Crowdfunding Rhetorics - A quantitative study on rhetorics used in crowdfunding pitch videos
Abstract: Crowdfunding as a global phenomenon is gaining momentum and establishing its market role as a new source of funding. Both as a complement and a substitute to traditional funding. However, the market is still in its infancy, constantly evolving and little research has been done on the subject, especially on the Swedish market. Meanwhile, guides on how to successfully craft a crowdfunding campaign are emerging, where including a pitch video is commonly advised. Despite this, academic knowledge on how the content of the video affects the level of funding is still limited. This thesis is focused around one aspect of the video content, namely the rhetorics used by the entrepreneurs on the leading Swedish crowdfunding platform FundedByMe. The study was conducted on a dataset containing 63 non-financial, i.e. reward and donation- based, campaigns. All financial forms of crowdfunding were excluded as different drivers, such as financial returns on investment, can be assumed to be motivating the funders. Three rhetoric themes in the campaign videos are studied as well as their effects on the funding level entrepreneurs receive. The rhetoric themes leveling, certainty and commonality are frequently used in and have been studied in other forms of crowdfunding situations, such as political fundraisers and microloan pitches. The video pitches were analyzed using the content analysis software application DICTION 7.0. It was found that neither certainty nor commonality terms have any positive correlation with the funding level, while leveling terms have a significant positive correlation. This shows that the use of rhetorics that enhance identification and reduce perceived distances positively influence the crowd to invest. Results suggest that rhetorics can in general influence the crowd's funding decisions, why it is important for entrepreneurs to carefully consider their use of words in the pitch videos. Additionally, to put the research results into practice, a dictionary of leveling terms is provided. It can be used by crowdfunding platforms to offer further guidance to entrepreneurs on how to craft more efficient pitch videos.
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