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Wednesday 30 October 2013

What makes social media so popular?

In a research paper named The Extended Transportation-Imagery Model: A Meta-Analysis of the Antecedents and Consequences of Consumers' Narrative Transportation, ESCP Europe professors Tom van Laer and Luca Visconti have united with peers from Maastricht University to discuss: "What makes stories so popular?"

Stories have the power to change people's behaviour. For example, 162 years ago, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin played an important role in galvanizing public opinion against slavery. Abraham Lincoln is even reported to have called Stowe "the little woman who wrote the book that made this great [Civil] war!" More contemporary examples include the persuasive power of Latin American telenovelas, which influence family planning choices and enrolment in adult literacy programs, as well as Internet users sharing written stories, photos, and videos, about themselves and their market experiences, with interested consumers through social media.

Despite this widespread belief in the persuasive power of stories though, scholars and practitioners alike still knew little about how stories persuade. The authors have conducted research into cause and effect, which constitute the central questions of this article.

The paper is an international research project, jointly written by Tom van Laer (Assistant Professor of Marketing, London), Luca Visconti (Associate Professor of Marketing, Paris), and Ko de Ruyter and Martin Wetzels of Maastricht University.

You can read the article in full when it is published in February 2014 in the Journal of Consumer Research. Before then, the pre-publication version is provided for free online via the JCR website.


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