Participation in online activation (#) campaigns: A look at the drivers in an African setting
Online brand activation is in vogue and has been used by several brand giants (e.g. Apple, Adidas, etc.) to create viral campaigns that invite consumers to join brand-initiated conversations. The opportunities therein for brand visibility and customer engagement are immense. However, to leverage it, brand communicators must first understand the characteristics of persons most likely to participate in it and target them, a question that is yet to be addressed in the budding literature on the subject. For brand communicators, particularly in developing economies such as Ghana where low internet penetration levels and high associated costs may hinder participation, this is a critical gap in their quest to justify the relevance of online activations to boost brand visibility and customer engagement. This study sought to address this gap by testing a model of the drivers of participation in online activations using a consumer survey (N = 278), set in a recent online activation campaign in Ghana. The findings suggest that persons who trust the activated brand would be inclined to participate in it, suggesting the need for brand communicators to first work on building trust. The study also finds that individuals who are susceptible to interpersonal influence are less likely to participate in such activations. Possible explanations for this are explored in the study along with their implications.