Title: Credibility to attract, trust to stay: the mediating role of trust in improving brand congruence in sports services

Authors: Mario Alguacil; María Huertas González-Serrano; Ana María Gómez-Tafalla; Rómulo Jacobo González-García; Sergio Aguado-Berenguer

Addresses: Faculty of Teaching and Educational Sciences, Catholic University of Valencia, Sacre Cor, 5. 46113 Valencia, Spain ' Faculty of Teaching and Educational Sciences, Catholic University of Valencia, Sacre Cor, 5. 46113 Valencia, Spain ' Faculty of Sport Science, University of Valencia, Gascó Oliag, 3, 46010 Valencia, Spain ' Valencian International University, Pintor Sorolla, 21, 46002 Valencia, Spain ' Faculty of Sport Science, University of Valencia, Gascó Oliag, 3, 46010 Valencia, Spain

Abstract: This research aims to demonstrate the mediating role of brand trust in the relationship between credibility and users' congruence with a sports services brand. The analysis was carried out using EQS 6.3 to perform the four required steps of the analysis (and the Sobel test was conducted for a public sports service and a private sports service. The results confirm the full mediation effect of brand trust in the case of the private service and a partial mediation for the public service. Therefore, this study confirms that credibility, in the presence of trust, ceases to have an influence on the congruence of users with the brand, which suggests that credibility is important at an initial stage to attract the user, but at more advanced stages, trust must be developed to ensure that users are more congruent with the brand and can, therefore, be identified with it and be more loyal.

Keywords: brand trust; credibility; congruence; mediating role; mediation analysis; sport services; marketing; sports marketing; management; sports management; branding; brand image.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2021.113245

European Journal of International Management, 2021 Vol.15 No.2/3, pp.231 - 246

Received: 05 Oct 2019
Accepted: 03 Nov 2019

Published online: 30 Jan 2021 *

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