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Effects of publicity source characteristics on consumer beliefs

5028 words (20 pages) Essay in Marketing

5/12/16 Marketing Reference this

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This study attempts to determine the effect of publicity source characteristics on consumer belief. Publicity sources which are included in this study are electronic media (television), print media (newspaper), and word of mouth. The individual characteristics of each publicity source were time slot, anchor / host and television channel for television. For newspaper the characteristics used were advertisement location on newspaper page, font size of ad, and color font size of ad. For word of mouth the characteristics used were personality of a person and trust. The results of the study were that all of the publicity sources do have an effect on consumers’ belief but among all the three publicity sources word of mouth and television have more influence on consumers’ belief. Word of mouth characteristic “family and friends are good source of information” and television characteristic “television channels are credible source of information” have more influence on consumer belief.



Publicity in general means the information that relates to a person, group, event, or product and that is spread through different media to attract public notice. There are many publicity sources through which a company gets their products and services to be noticed. This research paper attempts to study the characteristics of Publicity Sources which are Word of mouth, Electronic media (Television) and Print media (Newspapers). And that the individual characteristics of these sources have any affect on the consumer belief.

Importance of the topic:

The importance of the study is to evaluate the characteristics of word of mouth, television, and newspaper and their effect on consumer belief. This would be helpful in indentifying which publicity source has more effect on consumer belief. And which individual characteristic of the publicity sources is more influential.

1.2 Background of the study:

Various studies have identified the effect of publicity sources on consumer belief, but the individual effect of all the publicity source characteristics on consumer belief and their perception is not vastly studies yet. Whereas, this study differs from the previous studies on grounds of different culture, variables and time.

1.3 Objective of the study:

The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of the publicity source characteristics which are word of mouth, electronic media and print media on consumer belief. And how the characteristics of the individual source effect consumer belief. The characteristics of word of mouth are credibility of a person and personality, for electronic media TV channel, time slot, and anchor / host, for print media font size of advertisement, colored advertisement, and advertisement location on newspaper page.

The objective is to find out which of the publicity source has more effect on consumer belief. Publicity is usually generated from an organization’s public relations department and its objective is to gain media coverage. Effective publicity can convince customers to buy a product or service, get more customers into a store, enhance attendance at a special event, and help clarify misconceptions. Publicity source characteristics like for WOM credibility and personality, for newspaper font size, color advertisements, advertisement location on page, and for Electronic Media channel, time slot, and host are prevalent mechanisms by which consumer belief is altered.

1.4 Scope of the study:

The findings are based on a somewhat small sample; yet, they provide a useful framework for future research into the process of publicity source characteristics. This study is limited to the students of Iqra University, and most of the respondents were between the age group of 18 to 26.

1.5 Structure of the study:

This study is structured into five parts. In first part background of the topic is described. In second part review of literature has been done. In next part data and variables used in the analysis are explained. In fourth part the model and the statistical test to be used are discussed. And the last part concludes the results of the test.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

Effect of Word of mouth

Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication has a considerable effect on consumer behavior and both Bass (1969) and Moore (1995) recommended it was the most important factor influencing sales growth. The definition of WOM is “oral person to person communication between a receiver and a sender whom the receiver recognizes as non-commercial, concerning a brand, a product or a service”. WOM, if positive, is helpful for several reasons.

First, it is modified, as the informer portrays the information in a pertinent way to the

recipient. Second, it saves the recipient time and money in classifying appropriate

information. Third, at least if presented through informal sources, it is seen as independent, as the informer has no vested interest in the sale of the service, which adds to its credibility. Undoubtedly, given its non-commercial sort, WOM communication is viewed with less skepticism than firm-initiated promotional efforts (Herr et al., 1991)

In a situation in which there has been a decrease in consumer trust of both organizations and advertising, as well as a reduction in TV advertising, word of mouth (WOM) suggest a way to obtain a substantial competitive advantage.(International word of mouth marketing conference, 2005) On the other hand, there has been very little research into this essential topic. Further, little earlier period research has focused on what happens when WOM is received or on the circumstances in which WOM will be most effective in improving a receiver’s perceptions or actions. At its central part, WOM is a process of personal impact, in which interpersonal communications between a sender and a receiver can alter the receiver’s behavior or attitudes. The capability of individuals to influence other people’s attitude is of particular interest to organizations seeking to sell products and services, especially those marketing offerings that cannot be easily trialed prior to purchase

Further, earlier studies have identified some affirmative, functional consumer result of WOM. Since WOM is known to suggest vivid novel experiences that are pleasant when positive and denigrating and argumentative when negative, WOM receivers may be affected emotionally as well as rationally; the current study was an effort to improve our understanding of these factors.

Word of mouth marketing open out from one person to another in an unofficial setting without the influence of advertisers. A personal reference from a friend or someone familiar or trustworthy adds a coating of credibility about a specific brand, product or service. People are more tending to believe word of mouth marketing than other forms of promotion techniques because the person giving the suggestion is speaking honestly about the product or service. They are also unlikely to have a concealed motive, meaning that are not forced by an incentive for their referrals.

In order to build a great word of mouth promotion, individuals must use definite networking strategies that produce desired behavioral responses. An effective networking approach that creates effective word of marketing is to target key persons who are authority persuaders and have a high quantity of personal links.

Credibility of a person

Progressive future and flourishing life need discipline and character. These things are rooted into the way of our lives because of good education and communication with fellow human beings. A solid base of time tested assessed developed values put together a character to all of us. Lastly, anywhere we go we have our personality sub-consciously among us.

A person is character typified simply if he has sufficient credibility. Credibility is an important trait that is developed on the essentials of truthfulness, trustworthiness, authenticity, competence and commitment. Credibility gleam in the individuals who are morally inspired. Credibility is an essential instrument in enhancing a person’s skills. Credibility guarantees a person to earn the real esteem, assurance and confidence of others. To put up adequate credibility we must have a set of following essentials:

Truthfulness or Integrity

In easy words it means enduring for your values and be firm on your viewpoint. Integrity is a vital feature to gain the admiration and trust of others. Truthfulness is the cohesion with which you make your presence felt.


Reliability means trustworthiness; it is a very addictive breeding base for common trust and better interpersonal contacts. Evidence of reliability exists in the uniformity through which we give on obligation, promises and statements.

Reliability generally refers to anything or anyone who is perceived as trustworthy and stable in quality. Reliability is simply the uniformity of data. If a thing (e.g. a fact, material, or phenomenon) is subjected to the same behavior (e.g. queries, experiments, or applications) does it bring in the same outcome? If an authority approach was as easy as considering that a given news anchor will give a trustworthy answer, then switching from news station to news station looking for synchronization in the same story is a reliability approach.

Reliability approaches to credibility can be observed in the physical world. The fact that a person’s signature is seen as a sign of credibility in legal settings is the belief that a person symbols his or her name the same in a reliable fashion. Reliability is also seen as the keystone of good journalism where reporters must verify information with a second source. 


Competence is the collective attempt of knowledge application, experience and careful attempt to the best probable result for a given problem. When objectives have to be achieved at the earliest a person’s capability is the single helpful means that can see him through that objective. A capable person has lame excuses in his vocabulary. He will not blame anyone else for his failure, but will adapt himself to rectify the situation.


A proper canalization of one’s energy, eagerness, ability and opinions into completing a given project or notions is commitment. Commitment calls in for a rigid intellectual tenacity to accomplish the job at hand and see it all the way through. A dedicated person will not take it easy till he has completed his duty.

The finding that a source that lacks credibility is more persuasive than a highly credible communicator is explained by cognitive response if it is assumed that individuals have a positive predisposition toward the message issue. In cognitive response terms, those favoring the advocacy will feel a greater need to insure that a position with which they agree is being adequately represented when the source’s credibility is low than when the source’s credibility is high. Therefore, it is expected that these individuals will generate more support arguments and will be more persuaded by a source lacking in credibility. The find-ing that credibility has no systematic persuasive effect is consistent with cognitive response if it is assumed that individuals had a neutral initial opinion toward the issue. In this case, they are likely to generate a similar number of support arguments and counterargument in response to the appeal. In sum, by making reasonable assumptions about a message recipient’s initial opinions, cognitive response can order the persuasive main effect of credibility reported in previous investigations.


Trust is “the trait of trusting; of believing in the truthfulness and reliability of others” (WordReference, 2005). Trust is also referred to the readiness to rely (Doney, Cannon, & Mullen, 1998; Van & Sniezek, 2005) and has an optimistic attitude toward others (Whitener et al., 1998). One of the most frequently used explanations of trust is the following, “Trust is a psychological state encompasses the intention to accept vulnerability based upon optimistic prospect of the intention or behavior of another under condition of risk and interdependence” (Rousseau, 1998). It has also been described as a behavior (e.g., trusting behavior) by Mayer et al. (1995). Therefore, we cannot only use the term ‘trust’ and suppose its meaning is completely and appropriately understood. For the purpose of this study the description of trust suggested by Rousseau will be executed. That means, trust is not a conduct, it is a psychological condition in terms of beliefs and positive expectations. It has positive (or nonnegative) outcomes, requires mutuality (other parties) and developed under uncertain, risk and interdependence (Rousseau, 1998; Bhattacharya et al., 1998)

Personality of a person

Personality can be defined as a lively and ordered chain of traits acquired by a person that distinctively induces his or her perceptions, inspirations, and approach in different situations. The word “personality” is derived from the Latin word persona that means mask. Considerably, in the theatre from the earlier Latin-speaking people, the mask wasn’t used as a plot tool to conceal the personality of a character, but to a certain extent was a custom employed to represent or demonstrate that character.

The revolutionary American psychologist, Gordon Allport (1937) explained two main modes to examine personality, the nomothetic and the idiographic. Nomothetic psychology looks for common laws that can be used to many different people, for instance the theory of self-actualization, or the attribute of being concerned with the external environment rather than with ones own thoughts. Idiographic psychology is an effort to understand the unique characteristics of a specific individual.

The review of personality has a wide and varied history in psychology, with plenty of theoretical customs. There is no consensus on the explanation of “personality” in psychology. the majority of the researchers and psychologists don’t clearly identify themselves with a definite viewpoint and generally take an diverse approach. A few of research is empirically determined such as the “Big 5” personality model whereas other research highlighted theory development like psychodynamics. There is an extensive emphasis on the applied ground of personality assessment. In psychological teaching and education, the analysis of the kind of personality and its psychological development is generally reviewed as a precondition to courses in abnormal or clinical psychology.

Family and friends

Riesman and Roseborough (1955) and Parsons and his colleagues (1953) suggested that young people ascertain from their parents the “goal-oriented” or “rational” features of consumption. Latest research findings in the area of consumer socialization show to support this debate (Moore and Stephens 1975; Ward and Wackman 1973; Ward et al. 1977). Therefore, the adolescent’s frequency of communica-tion with his or her parents about consumption subject is expected to be related positively to the strength of the individual’s economic motivations for consumption. For instance, a study of youngster females by Brit-tain (1963) showed that in areas like taste in clothes, in which girls perceived their ideas to be like that of their peers, the girls have a propensity to favor peer-suggested alternatives. Likewise, another study suggests that the typical teenager is reactive to peer opinions on topics that the person perceives his or her peer to have parallel value perspectives (similar interest, opinions, and at-titudes), e.g., clothes selection and hair style (Remmers 1957)

Television’s effects are often invisible, because so many people watch television; its effects can become unseen. ‘Watching television is so common that we may simply be too immersed to easily observe its influence. As Allen (1992) describes, “It is the very ubiquity of television and the complex ways it is woven into the everyday lives of so many people that make it so hard to analyze. For many people television has the same position in their lives as the food they eat for breakfast or the way their faces look in the morning; it is rather so much a element of day-to-day existence that it remains unseen as something to be analyzed or consciously considered”.

Effect of Word of mouth

WOM has a strong impact on product and service perceptions, leading to changes in judgments, value ratings and the likelihood of buying (Arndt, 1967; Fitzgerald Bone, 1995; Peterson, 1989). Martilla (1971) found that WOM was more significant in the final stages of the purchase process as it reassured consumers and lessen post-purchase uncertainty. In earlier stages, customers were more likely to rely on unfriendly communication. However, the primary impact of WOM, which may reconcile these relationships, is on perceived risk. Positive WOM decreases risk during the evaluation stage of the consumer purchase cycle (Woodside and Delozier, 1976). WOM has been acclaimed as a key risk reducer for different forms of risk, comprising of functional, time, financial, psychological and social (Roselius, 1971; Settle and Alreck, 1989). These risk types can usefully be categorized into functional or financial risk, which is product-focused and relate to performance, and financial loss and social or psychological risk, which is consumer-focused and results from the consumer’s communication with their social environment (von Wangenheim and Bayo´n, 2004)

Effect of Electronic Media (Television)

Over the past years Pakistan has been flooded with new cable and satellite television channels, several of which offer gripping news coverage to television viewers, which recently had just one state-owned source of information. Today, there are many private cable and satellite TV channels that are reachable to the people who have access to a cable or satellite connection. These authoritarian modifications have had considerable implications on how news and information is spread, particularly in a state where television is the on the whole the most accessed medium. Conversely, radio remains well-liked in rural and difficult to access areas.


Pakistan popular television channel and their viewership

Percent of those who report watching the following channels. All figures represent percentages

Popular television channels

Previous week viewership

Pakistan tv channel 1, 2, or 3


Geo news


PTV News




Quran Tv


BBC, national survey of Pakistan, 2008, survey of adults, (15+), who had watched television in the previous week, n= 3115

Source: whos-watching-cable-state-run-access-rural-urban

According to the survey conducted by BBC, national survey of Pakistan, news channels have higher viewership in Pakistan in the year 2008. so it will have positive effect on the consumer perception and belief.

Television has become a very influential marketing medium, because it exercises control over information resources on which individuals and society in general depend to attain their objectives and cover their needs (Loges and Ball-Rokeach, 1993; Mcquail, 1998). Consequently, an important area of study is to investigate the functions of this media from the consumer perspective, including individual media associations and any derived effects such as publicity.

Numerous behavioral scientists have speculated that television may directly affect the youth’s acquisition of “expressive” aspects of con-sumption (Parsons, Bales, and Shils 1953; Riesman and Roseborough 1955; Bandura 1971). Research that sup-ports these thought shows that adolescents may aspire to the material blessings (e.g., clothes) of certain television person (Vener 1959). Television may also stimulate interpersonal discussions about consumption with others. Research findings of several studies show that young people are likely to converse with their parents (e.g., request) products they have seen advertised on television (Ward and Wackman 1972; Caron and Ward 1975; Frinders 1973; Burr and Burr 1977) Research also propose that young people may pay attention to television commercials and discuss them with their peers (Ward and Wackman 1971; Moore and Stephens 1975). On the basis of these speculations and research results it is expected that the extent of television viewing would be related positively to the adolescent’s strength of social motivations for utilization and ma-terialistic values, and to his/her frequency of communication with parents and peers regarding consumption matters.

Time slot and Anchor / Host

There are many people who prefer to watch television on particular timings, so time slot is also an important variable to be studied in this study. In Pakistan if we look at general habit of housewives they prefer to watch cooking channels in the morning time after doing all the house chores, where as men prefer to watch news in the evening time when they get back from the office. So the time slot might have effect on consumer’s perception.

Talking about effect of host / anchor on consumer belief, definition of an anchor can be that “televisions show in which renowned people, such as authorities in a specific field, take part in discussions or are interviewed and often answer questions from viewers or listeners. These days news channels have high viewer ship compared to other.

Effect of Print Media (Newspaper)

MORI Research carried out a phone and Internet survey of more than 3,000 youngsters for the Newspaper Association of America. The results of this survey were that “Newspaper advertising remains the foremost advertising form cited by consumers in planning, shopping and making purchasing evaluations” Newspaper advertising remains the most influential tool for advertisers who want to trigger off consumers to take action.

Newspaper deal with two types of publicity: paid and unpaid. Unpaid publicity generally takes the form of a story. In order to have a story written you need to initiate by writing a press release. A press release consists of identifying the organization, the contact person, the time in which the information can be released, a one-line review of the event, and some information on the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the event. Paid advertising takes the shape of display advertisements in the paper.

Effect of Colored advertisement and advertisement font size

The Canadian Newspaper Association (CNA), in association with Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA), conducted research on advertising effectiveness, research results from Canada between 2003 and 2009. The study is based on 26 studies carried out in this period. Findings of this study were that “Color ads are more likely to draw attention as compared to black and white ones” The advantage ranged from 14% to 34%.

All the studies included with the exclusion of the CNA’s 2004 survey were grounded on the Starch methodology. Starch uses live newspapers and all the ads incorporated in the newspaper are measured. Average scores are then analyzed for the ads in color vs. black and white. What this approach does not do is description for the impact of size, positioning etc. on the color resemblance. Since, for example, smaller size ads are read and noted less than larger size ones, if the greater part of ads using full color is smaller, the results will tend to underrate the impact of color in larger ads. Similarly, if all the color ads are incorporated in a section of the newspaper near the front or back, the results for the color comparisons will be influenced by that positioning. The 2004 CNA study was based on three harmonized samples. This allowed for analysis and control conditions to be set up in which the effects of all factors other than the one being tested were controlled for. Thus, the influence of color in this analysis was not affected by size, positioning or any other reasons that impact ad interpretation and noting. Instituting these controls showed the true impact of color to be 34%.

Advertisement location on newspaper

People can divest a newspaper advertisement from their attention by overlooking it (cognitive), skipping the page, or setting away an advertising section (behavioral). Only fifty seven percent of adult readers testify glancing at each page of a newspaper (Newspaper Association of America 1995). Traditionally, advertisement display is lower for advertisements on pages without editorial matter, advertisements on inside pages, advertisements in large papers, and advertisements in specific sections (Newspaper Advertising Bureau 1973). Lower opening and normal advertisement display rates can exhibit more besieged advertising strategies. Sunday papers are specifically fragmented. Readers turn to their preferred sections in much the way that Television viewers check their favorite channels.

Consumers are often doubtful about advertising and tend to tune them out. Publicity, on the other hand, is found supportive and more authentic; as a result, it is commonly clipped and sent to a friend. When consumers are exposed to an evaluation of new products or services, their frame of mind is entirely different from when they are exposed an advert. The consumer already recognize that in publicity the information given is considered to be honest and open in all aspects; while, in adverts they feel they only get to hear or read the bits the company of the product want them to be familiar with (Lamons, 2002)



3.1 Source of Data

The source of data in this study is primary, general public is my target population to get primary information from.

3.2 Sample size

Sample size for this study is 110 respondents. Data was collected from Iqra University students, and the average age of the respondents was between 18 to 26.

3.3 Variables to be studied

There are basically 11 variables in this study. For the word of mouth, credibility of a person and trust, for electronic media (Television) TV channel, time slot, and anchor / host, for print media (Newspaper) font size of advertisement, color font size of advertisement, and advertisement location on newspaper page. These are all independent variables. The dependant variable is the usefulness of the information received by television, newspaper and word of mouth.

3.4 Research hypotheses

Hypotheses for Word of mouth are:

H1: Family and friends has significant effect on consumer belief

H2: Trust is important factor for getting information has significant effect on consumer belief

Hypotheses for Television are:

H3: Information by TV channel has significant effect on consumer belief

H4: Program host / anchor has significant effect on consumer belief

H5: Time slot has significant effect on consumer belief

Hypotheses for Newspaper are:

H6: Font size of advertisement has significant effect on consumer belief

H7: Color advertisement has significant effect on consumer belief

H8: advertisement location on newspaper has significant effect on consumer belief

3.5 Regression model

Regression analysis has been used in this study. Basically Optimal scaling (CATREG) type is used because all the variables are ordinal. It means that the dependant variable and independent variables all are categorical.

Chapter 4

Results of the test and interpretation

This chapter contains the results of the descriptive statistics and Optimal scaling (CATREG) regression test analysis.

4.1 Results of the test and interpretation

After running the Optimal scaling (CATREG) regression test on SPSS following results were obtained:



Standardized Coefficients





Bootstrap (1000) Estimate of Std. Error

Family and friends are good source of information for getting information aboutgood restaurants in the city






Trust is important factor for getting information






Dependent Variable: Information received through Word of mouth is useful to you

The above coefficients table shows the effect of word of mouth on consumer belief. Comparatively out of the two variables, Family and friends sig. value is < 0.05. It is showing that Family and friends has significant effect on consumer belief. Whereas trust does not have any effect on the consumers' belief. So our hypothesis H1 is accepted and H2 is not accepted.



Sum of Squares


Mean Square
















Dependent Variable: Information received through Word of mouth is useful to you

Predictors: Family and friends are good source of information for getting information about good restaurants in the city Trust is important factor for getting information

The above ANOVA table tests the acceptability of the model from a statistical perspective. The regression row displays information about the variation accounted for by the model while the residual row shows information about the variation that is not accounted for by the model. Since the residual sum of squares i.e. 92.383 is far higher than regression sum of squares i.e. 17.617, which indicates that very less variation in usefulness of information received through word of mouth is explained by the model. But the sig. value is showing that word of mouth does have an effect on consumer’s belief.

As the ANOVA table is a helpful test of the model’s ability to give details about any variation in the dependent variable, it does not directly concentrate on the strength of that relationship.

So, in order to confirm the strength of the connection between the model and dependent variable, we have another table of model summary which is as follows:


Model Summary

Multiple R

R Square

Adjusted R Square

Apparent Prediction Error





Dependent Variable: Information received through Word of mouth is useful to you

Predictors: Family and friends are good source of information for getting information aboutgood restaurants in the city Trust is important factor for getting information

The above model summary table describes the strength of the connection between the model and the dependent variable i.e. usefulness of information received through word of mouth in this study. The value of R (the multiple correlation coefficients) is .400 or 40% which indicates weak relationship. The value of R square (the coefficient of determination) shows that about 16% variation in the usefulness of information received through word of mouth is explained by the model. The nearer the value of R2 is to 1, the better the model fits.



Standardized Coefficients




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