Tuk, M. A., Verlegh, P. W. J., Smidts, A. & Wigboldus, D. (2009). Sales and sincerity: The role of relational framing in word-of-mouth marketing. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19(1), 38-47. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2008.12.007

In word-of-mouth marketing, marketers often provide financial rewards for referrals. These rewards introduce a financial motive into an interaction among friends or acquaintances, which may harm the perceived sincerity of the referring customer. We show that this negative effect can be mitigated by disclosing the presence of financial motives, but also by the activation of a market pricing (‘sales’) relationship norm. However, such a norm has a negative effect on compliance with the referral. The effects of relationship norms are strongest when cognitive capacity is impaired, which suggests that the influence of relationship norms occurs outside the awareness of consumers. Conversely, the impact of disclosures is stronger when consumers have full cognitive capacity available.
Keywords: word of mouth, relational models theory, persuasion knowledge

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057740808001307