Monday, November 13, 2017

Vanity of vanities: Consumers tell others about a positive experience if it signals expertise

Signaling Success: Word of Mouth as Self-Enhancement. Andrea C. Wojnicki, and David Godes. Customer Needs and Solutions,

Abstract: This paper highlights the significance and implications of self-enhancement as an important motivation for consumers’ word-of-mouth behaviors. The authors predict and demonstrate that following a given positive consumption experience, experts generate more WOM than if the experience was negative and more than novices. They do so because WOM regarding positive, successful experiences can serve as an indicator, or signal, of expertise. Four controlled experiments and one empirical study support the theory. This pattern is intensified when consumers’ expertise self-concepts are salient, and it diminishes when the context does not present the opportunity to self-enhance because the outcome of the experience is not attributable to the consumer’s expertise or because the distinction between good and bad products does not require expertise.

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