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business-unit-level strategy

Persuasion via rational appeal: The cognitive response tradition of persuasion posits that the persuasive effectiveness of a message is a function of the individual’s cognitive responses to the message.11,12,13 If the overall cognitive response is positive, there will be persuasion; otherwise, the persuasive attempt fails or even boomerangs. Generally speaking, the success of a rational appeal thus depends on the strength and quality of arguments in the message, given that the recipient is able and motivated to process the message. Factual evidence can be in the form of statistics or personal testimonies. There is no evidence showing the advantage of one over the other. 14 If either ability or motivation to process the message is low, recipients are less likely to scrutinize message arguments, but tend to be influenced by non-content features of message, for example, message modality, channel, source credibility, etc. • Persuasion via emotional appeal: The most widely applied emotional appeal in persuasion is fear appeal. The term is sometimes interchangeable with the term threat appeal when the emphasis is on the informational content of the message, rather than the arousal it activates among the recipients. Meta-analyses have demonstrated strong evidence for the effectiveness of fear appeals.15,16 There is also evidence that guilt appeal is persuasive.17 • Fear appeal: A typical fear appeal message has two components: the threat component and the recommendation component. The threat component should present the risk information: the severity of the risk and the individual’s susceptibility to this particular risk. The recommendation component presents the recommended behavior to cope with the risk: the response efficacy, which refers to the effectiveness of the recommendation in removing the threat, and self-efficacy, which refers to the individual’s capability to enact the recommended behavior. • Guilt appeal: A typical guilt appeal message has two components: One presents materials to evoke guilt through drawing attention to some existing inconsistencies between the recipients’ standards and actions, the other describes the recommended behavior or viewpoint, which is meant to offer the prospect of guilt reduction.