FACULTY RESEARCH: Hope Inspires Bystander Intervention

Temerlin’s Dr. Sid Muralidharan and Dr. Carrie La Ferle have published a follow-up to their 2019 study, which explores emotional appeals in public health messaging to mitigate domestic violence in India.  According to UN Women, a global database on violence against women, India reports a 288% lifetime rate of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, compared to 29% in the U.K., 269% in Argentina, and 38% in Turkey. These wide-ranging domestic violence rates by country underscore the importance of research for domestic violence prevention messaging.

The original study, published in the Journal of Advertising, found shame messaging, compared to guilt, to be the more effective message to inspire bystander intervention. In the follow-up study recently published in the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Dr. Sid, associate professor, and Dr. La Ferle, the Marriott Endowed Professor of Ethics and Culture, compare shame to hope in public service announcement messages. This study finds that bystanders are motivated to act when hope, more so than shame, messaging is utilized. “Social marketers would benefit from crafting domestic violence prevention messages that are framed with a strong hope appeal, i.e., a positive outcome of saving the victim will be achieved by calling the helpline,” Dr. Sid explains. For bystanders, hope is the key to motivating action through goals, agency, and pathways; therefore, marketers have to integrate these three components in their messaging. In other words, saving the victim from further abuse (goal) can be achieved by providing a helpline number (pathway), and the anonymity and ease of calling the helpline will increase motivation to help (agency).

While advertising is often perceived as a way to sell goods, the importance of research on domestic violence prevention messaging underscores for society the ethical component of advertising. Dr. Sid and Dr. La Ferle teach courses such as Advertising as a Cultural Force, Advertising Society and Ethics, and Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship to Temerlin’s undergraduate and graduate students. Through their ongoing research, Temerlin professors play an active role in providing solutions to serious issues.

FACULTY RESEARCH: How Luxury Brands Can Curate Luxe Experiences for Digital Media

As of late, luxury brands have shifted their focus to engage consumers with more meaningful and compelling digital content. According to Dr. Quan Xie, Assistant Professor of Advertising in the Temerlin Advertising Institute, only a small percentage of consumers can afford high-end luxury products, but it is not surprising to see those who aspire to this lifestyle also engross themselves in luxury branded content.

In recent research published in the Journal of Interactive Advertising, Dr. Xie studies luxury fashion brands’ content marketing practices on YouTube, and demonstrates that consumers’ perceived experiential value, social value, and unique value of the luxury branded content are positively related to their perceived brand exclusivity and customer intimacy, which in turn, will boost consumers’ loyalty toward the brand. In addition, consumers’ perceived functional value of the luxury brand’s YouTube channel is positively related to their perceived brand prestige and exclusivity. However, viewers’ perceived informative value was found not relate to brand prestige, exclusivity, or customer intimacy, suggesting that the informative value of luxury content may not play a role in brand building of high-end luxury fashion brands.

While a luxury brand like Bentley boasts around 7.8 million Instagram followers, Hermès has more than 10 million followers, and Dior maintains a following of 32.7 million. Having a large group of followers may generally be seen positively, but for luxury brands seeking to build long-term loyalty, marketers must boost consumers’ perceived brand exclusivity and concentrate on building an intimate customer-brand relationship.

Dr. Xie points to Chanel as the cornerstone for luxury brand-consumer engagement through an ambitious and meticulously planned content strategy. At the beginning of this year, they had around 52 million followers on Twitter and Instagram, and 1.65 million fans on YouTube, which makes Chanel the leading luxury brand across all platforms. For example, they post regularly and consistently while adopting a video-first strategy. This well-crafted content has successfully transformed general viewers into faithful audiences. That said, any time the focus is on luxury brand interactions, the experience must leave consumers with the perception of brand scarcity.

Brand scarcity refers to the rareness of the product or service (e.g., scarce materials, limited accessibility, and distribution) that enhance consumers’ desire or preferences. Since luxury experiences provide more customized services and cost more than conventional experiential purchases, luxury experiences are entitled to greater exclusivity. Luxury brands also aim to evoke exclusivity at all customer contact points.

In the end, Dr. Xie’s research suggests luxury brands should aim to create content that offers experiential value, such as backstage stories, intriguing legacy narratives, and content that is unique to luxury branding – like aesthetic close-up of craftsmanship, as well as content that promises social value to followers. These content values will contribute to followers’ perceived scarcity and intimacy of luxury brands, which, in turn, can build up to greater brand loyalty. Additionally, reliable social media channels can also contribute to increased brand exclusivity. Luxury brands should strategically humanize their owned social media channels to transform them into credible information sources among followers.

Click to learn more about Dr. Quan Xie and her research.

FACULTY RESEARCH: Engaging Luxury Brand Consumers

Luxury brands have increased their social engagement by investing heavily in interesting brand value propositions and captive storytelling. Yet, research to understand the mechanisms of luxury content marketing in brand building is still scarce. Drawing on value perceptions, brand prestige/exclusivity, customer intimacy, and brand loyalty, Dr. Xie’s research proposes and tests the perceived values of luxury content marketing on social media (i.e., YouTube) which shapes brand loyalty among luxury consumers. Dr. Quan Xie’s research “Deconstructing Luxury Content Marketing on YouTube: The Roles of Content Values in Brand Prestige, Brand Exclusivity, Customer Intimacy and Brand Loyalty” was recently accepted by the International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Conference to be presented at the Gold Coast, Australia this May. The conference accepted only 44.27% of the papers and panels that were submitted this year!

FACULTY RESEARCH: Can Advertising Encourage Bystander Intervention in Response to Domestic Violence?

Temerlin Advertising Institute faculty are studying ways to encourage bystander action when they encounter victims of domestic violence. According to the CDC, “About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.”

According to the research, bystander intervention is one way to help minimize occurrences of domestic violence. However, bystanders tend to be apathetic toward the victims they happen to encounter or observe.

In the research published in the Journal of Advertising, Dr. Carrie La Ferle and Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan examined the role of guilt and shame on attitude toward the ad and reporting intention of bystanders in India. While the effectiveness of negative emotions has been thoroughly researched in the West, conceptualizing guilt and shame from an Eastern perspective and using fluency in processing theory revealed that ads featuring emotional appeals strengthened reporting intention more than control ads did.

Professor Muralidharan explained that this action occurs through self-construals which impact the ways that the different emotions elicited are processed. Self-construal refers to the grounds of self-definition, and the extent to which the self is defined independently of others or interdependently with others and is thought to vary between Westerners and East Asians.

With respect to the findings, Dr. Muralidharan thought that it was interesting that shame was more effective than ads with guilt and the control. However, what was more intriguing was that ads with negative emotions (and lack of) were equally effective among those with an independent self-construal. Basically, such ad appeals were not as important as the duty to help a victim in need. A probable answer lies in research that touches on the characteristics of the independent self-construal (being assertive, autonomous, and possessing a stronger sense of equality), which could explain these gaps in future studies.

According to Dr. La Ferle, “We hope that this research will allow for more impactful public service announcements in India and further prosocial causes by encouraging people to take action in response to perceived needs.” This is one way SMU Advertising research is helping to create better advertising which leads to a better world.

For more information see:

Dr. Carrie La Ferle, Dr. Sid Muralidharan & Dr. Anna Kim “Using Guilt and Shame Appeals from an Eastern Perspective to Promote Bystander Intervention: A Study of Mitigating Domestic Violence in IndiaJournal of Advertising, 2019.

FACULTY RESEARCH: Can Empathy Offset Low Bystander Efficacy? Effectiveness of Domestic Violence Prevention Narratives in India?

Dr. Sid Muralidharan co-authored “Can Empathy Offset LowBystander Efficacy? Effectiveness of Domestic Violence Prevention Narratives in India.” (Journal of Health Communication, 2019)

Abstract:

Domestic violence stems from deeply rooted patriarchal norms and directly conflicts with humanitarian standards. Given that this issue impacts women across the world, many countries have initiated campaigns to heighten awareness and fight this epidemic. Based on Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), we explored whether narrative health messages might prompt bystanders to intervene (e.g., calling a helpline number) when they encounter domestic violence. Using a sample of participants from India, we found that narratives had a stronger impact on attitude toward the ad and reporting intention than non-narratives and such effects were mediated by feelings of empathy. More importantly, the mediating effects of empathy were significantly greater when bystander efficacy was low rather than high.

Click for the full publication: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10410236.2019.1623645

FACULTY RESEARCH: Dr. Sid’s Latest Publication: What Triggers Young Millennials to Purchase Eco-Friendly Products?

Dr. Sid Muralidharan recently co-authored “What triggers young Millennials to purchase eco-friendly products?: the interrelationships among knowledge, perceived consumer effectiveness, and environmental concern.” (Journal of Marketing Communications, Volume 25, 2019, Issue 4)

Abstract:

As the attention to environmental sustainability heightens, marketers increasingly claim that their products help preserve the environment. Without proper understanding of how emerging target markets, such as young Millennials, are triggered to purchase green claims, their efforts may be futile. Accordingly, the current study examined the interrelationships among major environmental antecedents, such as environmental knowledge (EK), perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE), and environmental concern (EC) on environmentally conscious consumer behaviour (ECCB). The results of an online survey with younger Millennials revealed that EK and EC were significant predictors of ECCB, with EC being the stronger predictor. Unlike past literature, PCE was not directly related to ECCB. The study also found a strong mediating role of EC between EK and ECCB, as well as PCE and ECCB. Implications for green marketers are discussed, along with theoretical discussion.

Click for the full publication: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13527266.2017.1303623

FACULTY RESEARCH: Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan and Dr. Anna Kim Author Article on Narrative Advertising in India and the United States

Abstract:
The persuasiveness and popularity of narratives in commercial advertising has gained much attention but its application in inculcating responsible behaviour is severely limited. Domestic violence against women is a global issue and there is a dire need for effective bystander intervention campaigns. This two-part study delves into how narratives could be employed to elicit favourable ad attitudes and encourage bystanders to report instances of domestic abuse in their neighbourhood. Study 1 focused on testing the effectiveness of narratives in two culturally diverse countries – India and the United States. In general, findings showed that narratives (vs. non-narratives) were more persuasive in both countries. As the next step, using culture (interdependence vs. independence) and social distance (parents vs. neighbours), Study 2 found narratives with a socially proximal entity (parents) to be more persuasive in India while no differences between countries were observed for the socially distant entity (neighbours). Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

Click here to read the full article on LinkedIn.

VISITING SCHOLAR: TAI Hosts Dr. Cong Li for Lecture on Measuring Ad Attitude

Friday, February 22nd, the Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a lecture by Visiting Scholar Dr. Cong Li, Associate Professor of Strategic Communication at the University of Miami. Dr. Li discussed his research, “Should Attitude be Measured with “Random” Scale Points?”, with many SMU faculty, students, and professionals attending the event. Through his research, Dr. Li examined how using different scale points to measure ad attitude influences statistical results.

While attitude is an important construct frequently measured in advertising research, there is no consensus on the scale points it should be quantitively assessed.  In practice, researchers have measured attitude using different scale points (i.e., 1-5, 1-7, 1-9, 0-10, and 0-100). Dr. Li’s research questions the influence of such inconsistency on empirical findings.

In his lecture, Dr. Li discussed a series of studies that examine the methodological issues associated with attitude measures. Using varying types of data from content analysis, simulation, a longitudinal study, and an experiment, Dr. Li’s research suggests that using arbitrary scale points to measure attitude may bias statistical results. The influence of scale points is also subject to cultural differences. As low replicability has long been an issue in empirical research, Dr. Li’s work is important in pointing out a methodological concern associated with self-report measures.

Dr. Li’s other research interests include computer-mediated communication, social media, and cultural psychology. His work has appeared in such journals as the Journal of AdvertisingHuman Communication ResearchMedia Psychology, and Communication Research. He has also authored two books focusing on advertising strategy and social media.

Temerlin Advertising Institute was honored to host Dr. Li for a lecture on his research. TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting guest speakers periodically throughout the year.

Rani Vestal

FACULTY RESEARCH: TAI Assistant Professor Yan Huang Shares Research on Narrative Persuasion and Attitude Resistance

TAI Research Brown Bag by TAI Assistant Professor, Yan Huang.

On Friday, April 13, Yan Huang, Assistant Professor of Advertising in TAI at SMU, shared her research titled “Persuasion and Counter Persuasion: The Impact of Narratives in Health Promotion,” at the TAI Research Brown Bag.

Professor Huang’s research examines the effects and mechanisms of strategic media messages and technologies in shaping consumer psychology, especially as they relate to health and socially responsible advertising. Through her studies, she addresses a series of questions including,

  • Is attitude induced by narratives able to resist the influence of competing messages?
  • What are the psychological mechanisms underlying narratives’ influence on resistance?
  • Can narratives effectively persuade individuals when used for counter persuasion?
  • How do we use storytelling to help the public make better decisions?

Health public service advertising (PSA) is not processed in a vacuum. An effective health PSA must not only produce an immediate persuasive impact but also compete with counter messages from different interest groups. Prior literature supports narrative benefits in eliciting immediate health attitude change. However, its influence in a competitive scenario has yet to be tested.

When individuals are exposed to a campaign message, they think about it, but they don’t typically engage in actions immediately. There is a time lag, in which individuals can encounter other information, which may contradict with what they were previously exposed to – these are competing messages. Professor Yan Huang performed a series of studies in which attitudes were assessed after exposure to pro- and anti-radiotherapy messages, in both the conventional rhetoric and storytelling formats. Immediate reactions and the responses after counter persuasion were assessed and analyzed.

Major findings of Professor Huang’s studies include,

  • Campaign messages in story formats can lead to better retention of information, which could enhance audience resistance to counter persuasion.
  • The experiential processes associated with narrative exposure, such as identification with story characters and the feeling of “being transported” into the story world, can increase counter-arguing with competing messages.
  • Narrative messages are much more effective than rhetorical messages in communicating counter-attitudinal information.

After sharing her research Professor Huang discussed various theoretical and practical implications including,

  • Narrative persuasion research may benefit from focusing attention beyond the change in attitude intensity to other properties of attitude strength.
  • The mechanisms underlying the carryover effect of narratives in the face of a competing message are both cognitive and experiential.
  • The applicability of narrative persuasion theories in a competitive situation.
  • The strong potential of narrative campaign messages in altering attitude.

Temerlin Advertising Institute was honored to have Yan Huang for a lecture on her research. TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting speakers periodically throughout the year.

Yan Huang holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from Pennsylvania State University. She teaches Consumer Behavior (ADV 2301) at SMU. Her work has appeared in such journals as American Behavioral Scientist, Health Communication, Journal of Communication, among others. Moreover, her research has been recognized with Top Paper Awards from the International Communication Association (ICA), the Association for the Education of Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and the International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC).

Mentoring (and Caring) for Ad Students

Mentoring (and Caring) for Ad Students
by Dr. Alice Kendrick, Marriott Professor of Advertising

 

Do you have a mentor?  Who is that person?  A professor?  Professional?  This is a question worth asking and a goal worth pursuing.

Research indicates that having a mentor can contribute to not only career success but also to psychological and physical well-being.  Yet only about one in five college graduates claim to have had a mentor while in school, according to a 2014 Gallup-Purdue survey.  Having someone “who encouraged me to pursue goals and dreams” makes a student twice as likely to enjoy an engaging career, according to that study.  There isn’t a lot of research about advertising mentors specifically, though a survey of business students at a northeastern university and alumni 3-5 years out (D’Abate 2010) found that mentoring provided short-term psychosocial support and also advanced mentees’ career development and business knowledge in the first five years on the job.

A study in the late 1990s found that minority advertising students reported they wished they had mentors while in college as well as later in the workplace. About half of the students in a 2008 study of university ad club chapter members said they had mentors, and in many cases those mentors were college professors.  In a related finding, the Gallup-Purdue study reported graduates were almost twice as likely to achieve an engaging work life if “My professors at [College] cared about me as a person.” (p. 10)

The advertising employment landscape can be complicated, and unlike some areas of study and work like engineering and investment banking, hiring opportunities don’t follow a specified pattern.  That means that ad students looking to enter the ad industry could benefit from guidance and support of a mentor or mentors along the way. And while professors often serve as defacto mentors for students, there are many other sources of mentors such as members of local professional advertising clubs, speakers who visit campus, internship supervisors, university alumni and family friends and acquaintances.  Students and faculty should seek as many opportunities as possible to enjoin professionals beyond the university to augment student learning, networking and pre-employment socialization. Professional role models and professional relationships are a key ingredient to a successful career.

Alice Kendrick, Ph.D. is Marriott Professor of Advertising in the SMU Temerlin Advertising Institute. She is currently developing a mentoring program for TAI students, alumni and professionals.

 

Sources consulted

Kendrick, Alice, Jami Fullerton and Mallorie Rodak (2010), “Advertising student interns: Career preferences and ethical issues,” Journal of Advertising Education, 14(2), 42-51.

The 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report (2014). Great Jobs. Great Lives. Gallup, Inc.  Retrieved from http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/gallup-purdue-index-releases-inaugural-findings-of-national-landmark-study.html

Fullerton, Jami, Alice Kendrick and Connie Frazier (2007), “Job Satisfaction Among Minority Advertising Professionals.”  Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication national conference, August, Washington DC.

D’Abate, C. (2010), “Developmental Interactions for Business Students: Do They Make a Difference?” Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies May, 17(2), 143-155.