The Effect of Need for Uniqueness on Word of Mouth
Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 553-63, 2010
11 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2009 Last revised: 13 Jun 2012
Date Written: 2010
This research studies a psychosocial cost associated with positive word of mouth (WOM): positive WOM can decrease the uniqueness of one’s possessions, which hurts high-uniqueness individuals (pilot study 1). As a result, high- (vs. low-) uniqueness individuals are less willing to generate positive WOM for publicly consumed products that they own. However, high uniqueness does not decrease willingness to generate WOM for privately consumed products (studies 1 and 2) or for products that participants don’t intend to buy (study 2). The effect of uniqueness is more pronounced for WOM that includes positive recommendations, compared to WOM that only contains product details (study 2). Illustrating the process, pilot study 2 demonstrates that for publicly consumed products, WOM recommendations are perceived to be more persuasive than WOM that provides details. Study 3 confirms that high- (vs. low-) uniqueness consumers are less willing to recommend a public product to others, but are as willing to discuss product details. Study 4 analyzes content of real-world WOM and finds evidence that supports these results.
Keywords: word of mouth, need for uniqueness, recommendations, social influence
JEL Classification: C91, C93, M31, M37, D82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation