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Why pass on viral messages? Because they connect emotionally

Dobele, Angela, Lindgreen, Adam, Beverland, Michael, Vanhamme, Joëlle and van Wijk, Robert 2007. Why pass on viral messages? Because they connect emotionally. Business Horizons 50 (4) , pp. 291-304. 10.1016/j.bushor.2007.01.004

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In this article, we identify that successful viral marketing campaigns trigger an emotional response in recipients. Working under this premise, we examine the effects of viral messages containing the six primary emotions (surprise, joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust) on recipients' emotional responses to viral marketing campaigns and subsequent forwarding behavior. According to our findings, in order to be effective, viral messages need to contain the element of surprise. By itself, however, surprise is not enough to guarantee message success; therefore, it must be combined with other emotions. The effectiveness of the viral message is also moderated by gender, with disgust-based and fear-based campaigns being more likely to be forwarded by male recipients than female recipients. To ensure forwarding behavior, the message must capture the imagination of the recipient, as well as be clearly targeted. Moreover, achieving fit between a campaign and the featured emotions is important, as this ensures an increased chance of forwarding. In addition to relaying these and other findings, we share and discuss the managerial implications of using different emotions in viral marketing campaigns. Finally, culture is recognized as an influencer.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Viral marketing; E-Commerce; Marketing communications; Consumer emotions
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0007-6813
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2016 03:22

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