The study has uncovered the psychological meanings of the words and phrases associated with crowdfunding success and failure, and come up with a number of findings which will provide valuable insight for entrepreneurs when preparing their pitches.
First, the use of positive emotion words were associated with a higher likelihood of funding success. The greater use of positive emotion, anxiety, sadness, hear, and feel words is associated with more immersion, indicating that entrepreneurs may have nothing to hide and are credible and trustworthy, resulting in a positive effect on funding success. In contrast, see and space words (e.g., down, inside) draw attention away from the self and show less cognitive complexity. These words exhibit subtle hints of deceptiveness possibly arouse suspicion among potential backers, thus exerting a negative effect on funding success.
Second, successful projects more frequently used words indicating personal relevance and social interactions (i.e., following the reciprocity, liking, scarcity, and social proof principles) which help build up a rapport with potential backers. Biological words such as gender, drive-related words such as affiliation, work-related, and female reference words reflect the universal social and personal concerns.
Last, present tense and future tense words were negatively associated with crowdfunding success, as they imply elements of uncertainty and result in negative violations of backer expectations.
Prof Peng said, "Crowdfunding pitch narratives provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to carefully craft their messages to improve their chance of success. Project creators should choose words that are indicative of the goals and objectives, help build up their reputation, credibility, and social rapport with potential backers. In other words, entrepreneurs should 'speak the same language' when providing relevant information to potential backers. While they should avoid words exuding negative sentiment and lack of assurance, narratives of high cognitive complexity will enhance the persuasiveness of their project pitch." She added that backer expectations may vary across the types of products, project creators should carefully choose the words and phrases that relate to the unique features of the specific product category.
According to Prof Cui, this study is among the first to apply advanced text analysis to investigate the effect of linguistic styles on message persuasiveness in marketing research and that the study has further confirmed the power of language in effective marketing communications for crowdfunding success.
The research findings were published in the latest issue of the international academic journal Marketing Letters.
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