Covert Brand Communities: Does Persuasion Knowledge Activation Influence Evaluations of Facebook Health and Wellness Communities?
Slobodzian, Adam D 1992-
Recent pharmaceutical marketing practices have incorporated more social media tactics in the form of unbranded social networking communities to promote, educate, engage, and monitor potential consumers. Current attention in this domain has focused mainly on regulated tactics such as company-controlled websites, while little attention has been given to unregulated communication tools such as social media, where much of the interaction is consumer to consumer. The purpose of this research is to test competing theories and assumptions of persuasion knowledge activation in a covert brand community, specific to the context of pharmaceutical marketing. Researchers and practitioners have argued over whether consumers will recognize a persuasion attempt in a covert setting, or will not recognize a persuasion attempt in a covert setting, but until now there has not been a conclusive answer. The results of this research showed that people do not recognize these tactics, either covert or overt, as persuasion attempts; we find no significant difference in participants’ evaluations of health and wellness communities when branding is present versus when it is absent. This study also shows that priming for persuasion knowledge will activate consumers’ persuasion knowledge and will result in lower evaluations of perceived trust, and lower intentions to use the information in the community. Employing an experimental design, these studies are an initial step in the debate on covert marketing’s effects on persuasion knowledge and evaluations, specifically in the context of health and wellness communities on social media. The results also present interesting opportunities for theory, policy, and practice.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentEdwards School of Business
CommitteePhillips, Barb; Popa, Monica; McMullen, Linda
Copyright DateAugust 2017
Covert Brand Community