Dr. Abena Yeboah-Banin Delivers Inter-College Lecture

Dr. Abena Yeboah-Banin of the Department of Communication Studies has delivered an Inter-College Lecture on the topic: ‘Consumer participation in brand selfie activations on social media: Evidence from an emerging African economy’.

The lecture shared results on a study of the Kalyppo challenge, where social media was flooded with persons posting photographs of themselves drinking Kalyppo (a fruit flavoured drink made in Ghana), after then presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo was mocked on social media for drinking Kalyppo, which is normally consumed by children. The tables were turned when prominent members of Nana Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) took to social media with selfies of themselves drinking Kalyppo. The trend became known as the Kalyppo Challenge and caught on with other social media enthusiasts who were not necessarily members of the NPP. The study sought to explore the extent to which supporters of a brand would go to showcase and promote the brand.

Dr. Abena Yeboah-Banin

Dr. Yeboah-Banin noted that marketing communication is changing because audiences are fragmented and turning to more social (two-way) forms of media. Audiences are also now more actively engaged in content generation and sharing rather than just receiving. Because of these, new strategies are needed to get audiences to pay attention, engage with brands and tell brand stories.

In brand selfie campaigns, consumers are invited to post photographs of themselves in brand use situations on social media. It is expected that brand selfies will increasingly join marketing communication tools in Ghana, however various conditions such as low internet penetration/access levels, high data costs and popularity of traditional media for commercial information may present challenges to deter participation.

Dr. Yeboah-Banin observed that marketing firms historically replicate best practice from bigger markets in smaller settings, and to replicate the brand selfie activation success story in developing countries, several questions must be addressed including “‘who should be targeted?”, “what factors determine who would participate?” and “what happens beyond participation?”

A section of the audience

The study found that consumers are likely to ignore brand selfie invitations, and that sharing comes easier and may win more converts than brand selfie invitations.

Question time

Dr. Yeboah-Banin suggested that, to engender higher participation in sharing, brands may seek out people already engaged in electronic word of mouth; enlist social media addicts to participate, identify online opinion leaders and incentivize participation and thereafter, manipulate gender, electronic word of mouth, social media addiction and brand identification to increase participation and reach.

The lecture was chaired by the Acting Provost of the College of Education, Professor Michael Tagoe, with Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies delivering introductory remarks.

Acting Provost, Prof. Michael Tagoe and Dean, SICS, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo