Active Lifestyle. Part 3

Saturday, October 13, 2012 12:37
Posted in category Health

The third similarity is that stages of adoption models, such as ALSAM, recognize that people are cognitively and emotionally processing information differently as they move from one stage to another. Successful marketing strategies require that fitness professionals understand these processes and how to use them to stimulate people into action.

There is controversy over whether the notion of stages is appropriate at all because the model implies purposive or deliberate cognitive activity. In reality, people may skip many stages and adopt a behavior without much apparent thought. However, the adoption schemes are useful concepts that can help explain a perceived reality. In this respect, they have important active lifestyle marketing implications.

The means-end framework. What motivates people to move from one stage to the next? The means-end chain model provides a mechanism to understand these motivational factors. The basic idea of the means-end chain theorizes that people combine three types of knowledge to form a simple associative network, called a means-end chain (see Figure 2).18 One type of knowledge concerns the concrete and abstract characteristics of an active lifestyle product. Specific forms of active lifestyles (e.g., jogging, windsurfing, weightlifting, aerobics) have very distinctive attributes. Some attributes are tangible (fast/slow, build muscle, strengthen the heart, etc.), while others are intangible and often subjective (running is a mindless activity, windsurfing is exhilarating). Surprisingly, very little research has been done on attribute knowledge structures of specific types of activities. It is not known, for example, which attributes of different sports or exercise programs are important to people, what they mean to people, and how people use attribute knowledge in comprehension and decision making.

The second type of knowledge concerns the functional and psychosocial consequences of participating in physical activity. Consequences are often conceptualized in terms of benefits and risks, and are outcomes that occur when an individual chooses to run, play tennis or use a fitness facility. Researchers believe that consumers are often motivated by consequences, so for this reason, many of the theories in Chapter 6 have a consequence emphasis.9

The third type of knowledge is about the personal and symbolic values that specific types of active lifestyles help people satisfy (e.g., wanting to be successful). Values are broad life goals and often involve an emotional component (called affect) associated with meeting or not meeting these goals. For example, strong emotions accompany success or lack of success. There are many ways to classify values, but one useful scheme identifies two levels of values: instrumental and terminal.15 Instrumental values are preferred modes of conduct (having a good time, acting independent, showing self-reliance, showing competence). In essence, these values suggest ways of behaving that have positive value for an individual. Terminal values are preferred states of being or broad psychological states (e.g., feeling happy, at peace or successful). Certain values that are referred to as core values are central to an individual’s self-concept. The self-concept consists of specific knowledge that individuals have about themselves.3

So, the means-end chain suggests that individuals link knowledge about the attributes of the active lifestyle with knowledge about consequences and knowledge about values.11 Added to this mix is the affective or emotional component that interacts with the knowledge structures. An affect-altered knowledge structure can influence cognitive processes and, subsequently, behavioral choices. The difficulty in designing a successful marketing strategy using this framework becomes clear.

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