Sunday, 7 October 2012

Message Source

Source means the person involved in communicating a marketing message, either directly or indirectly. There are two types of sources - direct source & indirect source. Organisations evaluate carefully before choosing the type of source. They want their message to be delivered very clearly. The characteristics of the source affect the sales and advertising message.  Hence, it is very important to choose the right source.

Herbert Kelman developed three basic categories of source : credibility, attractiveness and power. Each influences the recipient’s attitude or behavior through a different process. A detailed analysis of the attributes is done below.


Fig 1.1 Source Attributes and receiver processing modes

Source Credibility

Credibility is the extent to which the recipient sees the source as having relevant knowledge, skill, or experience and trusts the source to give unbiased, objective information. 
Fig 1.2 Dimensions of Source Credibility
One reliable effect in communication research is that expert and/or trustworthy sources are more persuasive than sources who are less expert or trustworthy.A highly credible communicator is particularly important when message recipients have a negative position toward the product, service, company, or issue being promoted, because the credible source is likely to inhibit counterarguments. Marketers tends to use sources with a high credibility.The importance of using expert sources was shown in a study by Roobina Ohanian, who found that the perceived expertise of celebrity endorsers was more important in explaining purchase intentions than their attractiveness or trustworthiness. She suggests that celebrity spokespeople are most effective when they are knowledgeable, experienced, and qualified to talk about the product they are endorsing. One such example is shown below.



While expertise is important, the target audience must also find the source believable.

Finding Celebrities with a trustworthy image is difficult. Advertisers use various techniques to increase the perception that the sources are trustworthy. Another way of enhancing source credibility is to use the company president or chief executive officer as a spokesperson in the firm’s advertising. Many companies believe the use of their president or CEO is the ultimate expression of the company’s commitment to quality and customer service. In some cases, these ads have not only increased sales but also helped turn the company leaders into celebrities.

Several studies have shown that a high-credibility source is not always an asset, nor is a
low-credibility source always a liability. A very credible source is more effective when message recipients are not in favor of the position advocated in the message. However, a very credible source is less important when the audience has a neutral position, and such a source may even be less effective than a moderately credible source when the receiver’s initial attitude is favorable. hence, it depends on the company's discretion to choose the source depending on it's credibility.

Source Attractiveness

Source attractiveness another attribute which needs to be taken care before choosing a source.This encompasses similarity, familiarity, and likability. Similarity is a supposed resemblance between the source and the receiver of the message, while familiarity refers to knowledge of the source through exposure. Likability is an affection for the source as a result of physical appearance, behavior, or other personal traits. Source attractiveness leads to persuasion through a process of identification, whereby the receiver is motivated to seek some type of relationship with the source and thus adopts similar beliefs, attitudes, preferences, or behavior. Marketers recognize that receivers of persuasive communications are more likely to attend to and identify with people they find likable or similar to themselves. Similarity and likability are the two source characteristics marketers seek when choosing a communicator.

Source Power

A source has power when he or she can actually administer rewards and punishments to the receiver. As a result of this power, the source may be able to induce another person(s) to respond to the request or position he or she is advocating. The power of the source depends on several factors. The source must be perceived as being able to administer positive or negative sanctions to the receiver (perceived control) and the receiver must think the source cares about whether or not the receiver conforms (perceived concern). The receiver’s estimate of the source’s ability to observe conformity is also important (perceived scrutiny).determine whether compliance actually occurs. An indirect way of using power is by using an individual with an authoritative personality as a spokesperson.

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