Struggling to Get Through Your Exercise Routine? Use a Brand!

Apr 23, 2014, 10:07 ET from American Marketing Association

CHICAGO, April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many of us struggle to make it through a tough exercise routine, but if you use a product with a brand name associated with athletic performance, you can feel more confident and actually exercise better—even if the product itself offers no direct exercise benefits.

Individuals face a variety of challenging tasks daily, such as getting through a tough exercise routine. When we fail, it is often because we lack confidence in our abilities and give up. We might solve the problem by engaging an athletic trainer or joining an exercise class where others can provide motivation. However, maybe there's a much simpler solution—could using a product with a brand name associated with athletic performance, such as a Gatorade water bottle, increase our confidence and exercise performance?

This question is examined with new research in the April 2014 issue of the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing Research. Results from several studies show that people can feel more confident about their ability to exercise, and can actually exercise better, if they use a product with an athletic brand name while exercising. Participants were asked to exercise with a handgrip while drinking tap water from a cup with the Gatorade name or a plain cup. Those using the Gatorade cup not only felt more confident in their abilities to do well, but also performed better, squeezing the handgrip more times during the exercise period.

Does the beneficial effect of brands work for everyone? "Not for all us," says Ji Kyung Park of the University of Delaware. "The individuals most affected by using brands are those who believe their personal qualities are fixed and cannot be improved through their own efforts. Therefore, they use a brand such as Gatorade to boost their confidence when they exercise." What about everyone else? "The rest of consumers hold beliefs that they can improve their abilities by devoting effort to self-improvement, and they can boost their confidence by learning better exercise techniques or picking up training tips," states Deborah Roedder John of the University of Minnesota. 

So, no matter what type of beliefs you hold, there are ways to increase our confidence and exercise performance. If you don't believe you can improve on your own, there's always "retail therapy"—go out and buy a Gatorade water bottle and take it to the gym!

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SOURCE American Marketing Association