SOCIAL MARKETING: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK TO EXPLAIN THE SUCCESS OF MEN’S SHEDS FOR OLDER RURAL MEN?
Men’s sheds have been described as a male-friendly service providing a ‘health by stealth’ approach to improving the well-being of older men. There is a dearth of theoretical models to explain the success of men’s sheds. Moreover, there is no practice-based methodology to explain what attracts men in the first place, what motivates them to ‘invest’ in their shed, and what keeps them coming back. Social marketing is a practice-based methodology used by public health planners to deliver practical health programmes and campaigns in Australia, the UK and elsewhere, yet its incorporation into practical men’s health work has received little attention. This paper explores whether the core framework of social marketing provides insight into the attraction of men’s sheds. The study investigated changes in overall well-being as a result of shed participation and compared a literature derived social marketing framework with interview transcripts from shed participants. There was strong alignment between framework components and themes from interviews; several previously undescribed themes also emerged. The findings suggest that social marketing may offer a conceptual framework to explain the attraction of men’s sheds and what benefits men derive from them. Results may guide the development of best practice models suited to shed development and maintenance, as well as broader interventions promoting social activity and well-being among older men.
Keywords: men’s sheds, social marketing, 4Ps, rural, older men, health and well-being, Flourishing Scale