Consumer Response to Sport Sponsor’s Message Articulation and Activation on Twitter: An Abstract
Although traditional media remains the primary value driver for sponsors, when all media platforms are considered, social media accounts for 5–20% of the total value generated for sponsors. Because it has redefined consumer–brand interaction, social media is considered an important customer activation tool by businesses across the globe. Social media has recently become an effective tool that can be utilized by marketers for tapping shared interests of their customers and stimulating engagement to create positive attitudinal and behavioral outcomes, especially in the sponsorship domain. This is because social media is extremely popular with sports fans and acts as a great outlet for discussions related to sport and sport-related issues, which sometimes spill over to conversations about associated brands. Although there is a scholarly focus on consumer engagement in online platforms, there are scant studies on the use of social media by sponsors, and on how social media can act as a tool for achieving marketing objectives. This work offers two dimensions related to sponsor messages that enable effective communication by a brand about its association with an event on social media platform Twitter: articulation (focus of the message: product/event) and activation (trigger for user interaction with the message: promotional/interactive). Effect of these two dimensions are proposed to create positive user behavioral outcomes in form of positive sentiment (in related user tweets) and e-WOM respectively. The study makes four key theoretical contributions to extant literature. First, authors offer a novel way of defining and measuring message articulation on a social media platform. To date, extant literature discussed broadly commercial and noncommercial aspects of articulation, with little application to digital media. Second, this study empirically validates the usage of activation tactics, and provides insights into the individual effects of interactive and promotional messages on e-WOM, which has its contributions to the consumer engagement literature from the context of sponsorship in social media. Third, using incongruity and unexpectedness theories, analysis of functional and image fit as moderators highlights their important role for sponsors and explains how unexpectedness can act as a boon for low-fit sponsors on the social media platform. Finally, from a methodological perspective, this research suggests a unique way to capture Twitter data that can help sponsors to track the performance of their sponsorship-related messages. Authors used the Twitter–LDA algorithm, clubbed with topic modeling and NRC lexicon, to capture user sentiment.