Branding / Marketing / Stadiums

Branding

Texas A&M brand equity

Author Michelle Park, University of San Francisco

Posted: November 1, 2015

As sport continues to expand globally, there is a definite need for sport teams to continuously work on improving their brand equity. A strong brand will lead to brand loyalty where fans will remain committed (Gladden, 2014, p. 11). Texas A&M University continues to build upon their strong brand by renovating Kyle Field in order to grow the A&M brand equity and strengthen the A&M fans’ brand identity.

The most useful perceptual design element is color (Malkewitz & Bee, 2014, p. 94). A&M’s color combination of maroon and steel gray is present throughout Kyle Field. Right away as fans enter the stadium, the school’s primary color, maroon, is framed around by wall tiles (Muret, 2015, p. 1). In addition, the overhead industrial fans are colored maroon and steel gray giving off a new improved look (Muret, 2015, p. 1). Color often signifies a brand (Malkewitz & Bee, 2014, p. 94) and these are examples of how A&M is implementing their distinctive color combination throughout the stadium. By displaying A&M colors throughout the stadium, consumers are constantly being reminded of the A&M colors. Team colors are a strong branding element in establishing strong brand identity (Dalakas & Rose, 2014, p. 116). Over time, consumers are then more likely able to connect the color combination of maroon and steel gray to the Texas A&M University.

In efforts to develop a stronger brand identity, A&M also displays a connection to the local region through its historical achievements. A&M has added a massive 30,000-square-foot Hall of Champions inside Kyle Field (Muret, 2015, p. 1). Consumers can stroll through the hall and learn more about the history of A&M football. Additionally, branding inside the stadium consists of historical images of Aggie greats, Johnny Manziel and John Crow (Muret, 2015, p. 1). The dominant murals of Manziel and Crow are mosaics formed by small photographs of every A&M All-American (Muret, 2015, p. 1). Fans seek positive identification with teams that embody positive associations (Dalakas & Rose, 2014, p. 113). Displaying past A&M athletes brings in this positive identification and reminds fans of all the successful athletes that were once part of the A&M family.

A&M has also implemented rituals both outside and inside Kyle Field. Outside the stadium, A&M plays a ‘Whoop’ big battle cry and fire cannons after every A&M touchdown (Muret, 2015, p. 1). This is an example of A&M facilitating the promotion of rituals (Dalakas & Rose, 2014, p. 119). This type of ritual encourages fan participation during the game. Inside the stadium, fans walk through a tunnel of stimulated smoke to get to the team store, mimicking the Aggies’ pregame entrance routine (Muret, 2015, p. 1). This is an example of actively promoting close connection between the team, its players and its fans (Dalakas & Rose, 2014, p. 119). This activity allows fans to have a similar experience of the A&M athletes’ pregame ritual. Rituals are a great way for teams to create and reinforce identity with strong fan involvement and participation (Dalakas & Rose, 2014, p. 117).

A&M also utilizes multiple brand artifacts to strengthen their brand equity. Brand artifacts carry meaning, and influence brand impression (Malkewitz & Bee, 2014, p. 91). A&M has added a large illuminated sign to the ceiling of the Hall of Champions showcasing the A&M logo (Muret, 2015, p. 1). Displaying team logos are important because they serve as symbols that are central to positioning, merchandising and differentiating a team and building its equity (Dalakas & Rose, 2014, p. 116). Additionally, A&M exhibits mannequins dressed in Aggie football gear. (Muret, 2015, p. 1). Displaying the A&M logo throughout the stadium and on merchandise familiarizes consumers with the logo. This enables consumers to be able to recognize and connect the logo with the A&M brand.

Texas A&M’s renovation of Kyle Field is the perfect example of successfully implementing new design principles and strong brand identity strategies to grow and strengthen the A&M brand equity.

 

References

Dalakas, V., & Rose, G. (2014). Developing Brand Identity in Sport: Lions, and Tigers, and Bears Oh My. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 109-122). New York, NY: Routledge.

Gladden, J. (2014). Brand Equity: Management and measurement in sport. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 3-20). New York, NY: Routledge.

Malkewitz, K., & Bee, C. (2014). Undertaking Successful Brand Design in Sport. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 89-108). New York, NY: Routledge.

Muret, D. (2015, September 21). Texas A&M’s renovated Kyle Field delivers more seats, more luxury and a new continuity. SportsBusiness Journal, 18(23). Retrieved from www.sportsbusinessdaily.com

About Michelle Park, University of San Francisco

Michelle is currently a graduate student at the University of San Francisco’s Sport Management Program. She graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Business Administration with a specialization in general management. While at UC Irvine, she was a four year collegiate student-athlete on the women’s golf team and went on to work full-time in the golf industry. Currently, she is working for the LA Clippers as a Community Relations Game Day Staff Member. This article is an edited version of a paper Michelle prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

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