Who owns the brand? The active role of stakeholders in the strategic brand management of a professional football club: – An identity-based brand gap analysis featuring Brøndby IF

Janosch Simon Thomas Egerer & Nicholas Alexander Dailey

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Sport management research increasingly recognizes the importance and impact of stakeholders on the strategic management of sports organizations. In light of increasing sports commercialization, football clubs are constantly challenged and held accountable by both internal and external stakeholders, who can be vociferous in claiming ownership of the brand and expressing their opinions about the club, its organizational purpose, and performance. Those involved in corporate branding recognize that active interaction with stakeholders is crucial when managing, negotiating, and co-creating a club’s brand identity and image. Combining insights from both brand- and stakeholder management, this Master’s thesis investigates the role of stakeholders in the strategic brand management of a professional football club. Danish Superliga’s Brøndby IF (BIF) is chosen as a single cross-sectional case study. Based on nine in-depth interviews with key representatives within BIF’s stakeholder network, thematic network analysis is conducted to construct and analyze pertinent components of BIF’s brand identity and image. Supplementing the qualitative analysis, findings from factor-analytic personality research are applied to the case of BIF. Based on a quantitative stakeholder survey (N = 51), a brand personality scale for BIF is generated. We interpret the resulting fivefactor solution of BIF’s brand personality as follows: Loyal Family, Fierce Alternativism, Civilized Narcissism, Honorable Obedience, and Honest Work. The study finds that brand management is largely beyond the club’s direct control and outside the club’s sphere of influence. With multiple internal and external stakeholders involved in shaping the club’s brand identity and image, eight strategic brand tensions are identified. Caused by differing stakeholder interests, inter-stakeholder power asymmetries, as well as an imbalance of dependencies, these tensions result in a number of brand consistency gaps, disadvantageous to BIF’s internal brand management function. The study concludes by proposing the TACTIC-Model of Pro-Active Brandholder Engagement, identifying six “red flags” for BIF to consider when actively involving stakeholders in the process of brand management: Tolerance, Alignment, Communication, Transparency, Internalization, as well as Consistency and Continuity. Implications and limitations of the findings are discussed in context of the professional sports club setting.

EducationsMSc in Economics and Business Administration, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages136
SupervisorsSven Junghagen