Given the growing popularity of the Internet as a promotional medium, it is crucial for brand managers to examine the effects of combining the different brand communication sources online. According to social comprehension theory and knowledge from neuroscience, people exposed to a message spontaneously construct a mental simulation. People who are exposed to images or visuals are unlikely to assign verbal labels to their observations, whereas people who read a story may spontaneously form mental pictures of the narrative content. Mental processing of stories requires more extensive elaboration than processing of visuals. In a first study, survey results indicate online news articles about a brand are more likely to be acted upon by users than are advertisements. A second study considers integrating news articles and advertising when promoting new brands on the Internet in order to benefit from a synergistic effect. Previous studies examining a synergistic effect in marketing communications have looked at the increased effectiveness of combining multiple media or different tactics when promoting a brand. Experiment results from the second study indicate that when exposure to advertising combines with exposure to objective news about a new brand, effectiveness increases in terms of both ad and brand attitudes.
Micu, A. (2010). Telling the brand story: Including news articles in online promotional strategies. Management & Marketing, 5(2), 67-84.