Nav: Home

Embracing negative comments can help corporations increase consumer trust

January 26, 2016

Washington, DC (January 26, 2016) - Public trust is incredibly hard won once a corporation has been mired in negative publicity. Volkswagen and Chipotle face huge obstacles in regaining consumers after debacles, but can simply owning up to their transgressions on social media really help? A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Youngstown State University found that embracing supporting and opposing perspectives to comments by a corporation can enhance its trustworthiness.

Hyejoon Rim (University of Minnesota) and Doori Song (Youngstown State University) published their findings in the Journal of Communication. The researchers conducted an experiment with 124 online participants to examine how the public's comments and the sidedness of a company's responses affect the public's attribution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) motives, perceived negativity of the comments, and attitudes toward a company.

The public's comments were adopted and modified from actual websites where a multinational company's promotional video and campaign information were posted, then manipulated to either positive or negative. The researchers separated responses into two categories: one-sided, where only desirable attributes of the campaign were addressed; and two-sided, where favorable and unfavorable attributes were addressed.

The researchers found potential benefit in using two-sided message strategy (addressing both self-serving and public-serving motives of CSR campaign) to deal with the public's skepticism toward CSR. Incorporating two-sided messages to respond to negative comments may increase perceived altruism and reduce perceived negativity of reported CSR and comments, and enhance positive public attitudes toward the company. 

Previous studies have demonstrated the importance of delivering CSR messages that mitigate suspicion of ulterior motives because when people distrust the sincerity of a company's motives, the message backfires on the company and hurts its reputation.

"Given that the most challenging task in CSR communication lies in enhancing perceived altruism and managing negative public comments over which the company has limited control, the findings may guide corporate communication managers to leverage CSR communication on social media," said Rim. "As the study demonstrated, the public may appreciate a company for being transparent and honest rather than exaggerating its socially responsible practices."
-end-
"'How Negative Becomes Less Negative': Understanding the Effects of Comment Valence and Response Sidedness in Social Media," by Hyejoon Rim and Doori Song; Journal of Communication, doi:10.1111/jcom.12205 Contact: To schedule an interview with the author or a copy of the research, please contact John Paul Gutierrez, jpgutierrez@icahdq.org.



About ICA


The International Communication Association is an academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication. With more than 4,500 members in 80 countries, ICA includes 28 Divisions and Interest Groups and publishes the Communication Yearbook and five major, peer-reviewed journals: Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, Human Communication Research, Communication, Culture & Critique, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. For more information, visit http://www.icahdq.org.

International Communication Association

Related Social Media Articles:

Social media use by adolescents linked to internalizing behaviors
A new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media are more likely to report high levels of internalizing behaviors compared to adolescents who do not use social media at all.
Social media stress can lead to social media addiction
Social network users risk becoming more and more addicted to social media platforms even as they experience stress from their use.
Many post on social media under the influence of drugs -- and regret it
Posting on social media, texting, and appearing in photos while high is prevalent among people who use drugs--and many regret these behaviors, according to a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health.
'Fake news,' diminishing media trust and the role of social media
Exploring the perception of the 'fake news' phenomenon is critical to combating the ongoing global erosion of trust in the media according to a study co-authored by a University of Houston researcher.
How gender inequality is reproduced on social media
Researchers from Higher School of Economics analyzed 62 million public posts on the most popular Russian social networking site VK and found that both men and women mention sons more often than daughters.
Social media privacy is in the hands of a few friends
New research has revealed that people's behavior is predictable from the social media data of as few as eight or nine of their friends.
Excessive social media use is comparable to drug addiction
Bad decision-making is a trait oftentimes associated with drug addicts and pathological gamblers, but what about people who excessively use social media?
Negative social media behaviors may be associated with depression in millennials
Certain social media factors were linked with major depressive disorder (MDD) in a Journal of Applied Biobehavioural Research study of millennials.
Social media is affecting the way we view our bodies -- and not in a good way
Young women who actively engage with social media images of friends who they think are more attractive than themselves report feeling worse about their own appearance afterward, a York University study shows.
Using social media to weaken the wrath of terror attacks
Governments and police forces around the world need to beware of the harm caused by mass and social media following terror events.
More Social Media News and Social Media Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.