Building Viable Fitness Brands: Importance of Brand Communication Strategies in Attracting Potential Health Club Members

Antonio S. Williams, Isabell Rhenwrick, Ben Wright, Wanyong Choi, Dae Yeon Kim, Theodore Vickey

Year: 2014 Volume: 15 Issue: d

Pages: 49-68

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to empirically examine antecedents of sport consumer-based brand equity in the fitness segment of the sport industry (i.e., participatory sport). The proposed framework consisted of market-induced (e.g. word-of-mouth, electronic word-of-mouth) and organization-induced antecedents (e.g. price, place) that have been theoretically proposed, but not tested. An 18-item paper-based survey was administered to a convenience sample of health club prospects (N= 213). The questionnaire consisted of items measuring price (three items), brand awareness (two items), brand association (three items), electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) (three items), word-of-mouth (WOM) (three items), and place (four items). The relationship between independent (i.e., price, place, WOM, eWOM) and dependent variables (i.e., brand awareness, brand association) within the proposed model were tested using a multiple linear regression analysis (MLR). The results of the proposed model indicated that the four proposed antecedents accounted for a total of 30% of the variance in brand awareness and 14% of the variance in brand association. Specifically, price and WOM were significant predictors of brand awareness as well as brand association. The findings suggest that organization controlled brand strategies such as price, and organic brand communications such as WOM, help shape the perceptions potential health club members have with the health club brand.