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Hashtags and handshakes: consumer motives and platform use in brand-consumer interactions

Mitchell Hamilton (Department of Marketing and Business Law, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Velitchka D. Kaltcheva (Department of Marketing and Business Law, Loyola Marymount Univeristy, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Andrew J. Rohm (Department of Marketing and Business Law, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 21 March 2016




The current increase in social media activity related to brand–consumer interactions is progressively influencing the manner in which brands and their customers communicate. Whereas this attention to social media is warranted, researchers and brand managers must also recognize that consumers connect and engage with brands across other communication platforms as well. Accordingly, this study aims to examine brand–consumer interactions taking place across social, online and physical platforms, as well as consumer motives for initiating these brand interactions across various platforms.


A mixed-method approach integrating quantitative and qualitative data was used. We administered a written diary to 102 individuals over a two-month period, in which study participants recorded their motivations and platform use in their interactions with a brand. We evaluated latent-class mixture models for complex data and multi-level latent-class mixture models to identify classes of interactions based on participants’ motivations and platform use as well as customer segments based on the identified motives-by-platform classes.


The findings reveal ten categories of motives for interacting with brands, including promotions and incentives, timely information, product information, engagement, browsing, purchase, customer service, branded content, entertainment, and personalization/exclusivity. Furthermore, six motives-by-platform interaction classes are identified. The findings suggest three consumer segments differentiated by their motives-by-platform profiles.

Research limitations/implications

This study adds to past research investigating the motives behind brand–consumer interactions in social media by investigating both social media and non-social media-related interactions, and offering a typology of interaction profiles that considers interaction motives and platform preferences.

Practical implications

This study illustrates that consumers are driven to interact with brands based upon the ten motive categories. These motives, in turn, are associated with different platform uses. Thus, it is important for brands to adopt ambidexterity across multiple communication platforms.


This research adds to the understanding of brand–consumer interactions conducted on online and offline communication platforms.



Hamilton, M., Kaltcheva, V.D. and Rohm, A.J. (2016), "Hashtags and handshakes: consumer motives and platform use in brand-consumer interactions", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 135-144.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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