Brand capabilities in English Premier League clubs
Research question: While brand management has attracted considerable academic attention over the past three decades, the brand capabilities within sport organisations, as well as their corresponding brand processes and brand managers’ perceptions, can be still considered unchartered territory, despite their key role in the wider brand management process. Differing to existing studies, this research focuses on English Premier League (EPL) clubs in an attempt to uncover the current brand capabilities landscape, by investigating practitioners’ views and brand guidance, training, updates and control processes in practice.
Research methods: Qualitative data were generated from semi-structured interviews with marketing managers from 30 EPL football clubs, conducted in two phases with each club, in order for the progress in brand capabilities to be also studied.
Results and findings: By capturing the brand processes and practitioners’ perceptions, the existence of diverse views and systems is outlined, indicating that the brand capabilities landscape of the EPL consists of three broad categories; the advanced, the antithetic and the atypical brand. Each is linked to different brand processes and perceptions. The perceptions and practices uncovered reveal the existence of brand misconceptions among the clubs, while highlighting the slow pace of, challenges and resistance to, change in the existing practices.
Implications: Outlining the current brand capabilities landscape of the EPL clubs in this study allows for a non-pre-prescribed view of brand processes and perceptions in practice, while illustrating the potentially unanticipated forms that brand capabilities can take in the context of sport.