The Effects of Cultural Allegiance and Values on the Perception of Spokespersons Denying Commercial Rumours
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Commercial rumour can have a very negative impact on companies and products. As soon as a negative rumour begins to spread, sales often fall drastically. The major battle is not only to recover sales but how to recover consumer confidence before buyers eliminate the company’s brands from their evoked set. The literature on commercial rumour implicitly assumes that consumers will react to commercial rumours in a homogenous manner. However, most marketing scholars involved in studying cultural effects suggest that the culture of the buyer will influence their reaction specifically through their acceptance/rejection of the source attempting to refute the rumour. Therefore, any attempt to address commercial rumour without regard to the buyers’ cultural backgrounds may not be effective. An experiment was developed to test the effect of cultural background on choice of spokesperson to refute commercial rumours. The results of this experiment show that consumers from Eastern and Western cultural backgrounds respond in a different manner to spokespersons addressing commercial rumours. Their cultural backgrounds and values appear to influence their belief about the veracity of the source responding to the commercial rumours and their message. It is recommended that marketing personnel consider consumers’ and buyers’ core values when developing strategies for and selecting sources for controlling commercial rumours.