NEWS9 September 2015

Brand hype around participation ‘based on flawed assumptions’

Asia Pacific News

SINGAPORE — A report from TNS and J. Walter Thompson (JWT) claims that the hype around online participation with brands is based on flawed assumptions on the level of interest customers have in engaging with brands online.


The report, Participation – Beyond the Hype, presents the argument that marketers’ focus on amassing likes and shares — looking at participation as an end in itself — has been “a distraction”.

JWT analysed the results from a study of the online behaviour and attitudes of 5,600 people across seven countries in Asia Pacific, conducted by TNS. It was found that consumers across the region were hesitant, and in some cases suspicious, of engaging with brands online, and often resented doing anything that appeared to benefit the brand more than it benefited them.

While 90% of respondents were found to be content consumers as well as interactors and creators, switching from reading and watching to liking, sharing, commenting, creating and reviewing, that level of engagement was found not to extend to brands. The report found that the more brands asked of consumers, the less interested they were in participating. Just over half of respondents said they were interested in consuming brand content, but only around 30% were open to interacting with brands online, and only 8% had any interest in participating in campaigns from brands that asked them to create content.

“Participation hype has distracted us from the real opportunity,” said Angela Morris, executive planning director at JWT Australia. “The game changer isn’t participation – it’s content that sparks a connection. And the value is in that connection, not the participation that may or may not follow.

“We need to stop assuming interest in participation and create interest with content.”