Personal Information and Human Branding: Drivers and Consequences of Celebrity Gossip
Despite its big size and consumer relevance, the gossip market has remained largely unexplored by marketing research. We investigate the consumption mechanisms in the gossip market by focusing on celebrities, key actors in this large business. Gossip is one of the primary sources of information that consumers use to build their image of a celebrity and relate to the human brand. Across a set of experimental studies, we investigate when and why consumers engage in celebrity gossip and which are the consequences of gossip for human brands. We find that gossip about celebrities is most commonly shared because consumers experience high excitement and low guilt. In addition, we look at the impact of gossip (vs. self-disclosure) on consumer’s evaluation of the content and the celebrity. Somewhat unexpectedly, we found that negative information delivered via gossip increases consumer’s liking and appreciation of the celebrity, also as an endorser. We aim at offering useful insights for human brands and their managers on how to deal with personal information sharing and gossip.