Title: Brand social representations: strategic perspectives for a fitness club

Authors: Guillaume Bodet, Bernard Meurgey, Marie-Francoise Lacassagne

Addresses: Institute of Sport and Leisure Policy, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK. ' Socio – Psychologie et Management du Sport (SPMS), Universite de Bourgogne, France. ' Socio – Psychologie et Management du Sport (SPMS), Universite de Bourgogne, France

Abstract: The aim of this study was to identify an accurate tool to enable fitness club managers to discover those opinions or stereotypes which represent obstacles to joining their organisations. Starting with brand image, the analysis then considered social representations as relevant constructs for apprehending these opinions or prejudices. The use of a word association task and the model of basic cognitive schemes (Rouquette, 1990; 1994) provided access to the salient elements of the social representations of a particular sport brand and the way they are structured. The procedure combining these two stages represented a diagnostic tool for identifying the attractive and unattractive aspects of a French fitness club brand, which enabled the proposal of advice to the manager in terms of strategic and operational marketing orientations for recruiting new members.

Keywords: social representations; sports brands; communication; health and fitness clubs; sport management; fitness club management; opinions; stereotypes; prejudices membership recruitment; brand image; France.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2009.023366

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2009 Vol.5 No.4, pp.369 - 383

Available online: 20 Feb 2009 *

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