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An associative learning account of branding effects of sponsorship

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For sponsors, the essence of commercial sponsorship is the right of being associated with the sponsored organisation, which can later be leveraged for branding purposes. The branding power of sponsorship relies on its associative power, and consumers learn sponsorship in two qualitatively distinctive ways: evaluative conditioning and predictive learning. These two processes can lead to different branding outcomes (e.g., a decrease in brand loyalty, but an increase in perceived quality). This study stresses the limitations of traditional theoretical accounts in explaining branding effects of sponsorship and proposes that associative learning would be the fundamental branding mechanism of sponsorship marketing. Specifically, this study examines the multivariate relationships between a set of learning variables (i.e., sport involvement, event involvement, event attitude, emotional experience, brand knowledge, and brand-event relatedness) and a set of branding effect variables (i.e., perceived quality, attitudinal loyalty, and behavioural intention). Through a series of canonical correlation analyses on a survey data, we found evidence to support the associative learning account of branding effects.
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Keywords: ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING; BRANDING; EVALUATIVE CONDITIONING; PREDICTIVE LEARNING; SPONSORSHIP

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2013

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