The Word of Mouth Dynamic: How Positive (and Negative) WOM Drives Purchase Probability: An Analysis of Interpersonal and Non-Interpersonal Factors

Rodolfo Vázquez-Casielles, Leticia Suárez-Álvarez and Ana-Belén del Río-Lanza

University of Oviedo

Management slant

  • WOM has long been recognized as a powerful force affecting the consumer's attitude and choice.
  • Positive WOM has a stronger impact on brand purchase probability than negative WOM.
  • The sender's strength of expression has the greatest influence for both positive and negative WOM, followed by how actively WOM is sought.
  • The effect of WOM (positive or negative) is conditioned by the receiver's previous loyalty.
  • When the sender is perceived as knowledgeable, the receiver is motivated to actively seek information (positive or negative WOM) from him or her.
  • Firms should pay particular attention to the consumers who are most motivated to seek advice actively in order to maximise their exposure to positive communications from senders perceived as knowledgeable and with whom they have strong ties.