Social media & sports: an evaluation of the influence of Twitter and mobile apps on brand-related consequences
The goal of the sports brand is to create meaningful associations with fans that connect with their core values. A strong sports brand allows the consumer to incorporate the team into their day-to-day activities (Couvelaere & Richelieu, 2005, p. 25). Arvidsson (2006) suggests that consumers create brand value through their shared experiences with the brand and through an emotional connection to the brand through social identification. A strong relationship between the sport team and its fans leads the fan to engage in behaviors that support the team (Fisher & Wakefield, 1998). Social media and mobile apps are changing the way marketers approach their branding strategies (Simmons, 2007). Professional sport brands are developing online branding strategies to convert casual fans to highly identified fans (Ioakamidis, 2010). Online social networks specifically for sport allow for increased levels of fan engagement and fan loyalty, which is necessary to meet relationship-marketing goals. The present study provides an empirical analysis of the SIBE model. The SIBE model is a largely a conceptual work, with only one study testing the model (Boyle & Magnusson, 2007); this study explores the relationships between each individual component as well as testing a comprehensive model. Additionally, this project incorporates the use of social media into the model to further understanding of its use in increasing sport team brand equity. Social media allows sports fans the opportunity to engage with other fans and the team, publicly display their identification with the team, and feel connected to the team despite separation from the team geographically. Finally, this study assesses the influence of brand relationships and brand experience on customer-based brand equity. The role of brand relationships and experience on customer-based brand equity will be evaluated through consumer interaction with social media. The microblogging site Twitter and mobile apps are studied to determine if user involvement with social media influences brand relationships and brand experience.