NWU partners with Kaizer Chiefs in unique study on Industrial Psychology and Consumer Behaviour
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind in the field of Industrial Psychology and Consumer Behaviour in South Africa, the Industrial Psychology Department on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) has joined forces with the Marketing Department of the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club.
This practical research project represents one of the first official knowledge generation projects of the Kaizer Chiefs Innovation Centre which is situated on the Vaal Triangle Campus and will see academics and postgraduate students taking to the sporting pavilions in the weeks to come. The aim of the research is to investigate factors that contribute towards the levels of motivation of sports fans as well as the development of psychological affinity towards a particular sport team.
Heading-up the research team is Ederick Stander, the Subject Chair of Industrial Psychology on the Vaal Triangle Campus. According to Stander the collaboration between the Campus and Kaizer Chiefs Football Club was made possible via the platform presented by the Kaizer Chiefs Innovation Centre that is set to be launched on the Campus in May of this year. “As a psychologist, I have always been intrigued by the level of engagement and passion sport spectators display in South Africa. They purchase branded products, paint themselves in the color of their favorite team and invest a great deal of resources to follow their sporting heroes,” says Stander and adds that the research aims to investigate the motivation that drives this type of loyalty and dedication.
On a psychological level, by understanding this more comprehensively, researchers will be able to develop in their own minds, as to how big brands – such as Kaizer Chiefs, should interact with their spectators. By understanding the underlying reasons that drive sport spectators - from different backgrounds (for example younger vs older fans, male vs female etc.), to consume sport, researchers will furthermore be able to:
- Develop targeted marketing and engagement strategies
- Leverage the research output to further utilise and position sport in South Africa as a powerful unifying agent of communities (and henceforth an important tool for nation building).
Stander explains that the research group is following a triangular approach where they engage spectators from different contexts. “We started with exploring the views of fans who attended the Soweto Derby and we will also be hosting a discussion forum with the different branches within the Kaizer Chiefs structure in the weeks to follow. The next port of call will be a cup match after which the group will also focus on a CAF game,” says Stander. The latter refers to a continental tournament. According to Stander this will enable the research group to compare different "pockets" of spectators, in different contexts, with one common thread - all of them are actively engaged with the Kaizer Chiefs brand.
More about the Kaizer Chiefs Innovation Centre
NWU Vaal and Kaizer Chiefs announced their unique partnership in October 2013 and the partnership sees the University availing its expertise to benefit young talented footballers at the club’s Youth Academy in Johannesburg. The Centre for Continuing Professional Development (CCPD) on the Vaal Triangle Campus will furthermore serve as the point of contact between the football club and experts across the University. The expertise will be specifically utilised to develop young football players in totality and therefore do not only include playing skills. The University will provide consultancy and advice on a wide variety of topics. These include finance, nutrition, psychological preparation for high performance sport and physical conditioning. The footballers will be developed in academic and professional fields in order to prepare them for life after their professional football careers.
The partnership with Kaizer Chiefs has several benefits for the NWU Vaal. In addition to the marketing benefits of the association with a world-renowned brand like that of Kaizer Chiefs, the NWU will strengthen its third stream income revenue through the implementation of its research expertise.
Another result of the collaboration between Kaizer Chiefs and the University is the Kaizer Chiefs Innovation Centre that is vested on the Vaal Triangle Campus. This centre – a first of its kind within the higher education sphere, will allow staff and students , as well as supporters from the local community , the opportunity to experience the total Kaizer Chiefs brand experience. “The partnership with Kaizer Chiefs is proof of the NWU’s good reputation as a research institution with an excellent knowledge base and as an internationally recognized destination for sports development," says Stander.