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The role of perceived brand congruency, team identification and perceived community concern in sports brand alliances
thesisposted on 2017-02-21, 04:53 authored by Beus, Shenae June
Sports teams are attractive alliance partners for brands looking to enhance their sales potential and differentiate themselves in highly competitive markets. Whilst such brand alliances provide many benefits, they may also expose the partnering brands to risk. This is particularly so when the alliance partner is a potentially undesirable brand (e.g., offers products or services that have the potential to harm vulnerable consumers). A conceptual model comprising the Social Dilemma Perspective and Fan Identity Theory was therefore developed to examine if preferences for brand alliances involving compatible alliance partners (CAPs) or potentially undesirable brand (PUBs) varied by sports fans’ team identification and perceived community concern. Specifically, this study examined whether team identification and perceived community concern moderated the mediating effect of perceived brand congruency on the relationship between perceptions of brand alliance partners and sports fans’ evaluations of, and behavioural intentions towards, brand alliance partners. An exploratory qualitative study involving 20 sports fans and 20 executives from Australian sports teams and their brand alliance partners was used to inform the survey content of a quantitative study comprising 404 Australian sports fans. Findings from this survey did not support the integrated model comprising Social Dilemma Perspective and Fan Identity Theory. That is, sports fans with low team identification were more, as opposed to less, likely to support their team’s brand alliance partners relative to those with high team identification. Four drivers of perceived brand congruency were also identified: familiarity with a brand alliance partner, the perceived reputation of a brand alliance partner, the extent to which a brand alliance partner is involved in the activities of the sports team, and brand communication from the brand alliance partner. Also identified were three components of brand congruency, as follows: perceived brand fit, perceived product fit, and perceived cause fit. Perceived community concern, a novel theoretical construct, and team identification were then found to moderate the mediating effect of perceived brand congruency with respect to the relationship between perceptions of brand alliance partners and behavioural intentions towards, and evaluations of, brand alliance partners. Finally, the impact of perceived brand congruency was found to differ as a function of whether the brand alliance featured a PUB or a CAP. From a managerial perspective, these findings highlighted how the brand managers of sports teams and commercial brands can select alliance partners that will maximise the value of potential brand alliances. Additionally, the findings highlighted the need for regulations governing the formation of brand alliances with PUBs or public information campaigns to warn about the impacts of brand alliances with PUBs.