Newswise — Word of mouth, or informal consumer-to-consumer communication about a good or service, can greatly impact a company's reputation and profitability. Now, new marketing research in the Journal of Business Research, co-authored by Colleen Kirk, D.P.S., associate professor of management and marketing studies at New York Institute of Technology, examines how consumers' narcissistic personality traits may predict word of mouth.  

Given that many marketing promotions involve luck, and therefore losing, this paper offers valuable insight for marketers to better understand how consumers with narcissistic personality traits respond to losing a chance-based promotional game. Specifically, the paper addresses two forms of narcissism: narcissistic admiration, or the tendency to believe that one is special (e.g., “This good luck could only happen to me because I am so great!”), and narcissistic rivalry, or the tendency to believe that others are inferior. 

The findings show:

  • Both narcissistic admiration and rivalry increase consumers' belief in good luck but differ in how they impact word of mouth. 
  • While consumers higher in narcissistic admiration tend to react with more favorable word of mouth (i.e., leaving a review on a website), those higher in narcissistic rivalry tend to react with negative word of mouth.
  • These effects also vary depending on the effort that consumers exert to participate in the game, as well as their pride.


Journal Link: Journal of Business Research