Title: A collegiate athletic brand transformation: rebranding a Native American brand identity

Authors: Beth A. Easter, Edward Leoni, Judy A. Wiles

Addresses: Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation-7650, Southeast Missouri State, One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, USA. ' Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation-7650, Southeast Missouri State, One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, USA. ' Department of Management and Marketing-5875, Southeast Missouri State, One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, USA

Abstract: Case study data were analysed from Southeast Missouri State University, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institution, which changed its nickname from Indians to Redhawks in 2004. The purpose was to examine critical factors involved in changing from a Native American sports brand to a more marketable brand and to establish brand equity benchmarks for a brand changed with no attending alteration in core sport product. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected pre-change and post-change including survey data, attendance records and university documents. Analysis supports the relevance of Gladden et al.|s [1998; Journal of Sport Management, Vol. 12, pp.1–19] conceptual framework for brand equity in collegiate athletics and expands on Gladden and Funk|s [2002; Journal of Sport Management, Vol. 16, pp.54–81] work showing the importance of non-product-related attributes including brand marks and logos, nostalgia and tradition in brand associations.

Keywords: brand identification; brand equity; brand name change; sport brands; Native American sports names; National Collegiate Athletic Association; NCAA sports brands; sports mascots; brand marks; sport marketing; collegiate athletics; USA; United States; brand associations; rebranding.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2008.015963

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2008 Vol.3 No.1/2, pp.100 - 118

Published online: 02 Dec 2007 *

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