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CHAPTER 4 CREDIBILITY COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 1 Prepared by Robert Gass & John Seiter
CREDIBILITY DEFINED Definition: “Judgments made by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator” (O’Keefe, 1990) Credibility is not synonymous with charisma or leadership Credibility is also referred to as “Ethos” Credibility is a crucial element in persuasion COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2
“Celebritocracy” We are living in a culture that worships the rich and famous Third-Person Effect People see themselves as less susceptible to advertising and others as more susceptible The Match-Up Hypothesis: A good fit between the endorser and the brand is essential Meaning Transfer Perspective: An endorser’s persona is projected onto the brand Usain Bolt and Gatorade Justin Bieber and Proactiv CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3
FALLING STARS Celebrity scandals rub off onto the sponsor Tiger Woods was dropped by Accenture, Buick, Gatorade, and other sponsors following revelations of marital infidelity He has since regained $54.5 million in endorsements, but that is far less than the $105 million he once enjoyed Michael Phelps Kellogg's dropped him, but Speedo and Subway stuck with him, after his “bong” photo surfaced Lance Armstrong was dropped by Nike like after his admission of doping to win the Tours de France Rock Ross, of U.O.E.N.O., was dropped by Reebok following controversy over rape lyrics in songs Rihanna was dropped by Nivea for being too sexy and too controversial for their brand COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 4
CREDIBILITY DIMENSIONS Credibility is a receiver-based phenomenon Credibility is perceptual, it exists in the eye of the beholder Credibility is a multi-dimensional construct it is a composite of multiple factors Credibility is situational It varies from one context to another Credibility is dynamic It changes over time, even during a short period of time COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 5
PRIMARY DIMENSIONS OF CREDIBILITY Expertise (competence) The persuader has knowledge, skills, knows his/her stuff Trustworthiness (character, integrity) The persuader is honest, safe, dependable Goodwill (perceived caring) The persuader takes a genuine interest in you Note: William Benoit (2004) says that expertise is the most important of all three COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 6
If you were selecting a surgeon Expertise: licensed, board certified Has performed the operation numerous times Trustworthiness: won’t bill you for unnecessary procedures Goodwill: bedside manner, compassion, rapport If you were selecting a mechanic Expertise: licensed, trained, experienced Familiar with your make and model Trustworthiness: honest, won’t rip you off Goodwill: friendly, knows your name, remembers you as a customer PRIMARY DIMENSIONS APPLIED COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 7
SECONDARY DIMENSIONS OF CREDIBILITY There are multiple, secondary dimensions of credibility Secondary dimensions are more situation specific Dynamism (extroversion) A source is energetic, enthusiastic Composure (poise) A source is calm, cool, and collected Sociability (Likeability) A source is friendly, warm, charming COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 8
THE FACTOR ANALYTIC APPROACH AND THE REAL WORLD Employees who rate their managers as high in “expertise” and “trustworthiness” tend to have higher morale (Kouzes & Posner, 2011) COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 9
Credibility typically functions as a peripheral cue in persuasion Credibility matters more when receivers have low involvement Credibility matters less when receivers have high involvement It’s What’s Up Front that Counts A source’s qualifications must be given prior to presenting evidence/testimony Providing source qualifications afterward may be ineffective CREDIBILITY AS A PERIPHERAL CUE COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 10
THE SLEEPER EFFECT The persuasiveness of messages changes over time Most messages lose effectiveness over time The Sleeper Effect is an exception to the general rule A message initially advocated by a low credibility source may increase in persuasiveness over time The source and the message must be disassociated by using a discounting cue Without the “ball and chain” of the low credibility source, the message becomes more persuasive Absolute versus Relative sleeper effects COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 11
COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 12 Absolute sleeper effectRelative sleeper effect initial pre-test initial pre-test delayed post-test delayed post-test High credibility source Low credibility source With discounting cue High credibility source Low credibility source With discounting cue Amount of attitude change ILLUSTRATION OF THE SLEEPER EFFECT
CREDIBILITY AND IMAGE MANAGEMENT Credibility extends to government agencies, institutions, organizations, social movements Institutions have images and reputations to maintain AIG bailout IRS and politicized audits The CIA after September 11, 2001 When an institution’s image is tarnished, it must engage in image restoration Hence the importance of PR, media “spin,” community involvement COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 13
Most Admired Companies Apple Google Amazon Coca-Cola IBM FedEx Berkshire Hathaway Starbucks Proctor & Gamble Southwest Airlines Tarnished Halos Susan G Komen Foundation, cut off aid to Planned Parenthood Catholic Church’s priest abuse scandal White House and Benghazi BP oil spill IRS CIA and WMDs in Iraq Corporate Social Responsibility Ronald McDonald House, Make A Wish Foundation, United Way COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 14 CREDIBILITY AND IMAGE MANAGEMENT
How would you rate the credibility of the following organizations? American Trial Lawyers Association NRA Congress United Nations McDonald’s Philip Morris Wal-Mart Pretend you are the head of a PR firm representing one of these companies What steps would you take to enhance or restore their credibility? COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 15 IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT
Prepare thoroughly. Never “wing it” Be organized, fluent, composed Manage your time carefully Anticipate likely questions Cite evidence and source qualifications Cite credible sources and evidence within your presentation State your own background and expertise Demonstrate that you know what you are talking about Build trust by identifying with your audience Emphasize similarities, common values, shared goals Display goodwill by showing that you care Be genuine, authentic Show you have your listeners’ interests at heart COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 16 STRATEGIES FOR ENHANCING CREDIBILITY
Improve your likeability be friendly, sociable Adapt your language style to your audience Avoid a powerless style of communication “like,” “uhm” disclaimers, “Can I start over…?” Emphasize your similarity to your listeners shared values, common goals Increase listener involvement to promote central processing receivers with low involvement tend to pay more attention to credibility Have an admired source introduce you COPYRIGHT © 2014 PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 17 STRATEGIES FOR ENHANCING CREDIBILITY
CREDIBILITY 1. Credibility counts 2 "ethos is the most potent of all means of persuasion" (Aristotle, The Rhetoric, 1356a) “To become a celebrity.
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