How Ad-talk and Word-of-Mouth Influence Consumers’ Responses

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This study investigates: (a) if consumers talk about advertizing messages – ad-talk – is a new, distinct concept that differs from word-of-mouth (WOM) communication in definition and impact; (b) how ad-talk mobilizes WOM; (c) how WOM mediates the relationship between ad-talk and consumer responses.
A new model is developed that adapts the classic Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) framework by replacing the social norm with consumers’ ad-talk and WOM. Two large scale internet surveys are conducted to test and validate the model. Findings show that ad-talk and WOM are two different social processes. Ad-talk only mobilizes PWOM. PWOM mediates and leverages ad-talk’s influence on consumer responses, because PWOM adds personal experiences, preferences and social acceptance to the brand promise seen in the firm’s advertizing. This changes the value of the brand and makes the firm’s offer better than ad-talk would do singularly.
The concept ad-talk develops a more nuanced understanding of the role of advertizing in consumer-to-consumer (C2C) communication, since it: (1) changes how brand value is created; (2) mobilizes WOM and (3) influences consumer responses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInnovative Marketing
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)58-69
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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