Purpose – Based on message source theory, the purpose of this paper is to use positive electronic word‐of‐mouth (eWOM) settings to examine the influence of message source credibility on brand attitude (brand trust, brand affection, and purchase intention). The current study also uses the elaboration likelihood model to examine the moderating effect of product involvement on the relationships between message appeals (rational vs emotional) and brand attitude, as well as between message source credibility and brand attitude. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected via internet questionnaires. Based on the internet investigation and pretest, this study chose the stimuli for research products, virtual brands, eWOM, and message source credibility. Via a 2 (notebooks vs shampoo) *2 (appeal: rational vs emotional) experimental design, 211 effective samples were collected to verify the hypotheses of this study. Findings – The results, for both notebooks and shampoo, are: the positive eWOM message with higher message source credibility indicates a better brand attitude than the eWOM message with lower message source credibility, and this effect is not moderated by the degree of product involvement, indicating its robustness. Second, with a high degree of product involvement, the rational appeal indicates a better brand attitude than the emotional appeal; no significant difference is found when product involvement drops to a low level. Originality/value – Previous research investigating the moderating effect of involvement on the effects of message‐appeal types and the message source credibility of eWOM is rare. The main contribution of this study is to fill this gap.
Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 30, 2011
Keywords: Electronic word‐of‐mouth (eWOM); Message appeal; Message source credibility; Product involvement; Brand attitude; Brand trust; Brands; Internet
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