Active Lifestyle. Part 4

Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:40
Posted in category Health

Involvement framework. The means-end chain does not explain why some people are more intensely engrossed at various stages of the behavior-adoption process than others. The involvement model aids in understanding this phenomenon (see Figure 3).6 Involvement occurs because people perceive personal relevance (intrinsic and situational). Intrinsic self-relevance depends on an individual’s characteristics and characteristics of the active lifestyle. Situational self-relevance depends on the characteristics of the active lifestyle and the situational context. In a nutshell, the involvement framework attempts to address the motivational state that energizes and directs people’s cognitive processes and behaviors as they make a decision at each of the adoption phases. The higher the perceived self-relevance, the higher the involvement. The higher the involvement, the more immediacy an individual feels to move through the other stages, or the more intensely they engage in the activity.

Fitness professionals should understand the cognitive and affective aspects of these relationships between the individual and the active lifestyle. For instance, middle-aged adults who are “into” windsurfing may link the general attributes of windsurfing (difficult, fun) to important self-relevant consequences (self-respect because of superior athletic competence, envy from peers for being in such good shape, feelings of youthful vigor, etc.). Marketing strategies can help create and maintain meaningful individual active-lifestyle relationships and modify those means-end relationships that are not optimal. One challenge is to find attributes that people will connect to important consequences and values, thus moving them through the adoption phases.10

Exercise providers are quite familiar with the strategy of strengthening an individual’s intrinsic self-relevance via the “you need to lose weight” approach. However, this will only work on the segments of consumers who perceive self-relevance in this. That is, they believe that they are overweight and that there is a negative consequence to being overweight. Given the huge numbers of overweight Americans and the emphasis placed on thinness in this country, it is understandable why the “lose weight” approach has the potential to stimulate self-relevance in a sizable portion of the overweight market.

Many strategies are capable of creating, modifying or maintaining consumers’ situational self-relevance. A summer promotion encouraging people to exercise so that they will look good in summer clothes is a situational factor that may temporarily raise consumers’ involvement in exercise programs. Special pricing strategies, including cash rewards, may function as situational influences that create a temporary increase in the movement of individuals from one stage of the adoption model to the next. Another source of situational self-relevance is a social cause.8 Walking for breast cancer research, biking for muscular dystrophy funds, and other links between exercise and good causes can temporarily motivate sedentary people into action.

Situational self-relevance depends on the characteristics of the activity and the situational context, and is often temporary. The connection between a health club and its ability to solve an individual’s problem may disappear when a promotion ends. And, situational self-relevance will also depend on the connection between an individual’s own characteristics and the type of active lifestyle that is being promoted. Thus, promotions that take advantage of a situational context may not capture all of the people who are at the “ready” stage if circumstances (psychological or environmental) do not permit them to act on the promotion. This is why situational-type promotions are offered at regular and ongoing intervals.

More general aspects of the physical environment can also influence situational self-relevance. The holiday season can make exercise more personally relevant and desirable (overeating leads to a few extra pounds that an individual wants to take off). This makes a search for a suitable physical activity environment relevant and involving for consumers. Individuals will be more likely to notice special promotions because the problem-recognition stage is now at the forefront of their consciousness due to a specific situational context.

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