes a university education on-the-job. However, when individuals, based on the influence of family and friends, aim to establish their own business, they underestimate the significance of higher education. The individual believes that success in a business is more dependent on the experience and hard work than formal education.

Also, the families encourage the students to become the earning members quickly instead of consuming four to five more years in university education. A robust social factor can promote the students to make active contributions in their domains even as scholars and the research community (Tyndall, Forbes III, Avery, & Powell, 2019, p. 300).

There are severe restrictions on child labour in many countries. These restrictions become effective during primary and secondary education. However, by the time, the student becomes eligible for university education, these regulations also become ineffective. It is because, by that time, the student had reached the age of eighteen years.

Academic Institutions

The academic institutions of higher education are also part of this social capital, and they also play their role in demotivating students towards higher education. The top-rated institutions are limited in their capacities to accommodate a large population of college graduates.

When students from lower social class do not get admission in these institutions, they prefer not to attend the university instead of compromising on the quality of education. Hence, poverty becomes a barrier to the social capital formation (Harrison, Montgomery, & Jeanty, 2019, p. 183).

The commercial aspects have also dominated many academic institutions, and there is a lesser level of focus on research and development. Universities are premises where the students challenge preconceived notions and bring out something creative and innovative. They contribute to the existing academic literature and fill the gaps in the literature.

However, the mechanical style of many universities is dominated by traditional classroom instructions and students receive the degrees without having a firm grip of the knowledge and skills. Their gaps in knowledge become eminent when they have to execute tasks in a professional environment.

Economic Resilience

Parents and friends should realise their role in the successful professional life of students. The students cannot be successful in university life if they belong to a lower social class, and parents and friends do not motivate them. A long-term orientation by parents and friends will consider university education as a good investment that will open the doors of a successful career for the students.

The student will also participate in university life with full zeal because the family and friends will support the student. The short-term pursuit of profitability and financial gains should not be preferred over long-term economic resilience (Sabatino, 2019, p. 355). There will be no upliftment and development in the next generation. The growth of the generation is possible only if parents and friends realise the significance of higher education and become the full supporters of students in attending universities.

Personal Values

Fearon, Nachmias, McLaughlin, and Jackson (2018) highlight the role of personal values in the career decidedness of students in higher education. The model presented in the study reflected on how social capital mediates the career decision-making process.

The independent variables in the study included access to resources, student’s social capital, social skills, and personal skills. The study mentioned that ultimately, students are responsible for their career decisions and the role of families and friends is that of a facilitator. They can provide an enabling environment to accept skills development opportunities and nurture personal growth.

Social capital has a leading role in facilitating action and providing potential energy (Tonkaboni, Yousefy, & Keshtiaray, 2013, p. 41). At the levels of social structure, it can be utilised in all ways, including micro, intermediate, and macro level. In this regard, two significant aspects of social capital are networking opportunities and latent resources.

Investing in social networks produces declaration and instrumental actions. From the perspective of declaration action, social capital is beneficial for defending against the possible loss and consolidating resources. From the standpoint of instrumental action, social capital is significant in establishing reputation, power, and wealth (Tonkaboni, Yousefy, & Keshtiaray, 2013, p. 41). Tonkaboni, Yousefy, and Keshtiaray (2013) emphasised that social capital should be evaluated through its three components of social integration, social participation, and social confidence.


The social capital makes a significant influence on the education sector through the influences of families and friends. For the people belonging to higher social class, it is easier to acquire quality education in top universities of the world. However, financial constraints become a barrier for students of lower social level.

If parents and friends encourage students in this phase of life, they can become equally-competent university graduates and become successful in their professional and personal lives. Academic institutions also have the responsibility of realising the significance of social capital.

However, in most of the cases, the students are at the receiving end. Hence, families and friends should take the lead and play a pivotal role in making the students active contributors to development and prosperity in society.


Ashtiani, M. and Feliciano, C., 2018. Access and mobilization: How social capital relates to low-income youth’s postsecondary educational (PSE) attainment. Youth & Society, 50(4), pp.439-461.

Behtoui, A., 2017. Social capital and the educational expectations of young people. European Educational Research Journal, 16(4), pp.487-503.

Butler, R. and Muir, K., 2017. Young people’s education biographies: Family relationships, social capital and belonging. Journal of Youth Studies, 20(3), pp.316-331.

Cincinnato, S., De Wever, B., Van Keer, H. and Valcke, M., 2016. The influence of social background on participation in adult education: Applying the cultural capital framework. Adult Education Quarterly, 66(2), pp.143-168.

Deepak, A.C., Wisner, B.L. and Benton, A.D., 2016. Intersections between technology, engaged learning, and social capital in social work education. Social Work Education, 35(3), pp.310-322.

Edwards Jr, D.B., 2019. Shifting the perspective on community-based management of education: From systems theory to social capital and community empowerment. International Journal of Educational Development, 64(1), pp.17-26.

Fearon, C., Nachmias, S., McLaughlin, H. and Jackson, S., 2018. Personal values, social capital, and higher education student career decidedness: A new ‘protean’-informed model. Studies in Higher Education, 43(2), pp.269-291.

Harrison, J.L., Montgomery, C.A. and Jeanty, P.W., 2019. A spatial, simultaneous model of social capital and poverty. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 78(3), pp.183-192.

Sabatino, M., 2019. Economic resilience and social capital of the Italian region. International Review of Economics & Finance, 61(2), pp.355-367.

Tonkaboni, F., Yousefy, A. and Keshtiaray, N., 2013. Description and recognition of the concept of social capital in higher education system. International Education Studies, 6(9), pp.40-50.

Tyndall, D.E., Forbes III, T.H., Avery, J.J. and Powell, S.B., 2019. Fostering scholarship in doctoral education: Using a social capital framework to support PhD student writing groups. Journal of Professional Nursing, 35(2), pp.300-304.

Zhang, J. and Lu, N., 2019. Community-based cognitive social capital and depressive symptoms among older adults in urban China: The moderating role of family social capital. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 1(2), pp.1-20.

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Advertising and Ethical Contracting

Advertising and Ethical Contracting

Advertising and Ethical Contracting Project – In advertising it is possible to have organization promising more than they can offer. This is considered as unethical advertisement. However, organizations use attractive information to try and entice potential consumers into buying their products and services.

The main objective of an advertisement is to convey the intention of the advertising company. The information may be about a product or a service (Dobson et al, 2012). These are informative advertisements that are aimed at ensuring that the customers are informed on the contents of a product or a service and hence help them in making an informed choice.

However, an organization may include false information in the adverts. The information may be misleading making the customer to make a decision unwillingly. They may be following the promised item rather than consume the product being advertised. Most advertising organizations are warned against misleading consumers and luring them into choosing their products and services out of misleading information (Boundy, 2010).

On the other hand, customers are warned of their being conscious when responding to offers in advertisements. They should comprehend the information being conveyed in the advert and not just make haste into getting the promise in promotional adverts (Suprapto et al, 2015).

The organization that engages in such practices can be considered to be unethical in its advertising practices. This is because the customers might not specifically choose their products but rather the rewards promised in the promotions advert. The advert remains irrelevant in the promotion and the customer does not develop a liking for the main product or service but rather focuses on winning the promised item. However, some organization will reward a prolonged usage of a product through royalty points reward programs.

Case Review Advertising and Ethical Contracting

In the case, the Soft Drink Company intended to entice its consumers into taking more of the drink and accumulate points. It had placed a high figure on the points that one needed to accumulate by consuming the soft drink in order to be considered for the reward. The consumer would take a long time to earn the points and hence they had placed the reward of a Harrier Jet just as a motivation to make the consumers take more of the soft drink.

The organization had no intention to give the reward. They had projected that probably no one will be able to accumulate the necessary points before the promotion was over. As per the calculations one would have probably consumed 190 drinks a day for a period of 100 years in order to accumulate the points. Getting 7 million points was impossible and this is what the organization considered in placing the advertisement on the media.

On the other hand, the Harrier Jet cost over $ 23 million. It was therefore illogical to place a bet worth $700,000 for an item that is over 2000% worth of the value. This made the advert to be a joke as highlighted. However, the businessman’s focus was not from the customer’s point of view but rather from the business point of view. He had envisioned himself possessing the Harrier Jet worth over $23 million for a price that was merely less than a million dollars.

In evaluating the case, the judge argued that the advert was basically a joke and the organization had not meant to give the promised Harrier Jet. In addition, the advert was basically an offer and the organization had not entered a legal agreement with the businessman that upon completion acquisition of the points, the organization would provide the customer with the promise. There was therefore no legal obligation for the organization to provide the promised reward to the customer upon accumulation of the necessary point (Suprapto et al, 2015).

There are terms and conditions in every business undertaking. The organization must have stipulated that the advertisement was meant for enhancing the consumerism of their products and not necessarily the accumulation of points. The accumulation of points was a methodology of encouraging repeated consumerism. However, the allowance by the organization for the consumers to purchase points at a price of 10 cents each was a shortcoming and this triggered the businessman to use the same to accumulate points.

Valid Contract

An advertisement is considered lesser than an offer. It is an invitation to make a deal. The organization that advertises places an open invitation to make a deal. In a valid contract, two or more parties come to an agreement to provide a service, a product or commit an act and it is enforceable by law. For a contract to be enforceable, there must be an offer then followed by an acceptance (Dobson et al, 2012).

This is followed by the creation of a legally binding agreement where the two parties consent to an agreed terms and conditions. They enter the agreement with a free will after they have understood the terms. Where force or confusing statements are used during the dealing the contract is declared illegal and void (Silver & Hochberg, 2013).

A valid contract must contain several elements. They include;

  • An offer that provides the details of what is to be provided and at what condition.
  • Acceptance to show that the two parties have consented to the agreement.
  • A consideration which may be money or something of value that ensures there is interest in the parties to enter or have an exchange agreement.
  • The capability by the parties to be able to honor the contract. The parties have to be mentally, physically and economically able to honor the agreement as stipulated.
  • Intent is the will to carry out the promise in the agreement.
  • The legal entity where the agreement is sealed using legal terms and conditions and hence be capable of legal defense in case there is a breach and a resulting breach of contract.

The parties to a contract agree on the terms after fully understanding their role in effecting their side of the contract. One may be the recipient of what the other party has to offer. For instance, in a service provision contract, the service provider is expected to agree to provide a service at an agreed level (Jones, 2022). The client will consent to pay the client upon complete provision of services. However, if the client fails to pay or the service provider fails to honor the agreement, the legal process may be induced by the arising conflict.

There are several types of contract. An express contract is a common type where the elements such as offer, acceptance and consideration are specifically stated (Silver & Hochberg, 2013). This helps the parties to understand the terms and regulation regarding the contract. An example is a tenant – landlord agreement where the tenant agrees to pay the landlord some given amount at the end of their stay.

Most buying occurs in environments where the customer and the client negotiate on an oral platform. In these kind of contract there are less formalities and its only at the end of the agreement when the client provides the customer with a receipt or invoice to cement an agreement. When the agreement is reached a document to document the acceptance may be used to make sure that the promise is honored (Fehr et al, 2011).

The goods are then not returnable after the customer has left the premise. An example of an oral contract is where a buyer negotiates the buying of a car with a car dealer. At the end of the sale the buyer get the documentation and leaves with the car and cannot return the vehicle to the dealer. The buyer will provide the payment immediately they reach an agreement and will exchange with the car documents.

Advertising and Ethical Contracting
Advertising and Ethical Contracting

Another kind of contract is an implied contract. In this type of contract, one of the parties will put themselves in a position that suggests they are ready to honor what the other may be offering. Their position is deemed as readiness to negotiate and accept the terms of the contract. For instance, when a person visits a restaurant and sit, the waiter or waitress will approach the customer and ask for their order. This is because the customer is assumed to be willing to eat or drink and pay for the same upon service.

However, the problem arises where one of the parties may not be ready to enter an agreement with the other. For instance when one is not ready to eat but still enters a restaurant. The service provider may still serve the customer and if they fail to pay after consuming the product. Such a case means that the hotel operator can sue the customer under the Quasi-Contract terms since the actions of the customer implied they were ready to be given some service (Fehr et al, 2011).

Illegal and Void Contracts

In a case like the one of the businessman, there was no contractual agreement with the soft drink company that after they accumulate the points, they would receive the reward. This was not even an offer but an invitation to deal. The businessman did not even bother to consult from the soft drink company on whether he would receive the reward upon complete accumulation of the desired points (Fehr et al, 2011). Instead he went ahead and accumulated the points disregarding additional information for him to avoid his uninformed decision.

For illegal contracts there is lack of efficient components to validate the same to make it an enforceable contract. However, when one party fails to perform their part of the contract, the other may proceed and have a legal claim for damages and hence the facts are used to enforce the contract and have the recovery of damages. This occurs for the purposes of recovering an interest or a consideration that one party had honored and the accused failed.

Recommendation and Conclusion

Looking from all aspects of a valid contract, the advertisement failed to reach the threshold. The Federal Judge at the Southern District of New York evaluated the advert and considered it a joking one. He ruled out that the firm intended to reward those that reached the said points. If the reward was based on a recorded accumulation of points, the case could have been different.

In a reward mechanism, the parties will have a written document to show parties agreed on some terms to comply with (Emerson, 2010). The customer or the user will receive a registration number or an account into which the points will be accumulated as they consumed the product. Every time they enter the customer consumes the said product points are added to their account. This is common with supermarkets, filling stations and other businesses.

Nonetheless, the kind of advertisement that was used by the company was misleading and unethical. It is always important to apply ethics and not be superstitious like the organization did. The man might have justified the ultimate action of the businessman. Organization should uphold that advertisements meet an advertisement ethical threshold (Emerson, 2010). The firms should be restricted from placing the life of a consumer at heart.

They cannot promise consumer that they are going to reward them and fail the same upon successful completion of the points’ accumulation. The desired level is stipulated at the beginning and the willing person is then registered so as to have their points added upon consumption.

Luring and misleading advertisement should attract some penalty. The firms or individuals who use false and enticing details, so as to coerce consumers into buying products or services should be held accountable to unethical and illegal practices. Nonetheless, when an organization practices such, their credibility in the market gets affected. Some of the practices may as well lead to consequences that may include expulsion by regulatory bodies.


Boundy, C. (2010). Business contracts handbook. Farnham, Surrey: Gower Pub.

Dobson, A. P., Stokes, R., & Dobson, A. P. (2012). Commercial law. London: Sweet & Maxwell.

Emerson, R. W. (2010). Business law. Great Claredon Street, UK: Oxford University

Fehr, E., Hart, O. D., Zehnder, C., & National Bureau of Economic Research. (2011). How do informal agreements and renegotiation shape contractual reference points? Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Silver, T., & Hochberg, S. (2013). The Glannon guide to contracts: Learning contracts through multiple-choice questions and analysis. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

Jones, S. (2022) Advertising and Ethical Contracting: Marketing Consulting Project. Study-Aids Research

Suprapto, M., Bakker, H. L., Mooi, H. G., & Hertogh, M. J. (2015). How do contract types and incentives matter to project performance? International Journal of Project Management. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2015.08.003

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What is meant by the term Integrated Marketing Communications and how is it strategically implemented, and what are the perceived benefits to having a centralised, synthesised company message?

Integrated marketing communications has been defined as a management philosophy, an educational movement and a unifying business practice, among others. Cornelisson and Lock state that IMC is nothing but a management fad. This ambiguity in defining and measuring IMC has prevented the development of a cohesive research stream in this area. In order to build on and extend previous research, I have chosen to adopt the original definition of Duncan and Everett, who define IMC as “the strategic coordination of all messages and media used by an organization to influence its perceived brand value” (Beard, 1996).

While approaching this topic area, I came across several surveys that were conducted for IMC. In order to attain a greater understanding of IMC and to construct validity, I then decided to conduct my own survey. I contacted and interviewed 14 senior marketing managers, and asked them to give me their definition of integrated marketing communications These managers were employed by a representative mix of large and small companies, ranging from 15 to 90 employees, competing in industries including telecommunications, food and beverage manufacturing, and financial services.

All the managers I interviewed were responsible for planning and implementing marketing communications programs. Illustrative job titles of those interviewed included senior director of marketing, regional team manager of sales and marketing, senior product manager, and owner/general manager (for small businesses). All 14 managers interviewed defined integrated marketing communications as a management practice. The owners of the two smallest businesses, a restaurant and a local sports shop, had no real idea as to the understanding of IMC, however their marketing structure showed evidence of it in use.

Furthermore, the most common element of their responses was the coordination of marketing communications tools. This provided further support for adopting the Duncan and Everett definition of IMC. When I asked them to suggest ways as to create a coordinated marketing strategy, all 14 managers suggested four components that contribute to the coordination of marketing communications activities:

  1. Planning and developing different communications tools such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct mail as one integrated project.
  2. Assigning responsibility for the overall communications effort to a single manager.
  3. Ensuring that the various elements of the communications program have a common strategic objective such as reinforcing a particular positioning strategy or appealing to a key benefit sought by a target segment.
  4. Focusing on a common communications message.

These are similar ideas, yet each captures a slightly different aspect of the way senior managers coordinate diverse communications activities. They also reflect the three prevalent conceptualizations of IMC summarized by Nowak and Phelps -“one voice,” “integrated communications,” and “coordinated campaigns”–further strengthening the construct validity.

I followed the suggestions of Churchill to build and test a multi-item scale to measure IMC as perceived by senior marketing managers, since no such scale exists in the literature. Based on the definition of IMC and the input from senior managers discussed above (to ensure construct validity), I constructed the following four items for the Likert scale. Before I go on, the Likert technique presents a set of attitude statements.

Subjects are asked to express agreement or disagreement of a five-point scale. Each degree of agreement is given a numerical value from one to five. Thus, a total numerical value can be calculated from all the responses. The following statements were posed to the managers and their responses were recorded as a numerical value; a value of 1 was given if they absolutely disagreed and a value of 5 was given if they totally agreed.

  • When more than one marketing communications tool or activity is used for a product or service, they should be planned and executed as distinct, separate projects.
  • Different marketing communications tools for a product/service should be planned by the same manager.
  • The elements of the marketing communications program for a product/service should be strategically consistent.
  • I would say that the marketing communications tools used for a product/service focus on a common message.

Integrated marketing communications has been a worthwhile goal of marketing people for the past 30 years. When compared with uncoordinated approaches, IMC offers more relevancy and greater opportunities to achieve client objectives.

The real opportunities to serve clients with significant results, however, lie in areas outside typical demand/creation-driven communications. You cannot really integrate marketing communications without first integrating marketing and recognizing that demand fulfillment (service, delivery, etc.) is just as critical to success. And you cannot truly integrate marketing without first integrating the company (Burnett, 1998).

A recent case study showed banks in many parts of America recently began selling mutual funds. They needed a new profit center because of lower interest rates and the resulting loss of funds. But a focus solely on increased profit is behind the failure in integrated marketing of bank mutual fund products (Burnett, 1998).

For example, in New York, during the first six months of last year, 13 banks and savings and loans in New York spent $6 million advertising mutual funds and other investment products, up more than 500% from the previous year. This relatively high level of funding was spent on demand/creation activities with little consideration for demand fulfillment and how customers would actually come in contact with the bank.

So when prospective customers entered banks inquiring about mutual funds, they often encountered clerks who supplied only partial information, misinformation, or simply had no answers at all and did not even know where to find them. (Burnett, 1998) There is a unifying secret to integrated marketing communications, integrated marketing, and integrated companies. It is a concentrated focus on the customer and a recognition that every point of contact between the company and the customer; product packaging, advertising, or customer service–is an opportunity to create a positive synergy and a happy customer.

The real impetus behind integrated marketing is in realizing that a company’s products and services do not exist to increase profits and maximize shareholder value. They exist to benefit customers better than the competition; that is the way to advance profitability and expand shareholder value. It is a long-term view, and one held by many Japanese companies.

The change that integrated marketing calls for requires that organizations first test the waters by focusing on a particular business or product area, and following an approach. The first step, however, common to both, is an infrastructure, creating cross-functional teams of people who can recognise and represent the needs of the customers at every point of contact with the organisation. This group can include finance, sales, marketing channels, communications, etc. The next step is picking the approach (Burnett, 1998).

One approach may be to take existing products and services, communications, and infrastructure and focus on a particular business area. The cross-functional team redefines the marketing communications and operational aspects of that area. The team develops specific and measurable goals with regard to communications, relevancy, and productivity, and it creates specific plans to measure the achievement of those goals.

Integrated Marketing Communications Agencies

All of this suggests that the future of general advertising and direct marketing agencies is not in integrated communications but in integrated marketing. (Coen, 1998) The challenge before us is to move away from discipline-oriented solutions to integrated marketing solutions that address multiple dimensions of the client’s business situation. This change will require that advertising agencies play a hybrid role as consultants, communication experts, and process facilitators.

Most companies appear to be practicing IMC to some degree, supporting the observations from my previous survey, that IMC is important and is increasingly considered a marketing ‘best practice’. There is a strong relationship found between IMC and performance measures such as market share, sales, and profit further demonstrate the value of efforts to enhance IMC. Although IMC is becoming more popular, a survey showed that 12 percent of respondents implied that their communications programs were fully integrated, suggesting that 88 percent have room for improvement to some extent (Coen, 1998).

Of the three items used to measure IMC, respondents indicated that the area with the most room for improvement is the strategic consistency of the communications elements. This is consistent with Kitchen and Schultz’s notion of the most advanced ‘stage 4’ of IMC development; the financial and strategic integration of IMC synergies (Kitchen and Schultz, 1999). Therefore, managers should focus more on the strategic objectives of their communications programs and increasing the consistency of those objectives across individual program components.

For example, if the overall campaign strategy is to increase new users, this should be the focus of the media advertising, public relations effort, promotional programs, and website design. By focusing on the strategic use of IMC, managers will also be able to measure better the financial returns of communications programs as a whole.

One of the objectives of this study was to learn about factors, which enhance or reduce IMC. Based on the foundation laid here, advertising professionals should be able to make changes that may strengthen IMC in their firms. (Coen, 1998) My findings indicate that assigning managers with significant career experience the responsibility for marketing communications integration can enhance IMC.

The other factors associated with IMC may not be as actionable as increasing the experience of the lead manager; however, they may provide valuable insight to managers interested in encouraging IMC in other ways. For example, the results show that company size is negatively related to IMC. It is likely that marketing communications programs in large organizations are managed by a number of employees, departments, and functions, in various divisions.

This diverse responsibility makes coordination difficult and increases the likelihood that communicated messages will not be consistent. In order to enhance IMC in such situations, it may help to coordinate communications programs at the product or service level. A product or brand management structure where responsibilities for individual brands are assigned to one experienced manager may enhance IMC by reducing the “size” of the business as much as possible and encouraging coordination at the product/service level. Management efforts to organize the communications efforts appropriately would help address the apparent hurdles involved in increasing IMC in large companies. (Gonring, 1994)

The results of the study suggest a number of implications relative to client-agency relationships. The most obvious would be to assign a diverse set of communication responsibilities to a single agency to coordinate and implement. This would lower the complexity of large, diverse communications programs.

Integrated Marketing Communications Project
Integrated Marketing Communications Project

One way to achieve this would be to reorganize large agencies into product/service groups, designating account management, creative, media, sales promotion, public relations, and research professionals to integrated client groups (see Gronstedt and Thorson, 1996, for other ways agencies can organize to encourage IMC). Reorganizing in this way would go a long way toward enhancing the coordination of communications activities and toward increasing the strategic consistency of messages and media implemented on behalf of clients (Gonring, 1994).

The strong relationship between IMC and firm performance found in our study suggests that agencies should encourage IMC by their clients. Prior research clearly shows that clients are the drivers of IMC and that strong client-agency partnerships that produce integrated communications plans are critical to the success of IMC efforts. The scale developed in this study could be used by agencies to measure the degree of IMC of potential and current clients to determine the components of IMC that need the most improvement.

A final implication of these results for the client-advertising agency relationship is that the IMC scale developed here can be used to help define the role of the client and agency in developing and implementing integrated communications programs. Prior research has shown that one of the hurdles to IMC is the question of who should coordinate programs, client or agency. Each feels that IMC is their role, leading to problems in implementation.

Expectations may be unclear and, therefore, information not shared. Where does the responsibility for IMC lie? Who should be primarily responsible for it? The results, combined with results from prior research, suggest that clients should be responsible for the strategic direction and planning, which are the foundation of integrated communications programs (Gould, 1999).

Advertising agencies should be responsible for message consistency and coordination of communications programs. IMC should originate with client generally who see the “big picture” and recognise the role of communications efforts in their overall marketing strategies. Agencies, on the other hand, are best suited to coordinate and implement IMC programs across messages, media, products, services, divisions, and countries. The results suggest that clients have more room for IMC improvement in their strategic planning role than do agencies in their tactical implementation role and that advertising agencies are well positioned to be the “lead” communications agency in efforts to improve IMC. (Hutton, 1996)

Managers can cultivate a spirit of IMC in their organizations by creating sales message strategies that could be more carefully coordinated with other forms of communications in the planning and implementation stages in order to avoid the inconsistencies that are more likely to occur later on. Personal selling is a large part of the communications mix. In addition, prior research has found that business-to-business firms tend to rely more heavily on advertising agencies for IMC than do consumer-focused firms. This suggests that advertising agencies have a greater opportunity to help business-to-business firms more closely integrate their marketing communications programs.

 Imperial Tobacco Limited is an example of a company, which is Canada’s largest tobacco manufacturer, effectively employed three critical integrated marketing communication (IMC) practices: strategically consistent brand communication, cross-functional planning and monitoring, and data-driven targeting and communication. By utilizing in-depth consumer research and key IMC processes to construct brand and lifestyle imagery for its flagship cigarette trademark, Player’s, ITL achieved greater brand equity and greater shareholder value. (Dewhirst, 2005).

In conclusion, it is evident that having a centralized, synthesized company message is vital in order to bring about success. It is essential that companies realize the potential and the importance of this message. Integrated marketing communication is really about having a coordinated, organized structure in the way information is sent across. Organisation in every part of our lives is the key to building a successful empire. We have to remember that IMC is not a fundamental theory.

It is still very much at the developmental stages. There may be some areas where it may not work, so it is essential to see how IMC develops over longer periods of time, maybe through longitudinal studies. From this study we have also learnt that it is crucial to value the customer and stakeholder, if all we do is concentrate on integrating marketing communications and fitting it into the company structure, then it is possible to lose focus on the real target, the consumer. It may be wiser to start with the consumer and fitting IMC around the company structure in order to obtain the greatest benefit for the company and the consumer.


Beard, F. “Integrated Marketing Communications: New Role Expectations and Performance Issues in the Client-Ad Agency Relationship?” Journal of Business Research 37, 3 (1996): 207-15.

Burnett, J., and S. Moriarty. Introduction to Marketing Communication: An Integrated Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1998.

Coen, R. J. Annual Advertising Spending Report. New York, McCann Erickson, 1998.

Gonring, M P. “Putting Integrated Marketing Communications to Work Today.” Public Relations Quarterly 39, 3 (1994): 45-48.

Gould, S. J., D. B. Lerman, and A. P. Grein. “Agency Perceptions and Practices on Global IMC.” Journal of Advertising Research 39, 1 (1999): 7-20.

 E. Thorson. “Five Approaches to Organize an Integrated Marketing Communications Agency.” Journal of Advertising Research 36, 2 (1996): 48-58.

Hutton, J. G. “Integrated Marketing Communications and the Evolution of Marketing Thought.” Journal of Business Research 37, 3 (1996): 155-62.

Kitchen, P. J., and D. E Schultz. “A Multi-Country Comparison of the Drive for IMC.” Journal of Advertising Research 39, 1 (1999): 21-38.

Low, G. S., and J. J. Mohr. “Setting Advertising and Promotion Budgets in Multi-Brand Companies.” Journal of Advertising Research 39, 1 (1999): 67-78.

Mand, A. “No Gamble: P&G Looking to Put More Brands Online.” Brandweek, 1999.

Neff, J., and P. Sloan. “P&G, No. 1 Again, Aims to Reinvent Marketing.” Advertising Age, 1996.

Nowak, G., and J. Phelps. “Conceptualizing the Integrated Marketing Communications Phenomenon: An Examination of Its Impact on Advertising Practices and Its Implications for Advertising Research.” Journal of Current Issue, and Research in Advertising 16, 1(1994):49-66.

Dewhirst and Davis. “Brand strategy and integrated marketing communication.” Journal of advertising 34, 4 (2005): 81-92.

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Netflix Consumer Behavior

Netflix Consumer Behavior

Netflix consumer behavior – This assignment focuses on a branded service – Netflix on the basis of co-creating value. Netflix is the leading American brand known for streaming services. In this case, Netflix is the brand and streaming is the service. Therefore, of focus in this assignment is developing a brand-image – various brand associations; brand-congruency by determining the level of congruency between the typical user’s image and brand-image.

The assignment also focuses on explaining the brand attitude of Netflix’s target audience, social-cultural influences, identifying any artefacts and rituals associated with the branded service, and the recommendation of the various ways of creating value for the customer. In general, this assignment is a piece communication, which provides the service brand (Netflix) manager with information about their socio-cultural, brand, and normative influences affecting and co-creating value for the target audience.

Brand Image

To begin with, it is hard to imagine a living room or boardroom where Netflix (branded service) requires an introduction. Currently, the branded service boasts of over 70 million subscribers across over 40 countries worldwide. Netflix has spurred hundreds of cable cancellations every day. This kind of growth for Netflix in recent years is partly attributed to the brand service’s image out there. According to Park & Lee (2005, p. 40), the success of a company stems, partly, from delighting customers in margin-enhancing, customers in hard to replicate ways, which ended up creating the kind of brand-image that is unique.

When it comes to Netflix’s brand-image, what comes to mind is authenticity and sustainability. The brand image has been built with the human spirit, and not necessarily ad campaigns (Pittman & Sheehan, 2015, p. 1). To the management, what comes to the mind of the consumer in reference to Netflix is that it provides streaming services, and the branded service is largely known for its positioning model. Park et al. (1991, p. 186) pointed out that the brand image is the unique story, which consumers recall when they think of a brand (PowerPoint Presentation Week 5, n.d. Slide. 26).

To the management, therefore, Netflix’s brand-image has points of parity, which are also the same as other brands in the same industry or different industry (Pittman & Sheehan, 2015, p. 1). These points of parity include innovation (also associated with the car brand – Tesla), reliability – also the case with Honda, and convenience (similar to Amazon). On the other hand, the points of difference for Netflix include the streaming TV shows, original content, and movies.

Brand Congruency

Brand congruency is made up of product brands and user-image. Brand congruency refers to a scenario where all the elements and touch points of the brand, in this case, Netflix, appears to have been cut from the same cloth. According to Stach (2015, p. 675), the brand congruence between the self-image of the consumers and the attempt of the brand image to explore consumer choices, for example, purchase intentions, preference of the brand, and usage and loyalty.

The degree of congruency between the brand image and typical user’s image is based on the brand evaluation, which relates to promotion message. In this case, Dolich (1969, p.5) pointed out that reminding consumers of their self-images, under the promotion message, there are positive considerations of brand congruencies given by the same consumers.

Accordingly, the degree of congruency between your self-image and the typical brand-user image is based on how the consumer uses the brand as a symbol; in this case, consumers consider brands with images or personalities, which are congruent with their self-image or brand personality (Stach, 2015, p. 674). In summary, the brand-image congruency involves self-schema, and it comprises of brand personality that is measured in terms of brand attitudes.

Brand Attitudes and Consumer Behavior

The brand attitude of the customer comprises of two main components – the strength of positive or negative relation/association, which the experiences of the customer towards a specific brand as well as the conviction of the accuracy of the brand (Gonzalez-Jimenez, 2017, p. 69). In this case, there are various brand attitudes towards the branded service – Netflix. For instance, Netflix consumer behavior has succeeded in creating a positive attitude towards its brand.

Here, the branded service has created the belief that it can either succeed or fail based on its ability to maintain and drive subscriptions (Malcolm-Boulton, 2016, par. 7). When it comes to emotions, Netflix comes with a feeling from the consumer that exhibit dynamism, excitement, and modern enthusiasm of subscriptions other than cable services.

Accordingly, Netflix services also trigger nostalgia as the branded service has managed to revive nostalgic shows such as the Gilmore Girls that is no longer available in cable services (Gonzalez-Jimenez, 2017, p. 68). Therefore, the brand attitudes directed to Netflix comes with excitement, curiosity, nostalgia, and a sense of control of specific shows to subscribe.

The Social-Cultural Influences

Netflix did not focus more on the sociocultural influences their services would have on individuals. In this case, Netflix’s social influences have led to the reduction of jobs; for example, Roettgers (2015, p. 1) observed that Netflix beat competitors operating retail outlets by embracing streaming services. There is the issue of identification influence where consumers have been influenced by Netflix because of its modernity, convenience, unique services, and the confidence it projects to the public (Wang, 2014, par. 16).

Identification influence, in the case of Netflix, is based on what Pittman & Sheehan (2015, p. 1) termed as “binge-watching.” “Binge-watching” is a representation of a radical shift from the 21st-century media consumption. This kind of influence comes with the unique services of the branded service, which means it can also be associated with Netflix’s normative influence.

As a result, because of the continued evolution of various manners of accessing the content of the program and the soaring dependency on various Internet devices, it is evident that Netflix’s normative influence has since been felt, and is evident in the “New Golden Age.” Additionally, Netflix consumer behavior has had a massive impact on the television viewership culture, which can be identified as a normative influence – social influence resulting in conformity (Merikivi et al., 2018, p. 113).

The branded service’s revolutionary recommendation system has also influenced how consumers conform to the norm and, in turn, has seen consumers shift to the company’s streaming services (Sheinin, 1998, p. 138). These influences have, in turn, result in various ethical considerations related to job opportunities and increased levels of unemployment that the branded service had to consider.

Rituals and Artefacts

There are rituals associated with the branded service – Netflix. One of the rituals is getting the Netflix subscription. There are steps to be followed in this ritual. First, it is important to identify the right devices that are compatible or support Netflix. These devices range from Apple TV, PS3, PS4, Android, Kindle, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows, among others. This is followed up by clicking the button – Start Your Free Month, followed up by creating the account which often requires a viable email address.

Once the password is created, it is important to choose your plan identified as Regular, Standard, and Premium plans (Roettgers, 2015, p. 1). These plans vary in quality and are followed up by entering your billing information and, thus, requires a credit card and billing information. It is also important to rate the sample selection, which involves selecting the film titles. This means using the Netflix DVD website for set-ups of specific orders. Once this ritual is done, you can watch the Netflix streaming services.

Netflix Consumer Behavior Essay
Fig 1: Part of the Netflix’s subscription stages/rituals

There are artefacts associated with the branded service. First, there is compression artefact, making up the error code, involves an adverse effect of image degradation where the complexity of the image exceeds the necessary rate of recording. This artefact is associated with the branded service and is known for impacting the asset’s technical quality. In this case, Netflix, Inc. (2018, p. 1) noted that the customer experience is impacted negatively by the degraded image.

As a result, further downstream compression can massively exacerbate artefacts, which are found in the source. Accordingly, there are the artefacts under severity structure, and one of them is the News-Review – a minor blocking or artefact found at the sub-block or back region (Netflix, Inc., 2018, p. 1). Secondly, there is the Needs Fix, which is a macro-blocking or minor artefact, and normally appears as visible parts of the image. Therefore, these artefacts have negatively impacted the customer’s experience and perception of Netflix and are one of the issues the branded service is aware of.


Of focus in this study has been the branded service – Netflix, and is based on co-creating value. In this case, the study has determined the brand image of the streaming services company to be established by the human spirit, and not an ad campaign.

There is also the issue of brand congruency and has been on the basis of the distinct differences between the consumers’ self-image and image of the brand attempt to determine consumer choices namely purchase intentions, brand preference, and usage and loyalty. Accordingly, there are issues of brand attitudes, the socio-cultural differences such as normative influences, as well as the artefacts and rituals. Artefacts include compression artefact, Needs Review, and Needs Fix.


Following the above key elements of value regarding the branded service, Netflix, the manager should co-create value by understanding the various customer attitudes towards the brand. In turn, the manager should work towards modelling the values of the branded services to suit the customer preference and expectations. Secondly, the manager can co-create value by putting in place a team that can reduce the number of artefacts to improve the customers’ perception (Merikivi et al., 2018, p. 114).

Accordingly, the manager can co-create value by establishing a quirky customer service, which will give the branded service an edge; should focus more on being customer-centric, which will allow the company to fix search, browsing, and level of discoverability, and allow DVDs to fix its content gaps (Park & Lee, 2005, p. 44). Lastly, the manager can co-create value by ensuring that it informs its customer beforehand of the upcoming shows and films for better preparation on the side of the customer.


Dolich, I. J. (1969). Congruence Relationships between Self Images and Product Brands. Journal of Marketing Research, 6,1, 80.

Gonzalez-Jimenez, H. (2017). The self-concept life cycle and brand perceptions: An interdisciplinary perspective. Ams Review: Official Publication of the Academy of Marketing Science, 767-84.

Malcolm-Boulton, C. (2016). The good, the bad and the binging: How Netflix has impacted on modern society.

Merikivi, J., Salovaara, A., Mäntymäki, M., & Zhang, L. (2018). On the way to understanding binge watching behavior: the over-estimated role of involvement. Electronic Markets, 28,1, 111-122.

Netflix, Inc. (2018). Compression Artificing.

Park, C.W, Jaworski, B.J. & MacInnis D.J. (1986). Strategic Brand Concept-Image Management. Journal of Marketing, 50, 135-145.

Park, C. W., Milberg, S. & Lawson, R. (1991). Evaluation of Brand Extensions: The Role of Product Feature Similarity and Brand Concept Consistency. Journal of Consumer Research, 18, 185-193.

Park, S. & Lee, E. M. (2005). Congruence between Brand Personality and Self-Image, and the Mediating Roles of Satisfaction and Consumer-Brand Relationship on Brand Loyalty. In AP – Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, eds. Yong-Uon Ha and Youjae Yi, Duluth, MN: Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 39-45.

Pittman, M., & Sheehan, K. (2015). Sprinting a media marathon: Uses and gratifications of binge-watching television through Netflix consumer behaviorFirst Monday, 2010.

Sheinin, D.A (1998). Positioning Brand Extensions: Implications for Beliefs and Attitudes. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 7(2), 137-149.

Stach, J. (2015). A conceptual framework for the assessment of brand congruent sensory modalities. Journal of Brand Management, 228, 673-694.

Wang, U. (2014). How the Netflix model impacts the environment, economy and society.

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Classical Conditioning on Consumer Behaviour

The Effect of Classical Conditioning on Consumer Behaviour

Classical conditioning is a source of learning that influences an individual’s behaviour psychologically, habitually and perceptually. The concept of classical conditioning is discovered by Ivan Pavlon and is defined as a learning process that is created by crafting a connection between a neutral stimulus and an environmental or physical stimulus. However, it emphasises on placing neutral stimuli before the naturally occurring reflex.

The very well-known example of classical conditioning is of a dog, where the dog was exposed to a sound as neutral stimuli which triggered salivation as the reflex in anticipation of food (Cherry, 2017). Nevertheless, a study by Pornpitakpan (2012) states that there is no significant evidence that classical conditioning have any effect on consumer behaviour and its use in the advertisement is a waste. Therefore, this report will analyse the impact of Classical Conditioning on Consumer behaviour through Coca Cola’s advertisement in United Kingdom.

Classical Conditioning at Coca Cola

Coca Cola is among the top selling and manufacturing soft drink Companies in the world, it was established by John Pemberton in the 19th century. Perhaps it is run by Asa Griggs Candler, an extraordinary marketer who has got Coca Cola to this dominating position. Coca Cola is a Global brand but this report talks about its Coca-Cola Great Britain (CCGB) division, which manages 20 different brands and 80 or so drinks. Its brands in the United Kingdom include a variety of still and sparkling drinks, four colas, herbal teas, sports drinks, waters, juices and also no calories, caffeine and sugar drinks in the range of flavours (Coca-cola, 2017). Nonetheless, the advertisement of Coca Cola is a great choice to demonstrate the impact classical conditioning on consumer buying behaviour.

Coca Cola’s Advertisement History

Coca Cola has a unique way of marketing its drinks ever since it’s first on-screen advertisement in 1950, where it associated its brand to festive occasions from red trucks in Christmas holidays to hilltop singers by creating an association. Similarly, in another advertisement in the 1950s featuring Julie Reaby and Alf Davies (the winners of British Ballroom Dancing Open Championship of 1956) with the slogan “Coca‑Cola puts you at your sparkling best!”. Coca Cola has been seen to create its brand image as the source of happiness.

Like most of the well-known brands in the 1960s, Coca Cola featured celebrities in its advertisement to air in the UK because it tends to influence consumer’s buying behaviour. Then there were also some ads where it introduced cartoons to show how characters call truce using a bottle of Coca Cola. Furthermore, it uses appealing jingles like “Only Coke will do when you’re thirstiest”, “Coca‑Cola refreshes you best!”. Likewise, Coca Cola has evolved tremendously by associating coke with appealing notions and trends like it introduced can opener named Churchkey in the mid-1970s with the demonstration of how to open cans. The Coca Cola ads at times introduce its campaigns, to help a cause or demonstrate a new idea but with the aim to attract more and more consumers (Coca Cola, 2017).

Use of Classical Conditioning in Coca Cola’s Advertisement

Understanding the consumer behaviour is a crucial aspect of today’s market, especially for effective marketing and branding of the products. In fact, when a new product is launched the consumer behaviour changes and its psychological understanding becomes important because it requires new association. Under classical conditioning, many brand use liked or disliked music in their advertisement to affect consumer’s product preference (Gorn, 1982). However, Coca Cola uses classical conditioning in its advertisements very effectively for creating an association of its products with a likeable factor.

As thirst is an unconditioned response of the consumers in a hot season and it is triggered by many physical and environmental factors like sports, heat, dehydration, workout etc. which are used by Coca Cola as unconditioned stimuli in its marketing and branding functions very strategically. Moreover, the keywords of these unconditioned stimuli are used in slogans to appeal consumers and influence their purchase decision such as “Thirst Knows No Season”, The Pause That Refreshes”, Open Happiness etc. (Ryan, 2017).

Nonetheless, Coca Cola products are used as conditioned stimulus by placing along with the unconditioned stimuli in every advertisement. As a result, Coca Cola drinks become a signal of unconditioned stimulus like heat and dehydration for the consumers and they feel thirsty by seeing the ad without actually experiencing the environmental factors. This impact of classical conditioning compels consumers to buy Coca Cola by making them feel thirsty when they actually may or may not be thirsty. In addition to that, Coca Cola also uses festivals to create its pairing with the festive period and influence people to buy coke (Oakley, 2013).

Impact of Advertisement Characteristics on Consumer Behaviour and Pepsi (Rival Brand)

There are numerous characteristics of Advertisement including the use of media, tools, communications means etc. which basically make the brand image. As the brand image is the core driver of the brand equity and it influences consumer perception and choice regarding a product by driving the consumer behaviour. Regardless of the marketing strategies of the companies, the main objective of every organisation is to effect consumer’s perception and buying behaviour towards the brand. Coca Cola establishes its brand image of happiness and refresher in consumer’s mind and stimulates their purchasing decision of the brand (Zhang, 2015).

The first ever print advertisement published by Coca Cola in 1886 had slogan “Delicious and Refreshing” and was marketed on every merchandise including trays, clocks etc. until 1920 to create its brand image as a very refreshing beverage. Which positively influenced consumer behaviour and increased its market share, as a result many similar slogans were used in ads like “Coca Cola is a Delicious Beverage, Delightfully in Harmony with the Spirit of All Outings”, “Coca Cola Revives and Sustains” and “The Great National Temperance Drink” using classical conditioning to create a distinct brand image in consumer mind (Ryan, 2017).

For example, a very well-known and highly anticipated Christmas ad by Coca cola that was aired in 2013 used the traditional factors or view of advertisement to compel consumers to buy that product. In the human mind, events like Christmas are the unconditioned stimulus that tends to bring a positive vibe or sense of happiness, excitement and togetherness as an unconditioned response.

Before the implementation of the classical conditioning, the neutral stimulus or Coca Cola drinks do not trigger any emotion in consumers because of no brand association. Nevertheless, when the same neutral stimulus (Coca cola) is advertised with the unconditioned stimulus (Christmas) in an advertisement, it generates positive feelings among consumers, the emotions of excitement and family re-emergence when they see Coca Cola. These emotions then become the conditioned response of consumers due to the association of Coca Cola with Christmas. Perhaps, the effectiveness of the advertisement cannot be directly measured but the recorded sales of Coca Cola during the Christmas season exceeded to £185m, which shows its very positive impact on consumer buying behaviour (Oakley, 2013).

Furthermore, Oakley (2013) shows the impact of Coca Cola’s same advertisement on Pepsi by highlighting the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) tool used by Coca Cola in the ad. The tool is discovered by Elmo Lewis and proposes a view of effective advertisement which affects Pepsi’s sales. The tool first grasps consumer attention by awareness, then interests or appeals them to learn about it and consequently convinces them to desire the product. Eventually, it influences their purchasing decision making or consumer buying behaviour and they take action to buy Coca cola. Which perhaps decrease Pepsi’s sales than Coca Cola.

The rivalry between Coca Cola and Pepsi is quite interesting as both have somewhat similar in chemical composition but their advertisement creates preference among their consumers. However, Coca Cola is known as the most popular beverage with 18.6% global market share, whereas Pepsi has 11.9%.

The advertisements of Coca Cola like its 2013 Halloween ad maybe a cheap advertisement tactic (shown in the figure below) as a competition but it is an example of classical conditioning that created the brand association. The advertisement may have worked in favour of Coca Cola but badly affected Pepsi (Oakley, 2013). Not just that the other advertisement characteristics of Coca Cola like media and communication tools also badly affect Pepsi as they both have the same target audience.

Classical Conditioning Consumer Behaviour Dissertation
Classical Conditioning Consumer Behaviour Dissertation


After the above thorough analysis of Classical Conditioning and its effect on consumer behaviour in advertisement using Coca Cola’s Great Britain advertisement, it is proved to be quite evident. There are many brands like Coca Cola who use the unconditioned stimulus along with neutral stimulus to create conditioned response by associating the brand or product with an emotion. 

The effect is proven significant using various Coca Cola’s advertisement examples, from its first ever print ad to on-screen advertisements that create its association with freshness, happiness, togetherness etc. and Influence its consumer’s buying behaviour and increases its sales. The example of its Christmas ad is used to show the effect of classical conditioning on Coke’s consumers and their purchase decision which show an immense increase in sales during Christmas period.

Furthermore, the effect of advertisement characteristics on its rival brands is also significant. Which is proved using its 2013 Halloween advertisement that created the brand association (using classical conditioning) and through AIDA communication tool, which anticipates and influenced most of the cola consumer market at the time.

The effect of classical conditioning on consumer behaviour is noticed because of the association that this theory help creates, condition human brain to respond similarly to the unconditioned response (heat, dehydration or thirst) at the sight of a neutral stimulus (Coca Cola). A study by Till, Stanley and Priluck (2008) states that the celebrity enforcement used to condition consumer behaviour is very effective. For example, when a celebrity endorses a brand, his followers are likely to buy that brand to create a sense of belongingness.

Classical Conditioning Recommendations

According to the above analysis Coca Cola uses Classical Conditioning to influence its consumer behaviour, perhaps there are numerous other ways of influencing consumer behaviour. Few of them are as follows:

As nowadays consumers are flooded with the information than the last decade which gave them the power to switch brand due to excessive sugar or any other property of the product. Moreover, there are the variety of substitute brands using same classical conditioning factors.

In fact, Conlon (2021) states that four out of five customers don’t come back if they do not like a single thing about the product. Therefore, it is recommended to onboard technologies and personally engage with the consumers to influence their buying behaviour and offering the personalised experience. There are latest technologies like social intelligence and customer analytics that would assist in delivering the premium experience.

As technology has empowered the brands, it has also empowered consumers to disengage and unsubscribe, which means that Coca Cola cannot merely rely on its festive and refreshing drinks advertisement. Some consumers demand ‘boosting drinks’ or the healthy drinks that do not increase their sugar intake and obesity level. Thus, it is recommended to create smaller consumer segments to cater all consumer preferences and influence them by targeting their insecurities like weight, health consciousness, energy etc.

Furthermore, Redsicker (2014) say that today’s consumers are super connected, thus understanding individual groups that tend to influence each other’s buying behaviour must be studied to anticipate their purchasing decision. By learning about their cultural aspects or latest trends or celebrity hype, is likely to alter consumer behaviour.

Another recommendation is to use the ‘on rader’ issues or social causes instead of festivals because these factors resonate more than anything. The issues like recycling, animal welfare, personal energy source etc. tend to attract young people to use those brands that support human welfare. It is also likely to create loyal customers by accessing more and more consumer insight to influence them and anticipate their demand or decision making (Lee, 2011).


Cherry, K. (2017). How Classical Conditioning Works: An Overview With Examples. [online] Verywell.

Coca Cola. (2021). Coca‑Cola adverts from our archives.

Coca Cola. (2021). Coca-Cola GB.

Conlon, G. (2021). What Change in Customer Behavior Will Impact Marketing Most in 2020?

Gorn, G.J., 1982. The effects of music in advertising on choice behavior: A classical conditioning approach. The Journal of Marketing, pp.94-101.

Lee, S. (2011). Influencing Consumer Behaviour Sustainability.

Oakley, T. (2013). Why do Coca-Cola advertise?

Pornpitakpan, C., 2012. A critical review of classical conditioning effects on consumer behaviour. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 20(4), pp.282-296.

Redsicker, P. (2014). 5 Ways You Can Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions: New Research : Social Media Examiner.

Ryan, T. (2017). Coca-Cola Slogans History.

Till, B.D., Stanley, S.M. and Priluck, R., 2008. Classical conditioning and celebrity endorsers: An examination of belongingness and resistance to extinction. Psychology & Marketing, 25(2), pp.179-196.

Zhang, Y., 2015. The Impact of Brand Image on Consumer Behaviour: A Literature Review. Open journal of business and management, 3(01), p.58.

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