Damaged corporate reputation: Can celebrity Tweets repair it?
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These days, many corporations engage in Twitter activities as a part of their communication strategy. Corporations can use this medium to share information with stakeholders, to answer customer questions, or to build on their image. In this study we examined the extent to which celebrity Tweet messages can be used to repair a damaged corporate reputation, and how this message should be designed and what celebrity should be 'used'. In two experiments, a 2 × 2 (attractive celebrity versus intelligent celebrity) × (personal message versus general message) design was used. In total, 163 respondents first expressed their feelings regarding the two organisations in a baseline reputation measurement (M = 4.72 on 7 point Likert scale). After that a news items was presented communicating a big fraud and mismanagement, resulting in a decreased reputation score (M = 4.10). In the final stage one of the four experimental Tweets was presented, aimed at repairing the damaged reputation, which succeeded (M = 4.43). For both organisations, the crisis prime significantly decreased reputation scores, and the Tweet significantly increased reputation score again. The analysis of variance shows a main effect for type of celebrity. In our experiment the intelligent celebrity's Tweet was best to use. The study reveals that celebrities' Tweets can restore a positive public opinion about corporations. This study shows that when it comes to serious matters, an intelligent celebrity, who has the best fit with the topic, is of best impact. Consequences for corporate communication and future research are discussed. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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