Communicating Brand Identity on Social Media: A Case Study of the Use of Instagram and Twitter for Collegiate Athletic Branding

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Brandi Watkins Virginia Tech, USA

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Jason W. Lee University of North Florida, USA

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This case study examined how a large university in the southern U.S. incorporated branding strategies into its social-media content. Specifically, the strategies for using text-based social media (Twitter) and visual-based social media (Instagram) to communicate brand identity through brand associations and brand personality were investigated. To do this, the authors conducted a 2-part study. The first, a content analysis of social-media content, revealed how the athletic department communicated the football team’s brand identity through brand associations and brand personality. Second, a survey assessed the perceived brand personality of the football program through social-media content to determine external perceptions of the team. Results support the use of Instagram as a branding strategy. Instagram was used more than Twitter to communicate brand associations and brand-personality cues, while survey results indicated that respondents exposed to Instagram content reported higher perceptions of brand personality than those exposed to Twitter content.

Watkins is with the Dept. of Communication, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. Lee is with the Dept. of Leadership, School Counseling, and Sport Management, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL.

Address author correspondence to Brandi Watkins at brandi1@vt.edu
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