Countering the detrimental influence of negative electronic word of mouth on brands : effects of brand feedback, stability and controllability of the cause of the problem on brand attitudes and purchase intentions
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] We know that online word of mouth, also called electronic word of mouth (eWOM), such as online product reviews or discussion board posts, about various products and services has a strong influence consumers' buying behavior online. For instance, one may have gone to Amazon.com or ebay.com to buy a product and decided against buying the product because of many negative reviews about that product. Research has already found that such negative product reviews or eWOM negatively influence consumers' summary judgment about brands and buying behavior (i.e., makes consumers not buy a product). However, research has not adequately studied what happens when brands or advertisers also provide a response to the reviewer writing the negative product review. This study therefore examines what happens to people's summary judgement about a brand (i.e., brand attitudes) and intentions to purchase a particular product (i.e., purchase intentions) if brands also provide a response or a \"brand feedback\" to a negative review or eWOM in an online retail context. The study also looks at whether brand feedback's effect is differently for different types of reviews, such as when the reviews talk about a problem that is under the brand's control (e.g., brand negligence) versus when it's under the reviewer's own control (e.g., reviewer dropped the purchased device). Also, when the problem described in the review is of a long-lasting nature (stable) versus short-term nature (unstable). This study is important because so far we do not have a good understanding about whether a brand's participation in the online product reviews or eWOM context can influence potential consumers' thought patterns about the brands and purchase behavior. The study's findings show that brand feedback is most effective in increasing summary judgment about a brand and purchase intentions when such brands provide a feedback to a negative review describing a problem controlled by the brand and of a short-term nature.
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