Branding in athletics: Whether an athlete’s perception of a brand affects their choices of the products they purchase?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The study investigated the influence of branding on athletes competing in the sport of track and field athletics. It also sought to find out if general business marketing literature could be applied to the consumer sport marketing sector such as Christodoulides and Chernatony (2010). It identified three key themes from both the sport marketing and business marketing literature that could act as possible reasons for why branding had an influence in the sport, Brand Equity, Subcultures and Tribal affiliation, and Personal identity. The study adopted a qualitative methodology and constructed an interview schedule around these three Macro themes to interview a purposive sample of 8 university athletes competing in the sport of athletics. It then identified significant micro themes to see if the responses supplied by the athletes concurred with the themes identified in the literature, and totalled how many times these micro themes (Value, Brand affinity/prioritisation, Group influence/stereotyping) were referenced in accordance with the macro themes (Brand Equity, Subcultures and tribal affiliation, identity) to find which theme was dominant. The study concluded the macro themes of Brand equity and Subcultures and tribal affiliation both had a strong influence over the athletes’ decisions when purchasing a product, though with the theme of brand equity being dominant over the theme subcultures and tribal affiliation. It recommended further study should take place in this discipline as the study was limited due to the small sample and being focused on one specific sport. It also recommended that further study be applied to a range of sports to understand the true influence of a brand in the consumer sport sector of the market and how it differs from the commercial sport sector
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