The Role of Social Media Marketing Strategies of Gym Chains and the Creation of Customer-based Brand Equity

Janina Maike Roosen & Marlene Lüttje

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose: This study intends to provide valuable insights into social media marketing strategies of gym chains and the consumers’ motivations to engage with gym chains online. The key objective is to examine the extent to which gym chains can influence and create customer-based brand equity through their social media marketing strategies in order to stay successful. The gym chain John Reed serves hereby as an illustration. Design/methodology/approach: This study applies a qualitative research approach by conducting semi-structured in-depth interviews with a marketing expert of the fitness industry and 12 consumers. Findings: The results indicate a high importance of social media for gym chains. Consequently, a successful social media marketing strategy is a competitive advantage to maintain a favorable industry position. Social media marketing can enhance the creation of customer-based brand equity, especially the brand assets of brand awareness and brand associations. Implications: Marketing managers of gym chains should consider the importance of customer-based brand equity through social media in their overall marketing strategy. Thereby, individual brand assets can be enhanced through various social media marketing measures. However, a clear communication of unique selling points must be ensured with focus on the current values and needs of the consumers.Limitations/future research: This study underlies limitations caused by external situations and the data collection method. While the Coronavirus crisis impacted the data collection, further limitations elicit from the abductive research approach allowing only hypothetical inferences and the applied research strategy. Future research can enhance the findings through analyzing a variety of gym chains including their offline experiences. Originality/value: The study reveals that theories of consumer engagement (Belk, 2013; Islam et al., 2018; Tsai & Men, 2013) and the customer-based brand equity framework by Aaker (1991) are applicable in the context of the social media marketing of gym chains. Based on the findings, the study provides an initial understanding of CBBE creation through social media marketing by gym chains.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages318
SupervisorsSven Junghagen