This report will discuss whether Word-of-Mouth (WOM) communication is the most powerful force for change but the least accessible. Therefore, latest research findings will be examined in regard of common patterns of WOM. Additionally, prospective aspects for further research will be defined.
1. Definition of Word-of-Mouth
Firstly, the research of Word-of-Mouth reaches 50 years back discussed by Arndt (1967), Dichter (1968) and Day (1971). According to Arndt Word-of-Mouth is defined as “oral, person-to-person communication between a receiver and a communicator whom the receiver perceives as non-commercial, concerning a brand, a product or a service.” (1967). The definition includes three important aspects. Firstly, Word-of-Mouth is always interpersonal and can be differentiated from mass communication such as advertisement. It also indicates that Word-of-Mouth is excluded from third-party sources such as consumer reports, rating portals and social media content because it is not transmitted directly from person to person. Secondly, Word-of-Mouth given from a sender to a receiver is free of commercial intention or motivation because the sender is willing to talk about the product or service without being incentivised. However, the last aspect indicates that the content itself is commercial as the sender speaks about his experience with a particular brand or service. It can be said that the non-commercial transmission of information about a brand is an immense strength of Word-of-Mouth (Nyilasy, G., 2006).
Thus, “with the growth and evolution of the Internet, electronic peer-to-peer referrals have become an important phenomenon” (De Bruyn, 2008). This means, that the increase of internet access increases the internet based communication and formed a new definition: electronic Word-of-Mouth. The traditional definition of Word-of-Mouth differs from electronic Wordof-Mouth in how information is transferred (Lis, 2014). According to Hennig-Thurau electronic Word-of-Mouth is defined as “any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual, or former customer about a company or product, which is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet” (2004). Based on Hennig-Thurau’s definition Wordof-Mouth is accessible via internet channels such us email, chat, skype, messages and also social media, online communities, blogs and corporate websites.
- Quote paper
- Julia Zöllner (Author), 2015, Word of Mouth. Critical Analysis of Impact and Accessability, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/301011