Narrative persuasion, identification, attitudes, and trustworthiness in crisis communication

Clementson, D. E. (2020, Nov.). Narrative persuasion, identification, attitudes, and trustworthiness in crisis communication. Paper to be presented at the 106th National Communication Association conference, Public Relations division, Indianapolis, IN.

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to test the effects of narratives in crisis communication. This research assesses how organizations benefit from using stories in their media responses, relative to sharing non-narrative information. The theory of crisis response narratives (Heath, 2004) holds that ethical narratives are effective because they enhance trustworthiness, attitudes toward the spokesperson, and identification with the spokesperson. Normative crisis communication theory exhorts disclosing truthful information rather than spinning. In an online experiment, participants (N = 365) watched a news interview in which a scandalized company’s spokesperson responded to a journalist’s questions with (a) ethical narratives, (b) unethical (spin) narratives, or (c) nonnarrative information. Multiple mediator modeling assessed identification with the spokesperson, attitudes toward the spokesperson, and perceived trustworthiness of the spokesperson. Results indicate ethical narratives are more effective than unethical narratives. However, nonnarrative information most effectively enhances trustworthiness and bolsters identification.

Celebrity-Endorsed E-cigarette Brand Instagram Advertisements: Effects on Young Adults’ Attitudes towards E-cigarettes and Smoking Intentions

Abstract: Celebrities endorsing e-cigarette brands on social media may exert a strong influence on e-cigarette uptake. Using a between-subject experiment, this study examines the effects of endorser type (celebrities, non-celebrities and products only) in e-cigarette brand Instagram advertisements on e-cigarette attitudes and smoking intentions. Results showed that celebrity endorsers significantly increased positive attitudes towards e-cigarettes and smoking intentions, compared to non-celebrities or products only. Celebrity endorsers also rated significantly higher on trustworthiness, expertise, goodwill and attractiveness, compared to non-celebrities. Additionally, identification, social comparison, health consciousness and social networking site use moderated between endorser type and key dependent measures. Implications for e-cigarette marketing regulation are discussed.