‘What if My Mum Sees It?’: Examination of visible brand interaction in the presence of a wider network

Ben Marder, Avi Shankar, David Houghton, Adam Joinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well established that to encourage online brand engagements marketers need to understand the expectations of their target consumers. However, less is known about how online branded content will be received by their potential consumers’ own online audiences (e.g., friends, followers). On Social Network Sites consumer brand engagement is made visible simultaneously to multiple audiences (e.g., peers, parents, employers). Interacting with online branded content may be appropriate for certain audiences but not for others. In this paper, we investigate online brand engagement in the presence of multiple audiences, the emotional effects of doing so, and the constraints placed on the sharing practices of consumers. To examine this phenomenon we draw on self-presentation theory and utilize a survey methodology (n = 386). Results show that brand engagement is associated with social anxiety when it is felt that visible evidence of such interactions are discrepant from audience expectations. This constrains behavior resulting in a reduction in the engagement intention of consumers with brands. In conclusion, this paper urges marketers to consider the audiences of consumers when designing content intended for sharing, to reduce consumer anxiety and increase brand engagement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Technology and People
Issue number1
Early online date6 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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