Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Gabriel Cook

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The focus of this study is to explore the effect social media have on influencing consumers’ purchase intentions for different brands. More specifically, this paper aims to examine how different social media communication styles for a brand, such as firm generated content (FGC) and user generated content (UGC), influence consumers’ purchase intentions for different brands when valenced either positively or negatively. Firm-generated content is a communication style which is essentially a form of advertising that is completely controlled by a brand and follows a marketing strategy (Schvinski & Dabrowski, 2016). User-generated content is an original communication style created by consumers that are unrelated to any specific brand and is disseminated via the internet (Daugherty, Eastin, & Bright, 2008). The participants of this study were 61 undergraduate liberal arts college students from southern California. Participants in the study were exposed to various brand descriptions and social media posts and tasked with indicating their purchase intentions for these brands. The results of this study imply that different communication styles as well as different brand valences significantly influence consumers’ purchase intentions. Positively valenced brands positively influenced purchase intentions while negatively valenced brands negatively impacted purchase intentions. FGC was shown to have a more positive effect on purchase intentions than UGC, however, UGC was shown to have a strong negative influence on purchase intention when UGC posts were valenced negatively.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.