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Fan loyalty is the loyalty felt and expressed by a fan towards the object of his/her fanaticism. Fan Loyalty is often used in the context of sports and the support of a specific team or institution. Fan loyalties can range from a passive support to radical allegiance and expressions of loyalty can take shape in many forms and be displayed across varying platforms. Fan loyalty can be threatened by team actions. The loyalties of sports fans in particular have been studied by psychologists, who have determined several factors that help to create such loyalties.
Given the extensive costs involved in managing and operating a professional team sport, it is beneficial for sports marketers to be conscious of the elements that establish a strong brand and the effect they have on fan loyalty, so they can best cater to their current fans while acquiring new ones. This is because fans and spectators are considered key stakeholders of professional sports organisations.Fans directly and indirectly influence the production of operating revenue through purchasing merchandise, buying game tickets and improving the value that can be obtained from television broadcasting deals and sponsorship. Therefore, fans are a key factor to consider in determining the economic success of a sports club.
Deep psychological connections with new teams can be built with individuals before a team has even played a match revealing insights can develop quickly in the mind of consumers without direct encounters or experiences e.g. watching a team compete. Brand management approaches are helping sport organisations to expand the sport experience, appeal to new fans and enable long term business to consumer relationships through multi faceted connection such as social media. To affect consumers’ loyalty with a team, they must develop a compelling, positive and distinctive brand in order to stand out amongst competitor and vie for fan support.
Loyalty programmes positively shape fan attachment and behaviour as it connects teams and their fans, aside from a club's season ticketholder database. It not only provides marketers with essential information about consumers and their thinking, but also acts as a channel to promote attendance and an opportunity to add value to their game day experience.
Bauer et al. concludes that non product related attributes such as contextual factors (other fans, the club history and tradition, logo, club colours and the stadium atmosphere) hold a higher place in fan experience than product related attributes such as the team's winning record. Therefore, to increase fan loyalty (customer retention) Bauer et al. suggests sports marketers focus on targeting non product related benefits and brand attributes.As a result of fostering this loyalty, sports organisations can afford to charge prices at premium. Fan loyalty also leads to dependable ratings in broadcast media which means broadcasters can also charge premiums for advertising time in team broadcasts with loyal followings. A flow on effect from fan loyalty is the ability to create additional revenue streams outside of the core product such as merchandise shops and food venues that are close to the location of the game if the team chooses to own and operate ventures or share licensing agreements.
Fan loyalty, particularly with respect to team sports, is different from brand loyalty, in as much as if a consumer bought a product that was of lower quality than expected, he or she will usually abandon allegiance to the brand. However, fan loyalty continues even if the team that the fan supports continues to perform poorly year after year. Author Mark Conrad uses the Chicago Cubs as an example of a team with a loyal fan following, where fans spend their money in support of a poorly performing team that (until 2016) had not won a pennant since 1945 or a World Series since 1908.
Several psychologists have studied fan loyalty, and what causes a person to be a loyal fan, that sticks with a team through adversity (win or lose), rather than a bandwagon fan or fairweather fan, that switches support to whatever teams happen to be successful at the time. These include Dan Wann, a psychologist at Murray State University, psychologist Robert Passikoff.
They attribute it to the following factors:
Fan loyalty attachment is strengthened through communal ties that connect fans around a team, forming a community that results in regular fan interaction. This interaction is particularly important as fans may not develop solely an intra-psychic team identity but predominantly display behavioural loyalty through the group consumption of indirect sport experiences instead, such as wearing the team colours, singing, cheering, flags and interaction between the sport's team's fans (e.g. laughing, talking) Through indirect sport experiences, the stadium atmosphere can be heightened and as a result, the frequency of fan attendance can increase.
Furthermore, by wearing team apparel, fans can visually identify with one another resulting an increased likelihood of opportunities to engage with others socially through this point of connection.For example, a study on NASCAR fans found that their personal identity was connected to the brand itself as they felt connected to the larger community of NASCAR revealing an emotional connection to the brand. This indicates that their fan loyalty will result in the notion that fans are naturally more resistant to the promotional efforts of competing brands (e.g. lower-price offers) as their emotional commitment to NASCAR is greatly embedded in their sense of identity. When they associate themselves with the sponsors because of the sponsor's relation to the brand, they are solidifying their relationship with NASCAR and are therefore reinforcing their identity. Consequently, their fan loyalty translates into brand loyalty so long as the sponsor remains attached to the subject of their fanaticism, NASCAR, meaning they are less price sensitive and more willing to pay premium prices for sponsor's products or services. Another aspect of consumer behaviour regarding fan loyalty is the existence of consumption communities where members feel a sense of unity when they participate in the group consumption of brand sponsors’ goods and services further strengthening their ties to a brand and its sponsors. However, a strategy sports marketers use to appeal to a wider range of fan identities is to sponsor more than one club in sports such as soccer. This is so they are careful not to come across as a singularly affiliated club brand, where the opinion or perceptions of opposing teams’ fans would be one of disfavour towards them.
Any benefit or characteristic connected to a brand as perceived by a consumer is called a brand association. These hold significance over the thoughts and opinions a consumer holds about a brand and can therefore influence one's loyalty. These associations provide a reference point to gauge the salience of a brand which is the perceived favourability associated with it. Brand salience is vital because it ultimately effects the likelihood of brand selection and loyalty leading to steadier spectator numbers, and an increase in attention from the media such as advertisers and sponsors.
However, loyalty is a developmental process. According to Bee & Havitz (2010),spectators who are highly involved in the participation of a sport and exhibit psychological commitment, possess the capability to display high levels of behavioural loyalty as they develop into committed fans. On the other hand, neutral or negative feelings towards a team are found to foster indifference or cause an individual to disidentify with a team altogether. A model of ‘escalating commitment’, put forward by Funk and James (2001), demonstrates an individual's movement from ‘awareness’ of team to a subsequent ‘allegiance’ but came to the conclusion that more research was required to find out the key influences that lead one to the highest state of commitment. However, brand association development is fostered under brand management within a sports organisation. It is important for sports management research to identify their brand associations in order to influence management and marketing actions as they reflect the meaning and value extracted from the team as well as the integral characteristics of a team.
Five personality traits are used as a brand personality identification method for sports teams. These include competitiveness, morality, credibility, prestige and authenticity. The team's aptitude to defeat competitors and attain goals is a measure of its competitiveness relating to descriptions such as triumphant, winning, dynamic, proud, successful and ambitious. Morality indicates fans’ thoughts and opinions about a team's code of conduct relating to their quality of character like being principled, ethical and cultivated. The degree to which a team resonates with self-assurance and confidence captures their credibility consisting of traits such as being influential and/or wealthy. The overall credit for a team's achievements and its superiority in relation to other teams relates to a team's prestige characterised by descriptions such as glorious, strong, honourable and great. Authenticity encapsulates the uniqueness of a team with descriptions corresponding to being uncompromising, radical or traditional.When teams are perceived as having human traits, the emotional connection between sports team and their sports fan is strengthened due to the ability to link their self-identity, with the team's identity, showing congruence with the brand's personality. Aspects that enable fan identification with a sports team are considered to be predictors of their consumption behaviour such as the continuation of support and participation in the team's activities even after long losing streaks.
Team success is not necessarily linked to fan loyalty when it comes to highly committed fans. Therefore, loyal fans supply a steady flow of revenue irrespective of team performance. Nevertheless, providing exclusive access to players, other team members and executives as well as coaches can be a successful means to offer value to a highly committed fan.Aspects relating to a club's brand image that motivate fan loyalty include peer group acceptance (e.g. through consumption communities), escapeism, identification, nostalgia, emotion, socialisation/companionship and entertainment. Across these aspects, messages communicated from the brand to the fan must be understandable, straightforward and consistent. By strengthening these features of psychological commitment towards a team, it provides a stable foundation for brands to ultimately increase their fans’ behavioural loyalty. The ability to stipulate nostalgic memories is foretelling of fan loyalty towards a sports team. Nostalgic memories provide highly committed fans with an escape from day-to-day life and are most likely induce positive feelings, enhancing their experience with the brand whether it be on game day or through brand communication channels such as a television commercial.
Motivating factors that may also lead fans to support a team may be due to proximity of the team or the fan base. Closer proximity allows for a greater likelihood of personal connection because of mere familiarity. Additional motivating factors that may increase fan loyalty may be the demeanor or reputation of the team. Teams that exemplify the highest virtues of the game may have a more motivational pull,due to the alignment of values.
In the past, consumers have been ‘passive’ receivers of relational marketing endeavours by brands. Today, social networking sites make it possible for companies to interact with their customers and for consumers to become “co-creators and multipliers of brand messages”
of the design of their page with aspects that enable consultation, location, the ability to search and access to content. By doing this brands can increase the trust of their consumers as better navigation experiences allow for the opportunity of a positive touch point experience, thus improving fan loyalty. This results in an increase of consumers’ willingness to visit and use the page. As well as fan page design, content needs to be of interest to the user. This means brands need to regularly update relevant, well organised content that is clear for consumers to identify, locate and access the content promptly.
Emotional connection is central to fan loyalty and therefore is important for brands to promote it on their social media by reinforcing user trust in their site page. By communicating to the consumer about how much the brand is considering them, it increases consumer trust as they feels cared for by the brand.A brand's fan page must also align with their out workings such as delivering items in the time guaranteed on their social media pages to ensure a message of honesty, competence and trustworthiness is communicated to the consumer. To ensure customers consider an encounter with the page valuable and worthwhile, brands need to improve the usefulness of their page by offering exclusive offers only available through a given touchpoint e.g. a 20% off selected merchandise voucher only offered to those who have subscribed to the mailing list. Exclusivity encourages fan loyalty as it fosters the emotional connection of the fan feeling like a part of the team or brand's inner circle.
Fan pages also allow for customer-to-customer connections where they can interact and share a brand's page content, such as ‘sharing’ the brand's post on Facebook, as well as sharing user-generated content. Other consumers can then use the ‘reaction’ button and comment thread on Facebook to communicate their response allowing for brand managers to gauge their fans’ feeling and opinions, strengthening the brand-customer relationship.
A Fan Loyalty Index was compiled from a survey of Major League Baseball fans in April 1997, and printed in the Forecast newsletter. Fans were asked to rate their hometown teams on each of four scales. The index ranged from the Chicago Cubs at the top, with a loyalty index of 132, to the Chicago White Sox at the bottom with a loyalty index of 73. The index was scaled such that the mean loyalty index was 100, as scored by both the Colorado Rockies and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Passikoff studied the loyalties of U.S. sports fans towards all Major League sports in the summer of 2000, finding that loyalty to Major League Baseball scored the highest, followed by the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League.
Shank observes that fan loyalty in the U.S. is perhaps higher towards sports teams than any other form of consumer loyalty to goods and services. However, loyalty can be threatened. Fan loyalty towards professional-level sports is beginning to erode in the U.S. as a consequence of continual threats to uproot franchises and to move them to other cities.[ citation needed ] Shank considers that this is perhaps the reason behind the increased popularity of amateur athletics. School and college teams do not threaten to move away from the fans in order to obtain a better deal on their sports stadiums. Athletes in school and college athletics are not traded to and from other teams and do not move around in search of better contracts (although they do sometimes leave their schools and colleges early to transfer elsewhere or for professional contracts).
Some professional sports teams have taken measures to combat this erosion. The Nashville Predators employ customer relationship management techniques to collect information about the demographics and psychographics of their fans. Their loyalty program involves a loyalty card that is swiped through a card reader in kiosks at the entrances to team events. The team can gather data on the fans, and the fans are rewarded by collecting points that are redeemable against tickets, merchandise, and concessions. The vice president of ticket sales for the Predators, Scott Loft, is quoted by Shanks as observing that "90 percent of sports teams either don't care or don't bother to find out any information about their fan base", however.
A corporate identity or corporate image is the manner in which a corporation, firm or business enterprise presents itself to the public. The corporate identity is typically visualized by branding and with the use of trademarks,but it can also include things like product design, advertising, public relations etc. Corporate identity is a primary goal of the corporate communications, in order to maintain and build the identity to accord with and facilitate the corporate business objectives.
Corporate branding refers to the practice of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, as opposed to specific products or services. The activities and thinking that go into corporate branding are different from product and service branding because the scope of a corporate brand is typically much broader. Although corporate branding is a distinct activity from product or service branding, these different forms of branding can, and often do, take place side-by-side within a given corporation. The ways in which corporate brands and other brands interact is known as the corporate brand architecture.
In marketing, brand management begins with an analysis on how a brand is currently perceived in the market, proceeds to planning how the brand should be perceived if it is to achieve its objectives and continues with ensuring that the brand is perceived as planned and secures its objectives. Developing a good relationship with target markets is essential for brand management. Tangible elements of brand management include the product itself; its look, price, and packaging, etc. The intangible elements are the experiences that the target markets share with the brand, and also the relationships they have with the brand. A brand manager would oversee all aspects of the consumer's brand association as well as relationships with members of the supply chain.
Consumer behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, and how the consumer's emotions, attitudes and preferences affect buying behaviour. Consumer behaviour emerged in the 1940s and 50s as a distinct sub-discipline of marketing, but has become an inter-disciplinary social science that blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology, anthropology, ethnography, marketing and economics.
Brand loyalty is the positive feelings towards a brand and dedication to purchase the same product or service repeatedly, regardless of deficiencies, a competitor's actions or changes in the environment. It can also be demonstrated with other behaviors such as positive word-of-mouth advocacy. Corporate Brand loyalty is where an individual buys products from the same manufacturer repeatedly and without wavering rather than from other suppliers. Loyalty implies dedication and should not be confused with habit with its less than emotional engagement and commitment. Businesses whose financial and ethical values, for example ESG responsibilities, rest in large part on their brand loyalty are said to use the loyalty business model.
Celebrity branding or celebrity endorsement is a form of advertising campaign or marketing strategy which uses a celebrity's fame or social status to promote a product, brand or service, or to raise awareness about an issue. Marketers use celebrity endorsers in hopes that the positive image of the celebrity endorser will be passed on to the product's or brand's image. Celebrity endorsement i. Non-profit organizations also use celebrities since a celebrity's frequent mass media coverage reaches a wider audience, thus making celebrities an effective ingredient in fundraising.
Engagement marketing, sometimes called "experiential marketing", "event marketing", "on-ground marketing", "live marketing", "participation marketing", "Loyalty Marketing", or "special events" is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand or a brand experience. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in the production and co-creation of marketing programs, developing a relationship with the brand.
Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes internet and online based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services. Its development during the 1990s and 2000s, changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing. As digital platforms became increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, and as people increasingly use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns have become prevalent, employing combinations of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing, e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games have become commonplace. Digital marketing extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as television, mobile phones, callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones. The extension to non-Internet channels differentiates digital marketing from online marketing.
A touchpoint can be defined as any way a consumer can interact with a business, whether it be person-to-person, through a website, an app or any form of communication. When consumers come in contact with these touchpoints it gives them the opportunity to compare their prior perceptions of the business and form an opinion.
Customer engagement is an interaction between an external consumer/customer and an organization through various online or offline channels For example, Hollebeek, Srivastava and Chen's S-D logic-informed definition of customer engagement is "a customer’s motivationally driven, volitional investment of operant resources, and operand resources into brand interactions," which applies to online and offline engagement
Consumer-generated advertising is advertising on consumer generated media. This term is generally used to refer to sponsored content on blogs, wikis, forums, social networking web sites and individual web sites. This sponsored content is also known as sponsored posts, paid posts or sponsored reviews. The content includes links that point to the home page or specific product pages of the website of the sponsor. Examples include Diet Coke and Mentos videos, the I've Got a Crush On Obama video, and Star Wars fan films. Companies that have employed consumer-generated ads include Subaru North America, McDonald's, Rose Parade and Toyota North America.
Brand awareness is the extent to which customers are able to recall or recognize a brand under different conditions. Brand awareness is one of two dimensions from brand knowledge, an associative network memory model. Brand awareness is a key consideration in consumer behavior, advertising management, and brand management. The consumer's ability to recognize or recall a brand is central to purchasing decision-making. Purchasing cannot proceed unless a consumer is first aware of a product category and a brand within that category. Awareness does not necessarily mean that the consumer must be able to recall a specific brand name, but they must be able to recall enough distinguishing features for purchasing to proceed.
Customer experience is a totality of cognitive, affective, sensory, and behavioral consumer responses during all stages of the consumption process including pre-purchase, consumption, and post-purchase stages. Pine and Gilmore described the experience economy as the next level after commodities, goods, and services with memorable events as the final business product. Four realms of experience include esthetic, escapist, entertainment, and educational components.
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for recognition and, importantly, to create and store value as brand equity for the object identified, to the benefit of the brand's customers, its owners and shareholders. Name brands are sometimes distinguished from generic or store brands.
Social currency refers to the actual and potential resources from presence in social networks and communities, including both digital and offline. It is, in essence, an action made by a company or stance of being, to which consumers feel a sense of value when associating with your brand, while the humanization of your brand generates loyalty and "word of mouth" virality for the organization. The concept derives from Pierre Bourdieu's social capital theory and relates to increasing one's sense of community, granting access to information and knowledge, helping to form one's identity, and providing status and recognition.
Affinity marketing is a concept that consists of a partnership between a company (supplier) and an organization that gathers persons sharing the same interests to bring a greater consumer base to their service, product or opinion. This partnership is known as an affinity group.
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Although the terms e-marketing and digital marketing are still dominant in academia, social media marketing is becoming more popular for both practitioners and researchers. Most social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools, enabling companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns. Companies address a range of stakeholders through social media marketing, including current and potential customers, current and potential employees, journalists, bloggers, and the general public. On a strategic level, social media marketing includes the management of a marketing campaign, governance, setting the scope and the establishment of a firm's desired social media "culture" and "tone."
The psychological continuum model (PCM) is a framework to organise prior literature from various academic disciplines to explain sport and event consumer behaviour. The framework suggests four stages—awareness, attraction, attachment and allegiance—to describe how sport and event involvement progressively develops with corresponding behaviours. The PCM uses a vertical framework to characterise various psychological connections that individuals form with objects to explain the role of attitude formation and change that directs behaviours across a variety of consumption activities. Explaining the how and why of sport and event consumer behaviour, it discusses how personal, psychological and environmental factors influence a wide range of sport consumption activities.
Sports marketing is a subdivision of marketing which focuses both on the promotion of sports events and teams as well as the promotion of other products and services through sporting events and sports teams. It is a service in which the element promoted can be a physical product or a brand name. The goal is to provide the client with strategies to promote sports or to promote some other product, service, business or cause through sports. Sports marketing is also designed to meet the needs and wants of the consumers through exchange processes. These strategies follow the traditional four "P"'s of general marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Another four "P"’s are added to sports marketing, relating to the fact sports are considered to be a service. The additional 4 P’s are: Planning, Packaging, Positioning and Perception. The addition of the four extra elements is called the "sports marketing mix."
Marketing activation is the execution of the marketing mix as part of the marketing process. The activation phase typically comes after the planning phase during which managers plan their marketing activities and is followed by a feedback phase in which results are evaluated with marketing analytics.