Second Person Pronouns Enhance Consumer Involvement and Brand Attitude

Ryan E. Cruz, James M. Leonhardt, Todd Pezzuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Online brand messaging, e.g., blogging or posting on social media platforms, has an important role in digital marketing strategy. Such messaging is largely text based and provides an opportunity for brands to interact with many consumers simultaneously. The marketing literature, however, has yet to provide sufficient guidance on effective online brand messaging strategies. In particular, research has yet to address how the inclusion of second person pronouns in online brand messaging affects relevant consumer outcomes. The present research proposes that second person pronouns should work to enhance consumer involvement and brand attitude as a result of increasing the extent that consumers engage in self-referencing. A field study involving actual brand posts on Facebook and two subsequent experiments provide support for this hypothesis. In addition, drawing on cultural dimensions theory, individual levels of collectivism are identified as a boundary condition. The presence (vs. absence) of second person pronouns in online brand messaging enhances involvement and brand attitude for consumers that are lower, but not higher, in collectivism. The results provide marketers with needed guidance for creating effective online brand messaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-116
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Interactive Marketing
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Brand attitude
  • Collectivism
  • Consumer involvement
  • Second person pronoun
  • Self-referencing


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