Generating Brand Awareness in Online Social Networks
With their exceptional interactive and communicative capabilities, Online Social Networks (OSNs) allow destinations and companies to heighten their brand awareness. Many tourist destinations and hospitality brands are exploring the use of OSNs to form brand awareness and generate positive WOM. The purpose of this research is to propose and empirically test a theory-driven model of brand awareness in OSNs. A survey among 230 OSN users was deployed to test the theoretical model. The data was analyzed using SEM. Study results indicate that building brand awareness in OSNs increases WOM traffic. In order to foster brand awareness in OSN, it is important to create a virtually interactive environment, enabling users to exchange reliable, rich and updated information in a timely manner. Receiving financial and/or psy-chological rewards and accessing exclusive privileges in OSNs are important factors for users. Both system quality and information quality were found to be important precursors of brand awareness in OSNs. Study results support the importance of social media in online branding strategies. Virtual interactivity, system quality, information content quality, and rewarding activities influence and generate brand awareness, which in return, triggers WOM.