Academic journal article Sport Marketing Quarterly

Expected Price and User Image for Branded and Co-Branded Sports Apparel

Academic journal article Sport Marketing Quarterly

Expected Price and User Image for Branded and Co-Branded Sports Apparel

Article excerpt

Abstract

The marketing appeal of sport associations extends to sportswear brands, with the result that they are increasingly allied with fashion designer brands. Effects of such alliances are tested experimentally using price and user image as dependent variables. Among males, co-branding with a fashion designer brand generated a higher expected price for shirts bearing the sportswear logo, but adding a sportswear logo did not affect the expected price of shirts bearing a fashion designer logo. Among females, co-branding with a sportswear brand generated a lower expected price for shirts bearing a fashion designer logo, but adding a fashion designer logo did not affect the expected price of shirts bearing a sportswear logo. Both males and females expected the price to be higher when the shirt projected higher engagement or dominance for the wearer. Co-branding can have negative as well as positive effects for partners in a brand alliance.

Expected Price and User Image for Branded and Co-Branded Sports Apparel

The economic impact of sport is due largely to the ways that sport ripples through manufacturing and consumer spending (Meek, 1997; Milano & Chelladurai, 2011). The economic ripples of sport become manifest, in part, through the effect of sport- related brands, such as sportswear brands - for exam- ple, Nike and Adidas. Sportswear brands have long been associated with athletes and teams, which typical- ly display the brands on their apparel. Given the cul- tural salience and popular sport associations thereby imparted, sportswear companies began to widen their net during the 1990s by creating products aimed at an audience that wanted to project a sporty image, even if not an athlete. Given their growing economic clout, sport-related brands became attractive as co-branding partners for non-sport brands.

Co-branding is a brand alliance strategy in which two or more brands are simultaneously presented to consumers in order to strengthen their individual brand images (Geylani, Inman, & Ter Hofstede, 2008). This strategy has been recommended as a tool for dif- ferentiation that leverages brands through the transfer of positive associations among partners in the brand alliance, including brand equity, image, and awareness (McCarthy & Norris, 1999; Simonin & Ruth, 1998; Washburn, Till, & Priluck, 2000). Presumably, this should enhance consumers' perceptions of the value of a product (Simonin & Ruth, 1995), which would therefore render a price premium (Persson, 2010). Although the logic for a pricing effect is clearly articu- lated, no study to date has tested whether the predicted effect occurs.

The significance is elevated by the ways that sport associations are increasingly used in co-branding con- texts to render the predicted effect. For example, sportswear brands (e.g., Nike, Adidas) are increasingly being used by fashion designers to enhance the equity in their brands (Thomas, 2010), while sportswear brands are seeking the same from their association with high-fashion brands (Mitchell, 2005). The case of co-branding between sportswear brands and fashion designer brands is particularly interesting not merely due to the importation of sport-related associations into a fashion context, and vice versa, but also because these two different kinds of brands have traditionally had different or even contradictory brand images, and have even targeted different market segments (cf. Holmes & Tierney, 2002; Lau & Axelrod, 2009).

It is possible, however, that the value of co-branding comes not merely from particular associations that are imported from a brand partner, but also from the sym- bolic impact engendered by co-branding, particularly when two very different kinds of brands are partnered. Consumers do not buy products just for their practical utility, but also for the symbolic meaning that products convey (Elliot, 1997; Levy, 1959), which has particular relevance to what consumers are saying about them- selves by the choices they make. …

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