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Case – 1

Fitbit: the perfect fit for consumer motivation
The health and fitness industry is big business. In 2015, Australians alone are estimated to have
spent $8.5 billion on gym memberships, sports equipment and the latest fitness trends. In addition,
one study has revealed that in 2015 over 6 million Australians had made a New Year’s resolution
to make fitness top of mind.
Tapping in to this growing health and fitness segment are companies specialising in wearable
technology devices, and more specifically, fitness and activity trackers. This new generation of
smart wristbands help people manage their health and wellness by quantifying their physical
movements, with some of the more popular brands being Fitbit, Garmin, Apple, Xiaomi, Misfit,
Jawbone and Moov. Allowing consumers to keep track of their activity around the clock, the
digital technology behind these wearable fitness trackers uses algorithms, accelerometers and
altimeters to track everything from heart rates and active minutes, to calories burned, sleep patterns
and stairs climbed. A key question is how are these fitness tracker brands tapping into the
influences that affect consumers’ motivation to purchase, use and share data from their fitness
tracker?
One of the pack leaders in wearable fitness tracking technology is Californian-born company Fitbit.
Having established themselves in 2007, they have now sold well over 20 million of their fitness
trackers worldwide via thousands of retail outlets. In 2015, the company went public on the New
York Stock Exchange and has an estimated worth of $4.1 billion. In marketing to the fitness and
health segment, Fitbit focus on consumers’ self-concepts, values, needs and goal-setting
behaviours. The Fitbit brand position themselves as a family of products fit for anyone. They look
to make fitness a lifestyle as opposed to a 30-minute workout, viewing everything from working
and looking after the kids, to biking, hiking, rowing and running as all forms of getting ‘fit’.
The Fitbit range of fitness trackers start from simple wristbands with basic functions such as step
counting, through to their higher-end models which provide users with more advanced functions
including heart rate monitoring and GPS tracking. The Fitbit Blaze connects to your smartphone,
allowing the user to map routes, as well as see run stats like pace and duration in real time via the
fitness tracker’s hi-res colour touchscreen. This instant gratification through the delivery of instant
data does more than inform. Fitbit trackers reinforce, motivate and reward, incorporating elements
such as social and gamification in order to keep users engaged. Suddenly, all of the routine things
that you do each day, such as vacuuming the floors, picking up the groceries and pushing the lawn 2 | Page
mower are cast in a new light. These routine chores are now seen as exercise, and Fitbit seeks to
measure these activities and turn them in to a sense of quantified accomplishment.
Fitbit delivers an always-on relationship with consumers, largely thanks to the continuous
monitoring characteristic of its product. Fitbit also lets customers personalise their fitness tracker
– offering the option to choose from metal, leather and multi-coloured interchangeable bands. On
a more functional level, the technology allows users to sync the data collected by their Fitbit device
to their smartphone Fitbit app, enabling users to analyse their performance.
The Fitbit app allows users to customise their fitness experience as well as set personal goals and
challenges. In addition, Fitbit trackers come with built-in step-based daily and lifetime goals linked
to ‘badges’. When a specific badge’s criteria is met, the users Fitbit device will vibrate and the app
will record the achievement as a ‘badge’, a form of extrinsic tangible motivation. Motivation is
further amplified by allowing users to broadcast their results, completed challenges and ‘badges’
earned via social media and online Fitbit communities, as well as enabling users to create in-app
challenges with friends and family.

Case Questions

  1. Apart from the Elaboration Likelihood Model, choose another attitude change theory. Use
    this theory to explain how Fitbit changed/can change consumer attitudes.
  2. How does the social element of owning a Fitbit compel a Fitbit purchase? How do some
    of these groups exert social power on consumers?
  3. Source several Fitbit advertisements. Discuss how the Elaboration Likelihood Model is
    used to justify Fitbit’s advertising contents.
  4. According to the article, Fitbit faces competition from many other brands. Using the
    Consideration Set as well as Evaluative and Determinant Criteria, objectively explain why
    Fitbit has maintained its large market share in fitness trackers.
  5. Gather several Fitbit advertisements (printed or video). Apply Regulatory Focus Theory
    to these advertisements. How do these advertisements affect the Message Source Effects
    and Attitude Change?