The depicted service employee in marketing communications: An empirical assessment of the impact of facial happiness

Magnus Söderlund*, Sofie Sagfossen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Employees are often depicted in service firms’ marketing communications material. This study examines one particular aspect of such depictions: the signaling of happiness in terms of the employees’ facial expressions. It is assumed that depicted faces transmit emotional signals, that receivers are hardwired to react to such signals, and that the emotional signals influence the outcomes of the receivers’ information processing activities. Our empirical results show that this was indeed the case: employee display of happiness was positively and significantly associated with employee evaluations. The contribution of employee happiness remained significant when other characteristics of the depicted face (e.g., attractiveness) were controlled for. Our results also show that employee evaluations had a positive impact on the overall evaluation of the offer of the employee's firm, and that the employee evaluations mediated the association between employee display of happiness and the evaluation of the offer.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Volume38
Pages (from-to)186-193
Number of pages8
ISSN0969-6989
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • Depicted faces
  • Emotions
  • FaceReader
  • Facial expressions
  • Happiness
  • Service marketing

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