Title: Developing a model for athletes' personal brands on social networks (case study: Instagram)

Authors: Alireza Zakerian; Pegah Sarkoohi; Farzad Ghafouri; Sara Keshkar

Addresses: Department of Sport Management, Alame Tabataba'i University, Dehkadeh-ye-Olympic, Tehran, Iran ' Department of Sport Management, Alame Tabataba'i University, Dehkadeh-ye-Olympic, Tehran, Iran ' Department of Sport Management, Alame Tabataba'i University, Dehkadeh-ye-Olympic, Tehran, Iran ' Department of Sport Management, Alame Tabataba'i University, Dehkadeh-ye-Olympic, Tehran, Iran

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of athletes' personal brands on social networking sites, with Instagram being the focus of attention. This study is of the qualitative type and relies on the grounded theory. In this research, three soccer players - namely Ali Daei, Ali Karimi, and Sardar Azmoun - who have the largest number of followers on Instagram were selected. The participants in this study consisted of 15 marketing managers, marketers of soccer clubs, and professors in the field of brand and sports marketing, with whom in-depth interviews were conducted. The data were conceptualised and categorised through open, axial, and selective coding processes. The results show that social, sports, political, religious, economic, and personal/behavioural factors, respectively, are the most important factors influencing users' decision to follow athletes on Instagram. The results, also, indicate that personal sports brands can expand their branding strategies and help to improve relationship marketing.

Keywords: grounded theory; Instagram; personal brand; relationship marketing; social networks.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2022.121253

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2022 Vol.22 No.1/2, pp.142 - 160

Accepted: 22 Jul 2021
Published online: 24 Feb 2022 *

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