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Electronic Word-of-Mouth Advertising Versus Brand Strength: Effects On Consumers’ Purchasing Decision

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journal contribution
posted on 06.01.2022, 18:17 by Rafael Barreiros Porto, Eluiza Alberto de Morais Watanabe, Mariana Matos Araújo Barrozo, Eurípedes Xavier de Souza Júnior

Purpose: The research compared the effect of electronic word-of-mouth advertising (e-WOM) and brand strength in consumers' decision to purchase an experience product and service.

Theoretical framework: There is no clarity of the most significant influencer of the purchase decision: (1) being a strong brand induced by the company's efforts or (2) other consumers praise it, or (3) this praise intensifies the influence of brands previously strong. The research aimed at the possible generalization of these effects to experience product and service.

Method: In two between-group experiments, consumers presented their strong or weak brand purchasing decisions with the positive, negative, or neutral presence of e-WOM for a product (smartphone) and a service (hosting reservation), both of experience. The authors used logistic regressions containing the purchase decision as the dependent variable.

Findings: The results show the positive direct and moderating effects of e-WOM on the relationship between brand strength and purchase decision, with little difference between product and service. Positive e-WOM is more remarkable for the weak brand than for the strong brand (bracing effect). Negative e-WOM is greater for the strong brand than for the weak brand (weakening effect). Finally, negative e-WOM reduces the purchase decision probability for both brand strengths (aversive effect).

Research implications: The study reveals patterns of e-WOM effects (bracing, weakening, aversive, and supplementary) on the influence of brand strength on purchase decisions.

Originality: This paper brings the implications of e-WOM effects for brand management, revealing its patterns for better control.