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  1. Credibility

  2. Credibility counts • "ethos is the most potent of all means of persuasion" (Aristotle, The Rhetoric, 1356a) • “To become a celebrity is to become a brand name” (Phillip Roth) • “The generalization that high credibility sources are more influential than low credibility sources is as close as one can come to a universal law of persuasion” (Gass & Seiter, 2007)

  3. Credibility • Definition: “Judgments made by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator” (O’Keefe, 1990). • Credibility is not synonymous with charisma or leadership. • Credibility is also referred to as “Ethos.” • Credibility is a crucial element in persuasion.

  4. Credibility endorsers • Berger (2004) maintains we are living in a “Celebritocracy.” • Roughly one in five ads features a celebrity endorser. • The Match-Up Hypothesis: A good fit between the endorser and the brand is essential. • William Shatner parodies himself in’s campy “action hero” commercials. • Meaning Transfer Perspective: An endorser’s persona is projected onto the brand. • Catherine Zeta Jones evokes style and sophistication for T-Mobil.

  5. Celebrity endorses • 25% of advertisements employ celebrity endorsers (Shimp, 2000). • Roughly 10% of advertising expenditures go to pay the endorser (Agrawal & Kamakura, 1995) • Selling power is known as a celebrity’s “quotient fare” or simply “Q”

  6. The match-up hypothesis • How do these four endorsers fit the “My Life, My Card” American Express image?

  7. Falling stars • Celebrity scandals rub off onto the sponsor. • Tiger Woods was dropped by Accenture, Buick, Gatorade, and other sponsors following revelations of marital infidelity. • Michael Phelps Kellogg's dropped him, but Speedo and Subway stuck with him, after his “bong” photo surfaced. • Michael Vick was dropped by Nike and Coca-Cola after his dog-fighting conviction. • Martha Stewart resurrected her image as a homemaking diva, after serving time for insider trading.

  8. Celebrities in Politics • Celebrities have little effect on election outcomes. • "There is no polling evidence that celebrity endorsements make a difference,“ • Kathleen Hall Jamieson • "political endorsements generally have little impact on voter preference." • A 2007 study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press • It may be that celebrities are more successful motivating people to vote in general as opposed to tendering a vote for a specific candidate.” • Natalie Wood, Ph.D., marketing professor

  9. Credibility dimensions • Credibility is a perceptual phenomenon. • Ethos is in the eye of the beholder. • Credibility is a multi-dimensional construct. • it is a composite of multiple factors • Credibility is situational. • It varies from one context to another. • Credibility is dynamic. • It changes over time, even during a short period of time.

  10. Primary credibility dimensions • There are three primary dimensions of credibility. • All three are important in almost all persuasive situations. • Benoit (2004) says expertise is tends to be the most important of the three. • Expertise (competence) • The persuader has knowledge, skills, knows his/her stuff. • Trustworthiness (character, integrity) • The persuader is honest, safe, dependable. • Goodwill (perceived caring) • The persuader takes a genuine interest in you.

  11. Primary credibility dimensions • Does Captain “Sully” Sullenberger possess all three dimensions? • Does Oprah Winfrey possess all three dimensions? • Did Joe “The plumber” have expertise? • Is Tiger Woods trustworthy? • Are Fox News and CNN trustworthy? • What dimensions were Richard Hatch or Russell Hantz (from the TV show Survivor) high or low in? • Is Sarah Palin high in expertise?

  12. Secondary credibility dimensions • There are multiple, secondary dimensions of credibility. • Secondary dimensions are more situation specific. • Dynamism (extroversion) • A source is energetic, enthusiastic. • Composure (poise) • A source is calm, cool, and collected. • Sociability (Likeability) • A source is friendly, warm, charming.

  13. Whose got what? • Match the credibility dimensions below with the sources on the right.* • Primary: • Expertise • Trustworthiness • Goodwill • Secondary • Dynamism • Composure • Sociability * Note: Since credibility is in the eye of the beholder, not everyone will agree. • James Bond • Ellen Degeneris • Ken Griffey Jr. • Barack Obama • John Madden • Ty Pennington • Rachel Ray • Captain Sully Sullenberger • AIG • Reese Witherspoon Does anyone possess all three dimensions?

  14. Credibility as a peripheral cue • Credibility typically functions as a peripheral cue in persuasion. • Credibility matters more when receivers have low involvement. • Credibility matters less when receivers have high involvement.

  15. The Third Person Effect • Study by Yankelovich and Gannett, of 1,000 consumers nationwide: • Only 25% of those questioned said a TV ad would induce them to try a product or brand • Only 3% said they would try a new product based on the recommendations of a celebrity • 63% said they would try something new based on the advice of a friend. • Third person effect: People think they are less susceptible to persuasion than other people. • Self-serving bias: People think they are better than average; better drivers, better sense of humor, more intelligent, etc.

  16. Credibility and image management • Credibility extends to government agencies, institutions, organizations, social movements. • Institutions have images and reputations to maintain. • Toyota • AIG • FEMA • When an institution’s image is tarnished, it must engage in image restoration. • Hence the importance of PR, media “spin,” community involvement.

  17. Credibility and image management • How would you rate the credibility of the following organizations? • American Trial Lawyers Association • Blackwater (now Xe) • Congress • United Nations • McDonald’s • Philip Morris • Wal-Mart • Pretend you are the head of a PR firm representing one of these companies. • What steps would you take to enhance or restore their credibility?

  18. The Sleeper Effect • The persuasiveness of messages changes over time. • Most messages lose effectiveness over time. • The Sleeper Effect is an exception to the general rule. • A message initially advocated by a low credibility source may increase in persuasiveness over time. • The source and the message must be disassociated by using a discounting cue. • Without the “ball and chain” of the low credibility source, the message becomes more persuasive. • Absolute versus Relative sleeper effects

  19. Generalizing the credibility construct • Credibility applies not only to the rich and famous • institutions and organizations possess credibility as well • In dyadic encounters; there are two sources whose credibility is at stake Do fictional spokespersons possess credibility?

  20. Enhancing credibility • Prepare thoroughly. Never “wing it.” • Be organized, fluent, composed. • Manage your time carefully. • Anticipate likely questions. • Cite evidence and source qualifications. • Cite credible sources and evidence within your presentation. • State your own background and expertise. • Demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. • Build trust by identifying with your audience. • Emphasize similarities, common values, shared goals. • Display goodwill by showing that you care. • Be genuine, authentic. • Show you have your listeners’ interests at heart.