Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

An Exploration of the Impact and Needs of Brand Identity Campaigns within Divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (Ncaa)

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

An Exploration of the Impact and Needs of Brand Identity Campaigns within Divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (Ncaa)

Article excerpt

Introduction

Researchers have long suggested that in order for organizations to achieve sustainable competitive advantage, organizations should have a product that is clearly distinguishable from their competitors. Scholars suggest this level of differentiation is achieved by having a unique brand (e.g., Kotier & Armstrong, 1996). While brands are generally examined in terms of products of services, there's also an element of the relationship with the consumer (de Chematony & DalTOlmo-Riley, 1998). Philip Morris understands the importance of brands and as such purchased the Kraft brand for $12.9 billion with the idea that consumer marketing belongs to those companies with the strongest brand (Bahadir, Bharadwaj & Srivastava, 2008). Although creating and fostering a brand may be a consuming task, having a strong brand generates higher return on investment (Aaker, 2012). Branding is a key component in today's economy as is asserted by Semans (2004):

Brand death is costly and avoidable. The decision to kill a brand is the decision to throw away a corporate asset, similar to jettisoning real estate or other capital assets. Management can and should manage their brands as the valuable corporate assets they are. If the brand has any remaining equity at all, the cost of brand improvement is far less than the cost of creating a new brand, (p. 32)

Amoult (2008) reinforces this importance by stating, "branding has never been more important ... In our profession, if you don't know where you stand, you don't know what you need to do to improve" (p. 34). It is well documented that effective brand strategies may yield benefits such as enhanced image and product value as well as increased product consumption (Cooper & Pierce, 2011). Seemingly, many organizations realize this, as effective brands have the ability to connect consumers to products (Amoult, 2008), including teams and organizations (Boyle & Magnusson, 2007). As such, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has also invested time and effort in establishing a strong brand strategy for the entire association. In fact, the NCAA lists the need to "protect and enhance a consistent brand image" among its key principles in terms of advertising and promotion (National Collegiate Athletic Association-a [NCAA], 2013, para. 6). For instance, the NCAA produced a very recognizable set of service announcements to reinforce its brand using the familiar tag-line that "there are over 400,000 NCAA student-athletes, and most of us will go pro in something other than sports." (Pickle, 2010, para. 14). Although the NCAA is employing a single branding message for the entire association and complementary messages in Division II and III, there is a dearth of information regarding the effectiveness of these campaigns. Therefore, this study aims to provide insight regarding the brand identity campaigns used at the divisional level of the NCAA. Specifically, the purpose of this study is to explore and better understand the needs and impacts of brand identity campaigns within the different divisions of the NCAA. Such a study is valuable as it will yield practical, literature- based and theoretical applications. This study will allow for further development of brand equity campaigns for the association and for each representative division. It may assist athletic administrators of the NCAA in their quest to create a stronger brand identity; additionally, it may provide conclusions about the current stage of the NCAA interdivisional brands. Also, it will explore brand equity and the factor constructs as defined by Aaker (1996) as well as the associated theories, thereby contributing to both the marketing literature and related theoretical works.

Review of Literature

National Collegiate Athletic Association

NCAA President Mark Emmert recently quoted the mission of the association as being "an integral part of higher education and to focus on the development of our student-athletes" (NCAA, 2013, para. …

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