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Obese customers’ fitness goal disclosure on social media: exploring weight-loss image sharing on emotions and healthy lifestyle aspirations

Gurmeet Singh (School of Business and Management, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)
Shavneet Sharma (School of Business and Management, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 14 July 2022

Issue publication date: 30 November 2022

332

Abstract

Purpose

Obesity is today’s most neglected, yet blatantly visible, public health problem. This study aims to examine the role of social media and goal-directed behavior in motivating healthy lifestyle intentions for customers experiencing obesity. It investigates the distinct roles of self-conscious emotions (shame and pride) and weight-transformational posts shared by others on social media as moderators of these relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual model uses the goal-directed behavior theory and social comparison theory, tested using data collected from 804 obese customers in Fiji through an experimental design.

Findings

Weight-loss transformation posts by others on social media, elicit distinct emotions for obese customers. Obese customers who felt guilt and shame due to shared weight-loss transformation posts showed a stronger association between goal disclosure and healthy lifestyle intention. In addition, the association between goal disclosure and healthy lifestyle intention is conditionally mediated by goal commitment, specifically for those obese customers that elicited guilt over shame due to shared weight-loss transformation posts by others on social media.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the adoption of an experimental design using a fictional stimulus being a commonly used method in marketing studies, external validity issues are likely. Also, this study examines obese customer behavior relating to Facebook. In addition, data collection for this study has been done from a single country perspective. Therefore, caution needs to be exercised when generalizing the findings of this study.

Practical implications

The findings assist businesses and marketers in the health and fitness industry to better leverage social media and goal-directed behavior and understand the emotions of obese customers to undertake data-driven precision marketing strategies.

Originality/value

The findings provide novel insights into goal disclosure and commitment, electronic word-of-mouth on social media platforms, self-conscious emotions and healthy lifestyle intentions for customers experiencing obesity.

Keywords

Citation

Singh, G. and Sharma, S. (2022), "Obese customers’ fitness goal disclosure on social media: exploring weight-loss image sharing on emotions and healthy lifestyle aspirations", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 56 No. 11, pp. 3138-3167. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-07-2021-0518

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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