برندسازی ورزشکاران: اکتشاف و مفهوم سازی تصویر ذهنی از برند ورزشکار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|20174||2013||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Sport Management Review, Available online 13 June 2013
In this study, the current issues of athlete brand management are discussed and the construct of athlete brand image is conceptualized. A conceptual model of athlete brand image (MABI) is developed incorporating three key dimensions: athletic performance, attractive appearance, and marketable lifestyle. These dimensions are defined by an athlete's on-field characteristics, attractive external appearance, and off-field marketable attributes. This study contributes to the sport branding literature by providing the first comprehensive conceptual framework of athlete brand image and offering managerial implications for building and managing the brand image of individual athletes.
Recently, many athletes have been expanding their influence beyond their sport by getting involved in a variety of social activities and businesses. In light of modern media culture, those athletes are considered “a social sign, carrying cultural meanings and ideological values, which express the intimacies of individual personality, inviting desire and identification; an emblem of national celebrity, founded on the body, fashion and personal style” (Gledhill, 1991, p. xiii). The concept of ‘athlete brand’ has emerged from their multi-functional and multi-platform nature. Athletes are considered not only as vehicles for advertisements or product endorsement, but also as cultural products that can be sold as “brands” (Gilchrist, 2005). In fact, there are numerous sport agencies currently in existence that provide a vast range of client level services. In this highly competitive industry, managing brands for athletes is becoming an essential task for agents (IBIS World Industry reports, 2008). For example, IMG, the world's largest sport agency announced their mission statement as “Today, we help hundreds of elite athletes, coaches, industry executives and prestigious sports organizations maximize their earnings potential and build strong personal brands” (IMG, n.d.). The brand management for athletes has grown in importance because the concept of branding is well suited for athletes as products. Previous branding studies have documented positive consequences of successful branding such as: influencing the probability of brand choice, willingness to pay premium price, marketing communication effectiveness, and promotion of positive word of mouth (Aaker, 1996, Berry, 2000, Keller, 1993 and Rein et al., 2006a). These benefits are also highly applicable to individual athletes, with well-branded athletes attaining price premiums on their salary, transfer fees, contract monies, and the ability to maintain fan support even when their performance has declined (Gladden & Funk, 2001). Well-branded athletes who carry symbolic messages can attract companies seeking effective endorsers. Furthermore, the established brand value of the athlete will help his/her post-athletic career because well-branded athletes can leverage their brand value through their post-athletic career (Rein et al., 2006a). Rein et al. (2006a) pointed out the advantage of viewing athletes as a brand, stating “because there are a growing number of distribution opportunities available, the athlete has the potential to enter into a variety of sectors and use his or her sports career as a platform for other endeavors.” Additionally, athletes are considered to be unstable products in the sport industry because of the potential risks for unexpected injuries or performance slumps. Considering those risks, athletes are truly in need of strong branding strategies. Even though winning is one of the major factors in the sports brand mix, win-loss cycles are an inevitable condition for athlete brands. Sports marketers should seek other branding strategies (e.g., establishing of a strong brand identity) to overcome losing records and sustain loyalty (Rein et al., 2006b and Richelieu and Pons, 2006). Acknowledging the unique nature of the sports products including those of athletes, Rein et al. (2006b) emphasized that “sports products can only survive with new brand thinking” (p.30). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the construct of athlete brand image and propose a conceptual model of athlete brand image (MABI). This study identifies specific dimensions of athlete brand image through an extensive literature review. The MABI provides a theoretical understanding of athlete brand image and offers a structural framework for managers and agents in the development and management of athlete brands.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Although this study is ripe for future research, the proposed model (MABI) will have significant application once it has been empirically examined. As Mullin, Hardy, and Sutton (2007) stated, “Sport product is a complex package of the tangible and the intangible” (p. 148). Commercial value of individual athletes can also be ambiguous as it depends on spectators’ subjective perceptions, not only visible statistics. There are numerous players who are very popular and have high commodity value despite their level of performance, and in some cases the opposite is true. Given fluctuations in performance, some high profile athletes may have a poor performing season (e.g., NFL's Brett Favre in 2010), while other low-profile athletes may have a breakout season (e.g., NFL's Adrian Peterson in 2007). The question of what makes this difference is critical, and the idea of branding offers an effective guidance in answering this question. Over 50 years ago, Levitt (1969) acknowledged the importance of branding in product marketing. Levitt (1969) emphasized the importance of “a new kind of competition” that is “not competition between what companies produce in their factories, but between what they add to their factory output in the form of packaging, services, advertising, customer advice, financing, delivery arrangements, warehousing, and other things that people value.” (p. 2). Combined with the modern media culture, the same can be said for athlete brands. It is not only what athletes produce in terms of winning or losing, but how they package this winning or losing as a complete brand. Strategic branding based on marketing theory is now truly needed for athletes, and the conceptual model developed in this study will help to provide an understanding of what factors make strong athlete brands, and help sport marketers to further understand strategies in branding athletes.