Vegetarian Food Social Media Message: An Empirical Study Of The Effects Of Message Design On Consumer Brand Attitude
Despite a growing interest in social media communication as a marketing tool, research on its persuasive effects is limited. This is especially true for comparisons between brand-generated and user-generated content, despite the relevance of message control for marketing strategy.
This present study examines two different message sources (brand vs user) and two message types (rational vs emotional) investigating their effects on consumer brand attitude through the creation of brand authenticity, content authenticity and source credibility while considering consumer food involvement. Participants (N = 342) viewed one of four fictional Facebook messages, which used either a rational or emotional message type and was from either a brand or a consumer.
Using regression analysis, and splitting the sample to high (N= 172) and low involvement (N=170), we found for participants with a high degree of involvement, emotional brand-generated content created more positive brand attitudes than rational brand-generated content through perceived brand authenticity and source credibility. However, a rational message generated by a brand led to higher levels of effect on brand attitude with higher perceived content authenticity. For user-generated content, for highly involved consumers, rational messages are more persuasive than emotional messages, creating more positive brand attitudes through brand authenticity and source credibility. Content authenticity had no impact on brand attitude in any user-generated message under high consumer involvement.
Under low degrees of consumer involvement, emotional brand-generated messages did not significantly impact brand attitude. However, the effect was found in emotional user-generated messages through content authenticity. With regards to rational brand-generated messages, high perceptions of source credibility generated positive brand attitudes. A similar result has been found in user-generated rational messages. The final analysis showed that regardless of message type and message source, low or high consumer involvement, the positive effect of brand attitude on purchase intention is significant.
The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.