Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Networked Narratives: Understanding Word-of-Mouth Marketing in Online Communities

Journal of Marketing, March 2010

HEC Paris Research Paper No. MKG-2013-980

51 Pages Posted: 3 May 2013  

Robert Kozinets

York University - Schulich School of Business

Andrea C. Wojnicki

University of Toronto

Sarah JS Wilner

Wilfrid Laurier University

Kristine de Valck

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); HEC Paris - Marketing

Date Written: May 1, 2009

Abstract

Word of mouth marketing — the intentional influencing of consumer-to-consumer communications — is an increasingly important technique. The authors overview and synthesize extant word of mouth theory and present a study of a marketing campaign in which mobile phones were seeded with prominent bloggers. Eighty-three blogs were followed for six months. Findings reveal the complex cultural conditions through which marketing “hype” is transformed by consumers into the “honey” of relevant, shared communications. Four word of mouth communication strategies are identified — evaluation, embracing, endorsement and explanation. Each is influenced by communicator narrative, communications forum, communal norms and the nature of the marketing promotion. An intrinsic tension between commercial and communal interests plays a prominent, normative role in message formation and reception. This “hype-to-honey” theory shows that communal word of mouth does not simply increase or amplify marketing messages. Rather, marketing messages and meanings are systematically altered in the process of embedding them. The theory has implications for how marketers should plan, target and benefit from word of mouth and how scholars should understand word of mouth in a networked world.

Keywords: Word of mouth, online communities, online consumer behavior, advertising and promotions, consumer communication, Internet marketing

Suggested Citation

Kozinets, Robert and Wojnicki, Andrea C. and Wilner, Sarah JS and de Valck, Kristine, Networked Narratives: Understanding Word-of-Mouth Marketing in Online Communities (May 1, 2009). Journal of Marketing, March 2010; HEC Paris Research Paper No. MKG-2013-980. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2259683

Robert Kozinets (Contact Author)

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Andrea Wojnicki

University of Toronto ( email )

Department of Statistical Sciences
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

Sarah Wilner

Wilfrid Laurier University ( email )

75 University Ave W
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5
Canada
15198840710 (Phone)

Kristine De Valck

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2612 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9011 (Fax)

HEC Paris - Marketing ( email )

Paris
France

Paper statistics

Downloads
2,472
Rank
4,003
Abstract Views
7,629