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  1. 1. Empowered Involvement, Word of Mouth and Brand Advocacy A Theoretical Framework and Case Studies
  2. 2. Good Afternoon. <ul><li>Work in progress </li></ul><ul><li>Forthcoming working paper summer 2007 (further publications / Dissertation)  if interested: </li></ul>
  3. 3. Contents. <ul><li>Introduction and Background </li></ul><ul><li>Word of Mouth Research </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Empowerment </li></ul><ul><li>Theory: empowered involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Empirical testing (status quo) </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction <ul><li>Importance of word of mouth as a business success factor </li></ul><ul><li>Media and audience fragmentation </li></ul><ul><li>The spread of digital word of mouth on the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer empowerment - media creation (publishing, video, etc.) and advertising avoidance </li></ul>
  5. 5. My Question <ul><li>How can companies deal with these issues in their marketing communications approaches? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Research Project <ul><li>Stimulating word of mouth </li></ul>as a task within (brand) communications in the context of growing consumer empowerment
  7. 7. Three Word of Mouth traditions <ul><li>Focus on Personal Influence Critical review, extension and discussion of opinion leader concept (Feick/Price 1987; Richins-Root/Shaffer, 1988; Reynolds/Darden, 1971) </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on Personal Experience Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction (Sundaram/Mitra/Webster 1998; Richins, 1983; Day 1977) </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on Networks Tie-strength, network properties (Granovetter, 1973; Sheingold, 1973; Godes/Mayzlin; 2004) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Focus of study Why do people listen, what makes them seek out WOM? The power of Word of Mouth – what it leads to when people receive it What makes people talk and spread WOM? What happens to the sender after spreading WOM? Nyilasy, 2005 main focus of study antecedents of WOM (causes) consequences of WOM (effects) unit of analysis receiver of communi- cation communicator (sender)
  9. 9. Key antecedent: involvement <ul><li>(Product) </li></ul><ul><li>Category involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Self-involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Other-involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Message involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Purchase involvement </li></ul>Involvement as a key driver for word of mouth
  10. 10. Involvement research <ul><li>Continuum from „very low/none“ to „very high“ (Kapferer/Laurent 1985), advertising research: often dichotomous (high/low) </li></ul><ul><li>Influenced by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Person-specific factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Situation-specific factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stimulus-specific (product/message/medium) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Involvement research: paradigm assumes involvement to be intra-personal, no measure for externally stimulated involvement </li></ul>
  11. 11. Question: <ul><li>What do we know about ‚creating‘ involvement? </li></ul>
  12. 13. Stimulating involvement: “empowerment“
  13. 14. Empowerment research <ul><li>Different fields, different levels: </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer empowerment (no coherent theory - Wathieu et al, 2002; Bush, 2004; Brennan/Ritters, 2004; Coppack/Brennan, 2005 - pro‘s/con‘s discussion) </li></ul><ul><li>Patient Empowerment (McGregor, 2005; MacStravic, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Employee Empowerment : developed since the mid-eighties, both theoretically and empirically </li></ul>
  14. 15. Employee empowerment <ul><li>Spreitzer, 1995: „Psychological Empowerment in the Workplace: Dimensions, Measurement and Validation“ </li></ul>Psychological Empowerment: Meaning Competence Self-Determination Impact Locus of Control Self-esteem Access to Information Rewards Managerial effectiveness Innovation
  15. 16. Three considerations <ul><li>Involvement as antecedent to Word of Mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships as antecedents to Word of Mouth (Sundaram/Mitra/Webster, 1998; Gremler/Gwinner/Brown, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Participation in the Service process as antecedent to Word of Mouth (File/Judd/Prince, 1992) </li></ul>
  16. 17. Theory: Empowered Involvement Psychological Empowerment: Meaning Competence Self-Determination Impact Locus of Control Self-esteem Access to Information Rewards Word of Mouth
  17. 18. Empirical testing <ul><li>1) Early experiment: voting on ads </li></ul>Locus of Control Self-esteem Access to Information Rewards Word of Mouth
  18. 19. Vote Locus of Control Self-esteem Access to Information Rewards
  19. 20. Before launch Did you talk to friends about Hubba Bubba in past 4 weeks? (yes/no) Paderborn: 5,0% (5 out of 101) Berlin: 5,1% (4 out of 78) Siegen: 8,4% (6 out of 72)
  20. 21. Post: Online questionnaire
  21. 22. Generating WOM: Vote <ul><li>Did speak about brand? – before vs. during </li></ul>Chi 2 emp (df=1) =47,02; p<0,001
  22. 23. Generating WOM: vs. Control Group Vote: Chi 2 emp (df=1) =63,48; p<0,001 Caution: slightly different questions!
  23. 24. Mean Promoter Score general: t (76) =-4,352; p<0,001 Max: t (76) =-4,086; p<0,001 2,58 3,26 3,35
  24. 25. Experiment vs. Control Group (post) Vote: t (149,9) =4,323; p<0,001
  25. 26. Promoter Score: pro vs. contra Ad? t (75) =0,078; p=0,938 3,26 3,20
  26. 27. Empirical testing: currently on-going Psychological Empowerment: Meaning Competence Self-Determination Impact Locus of Control Self-esteem Access to Information Rewards Word of Mouth
  27. 29. Blog launch project
  28. 30. PaybackBlog
  29. 31. Post launch questionnaire <ul><li>Empowerment levels: project participants vs. other members </li></ul><ul><li>Word of Mouth behaviour: project participants vs. other members </li></ul><ul><li>Currently on-going, questionnaire ends tonight </li></ul>
  30. 32. Summary <ul><li>Using empowerment for marketing, not against it </li></ul><ul><li>Actively involving and empowering consumers in marketing processes </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting word of mouth, creating a dialogue with consumers that creates useful insight </li></ul><ul><li>Outside innovation: the deeper this reaches into the organisation, the more impactful it is likely to be </li></ul>Empowered Involvement appears to stimulate Word of Mouth
  31. 33. Now what does this have to do with Social Software...? <ul><li>Ross Mayfield, 2006 </li></ul>
  32. 34. Social Software reaches beyond the people it directly touches: We should also consider the Word of Mouth Effects of Empowered Involvement
  33. 35. Thank you very much. <ul><li>Martin Oetting </li></ul><ul><li>Doctorate Candidate ESCP-EAP European School of Management (Berlin campus, </li></ul><ul><li>Partner, Director Consulting & Communications trnd - the real network dialogue ( </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Blog (German): </li></ul>