Emotions and sentiment: An exploration of artist websites

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1002/pa.1653
Date01 May 2018
AuthorElsamari Botha,Christine Pitt,Åsa Wallström,Jan Kietzmann
Published date01 May 2018
SPECIAL ISSUE PAPER
Emotions and sentiment: An exploration of artist websites
Christine Pitt
1
|Jan Kietzmann
2
|Elsamari Botha
3
|Åsa Wallström
4
1
Division of Industrial Marketing, Royal
Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm,
Sweden
2
Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser
University, Vancouver, Canada
3
University of Stellenbosch Business School,
Stellenbosch, South Africa
4
Luleå University of Technology, Luleå,
Sweden
Correspondence
Jan Kietzmann, Beedie School of Business,
Simon Fraser University, 8888 University
Drive Burnaby, Vancouver, British Columbia
V5A 1S6, Canada.
Email: jkietzma@sfu.ca
Artists of all genres express their emotions through their creations and market their works online.
We argue that in marketing their work online, it is important to understand not only the
emotional responses of the artistic works themselves but also that the sentiment evoked on their
websites matters. Developing the correct website sentiment can have favorable consequences. It
can increase the interest of potential consumers, assure that appropriate expectations are set for
the actual consumption experience, and lead to increased sales and word of mouth marketing.
Online sentiment that is illaligned to the emotions the actual offering evokes can have adverse
consequences, including disappointment with the actual offering and buyers remorse. To better
understand the online sentiment of artistswebsites, we begin by briefly revisiting the interplay
between art, emotions, and the issue of online sentiment.Then, we describe a study of a sample
of artistswebsites that had the objective of gauging both the nature of and the extent of the
emotions present in its text, as well as gaining an indication of the sentiment of the website.
We describe the use of a relatively new content analysis tool to do this. Following this, we
explore the data gathered, with the specific purpose of determining whether the emptions
expressed on artistswebsites can significantly predict sentiment, if so, which emotions tend to
be the strongest predictors. We conclude by discussing some managerial implications of the
results and by identifying avenues for future research.
1|INTRODUCTION
Artists of all genres express their emotions through their creations, and
their finished works echo those emotions. This is true of graphic artists
and sculptors, choreographers, poets, dramatists, authors, music com-
posers, and performers. Moreover, artists also create with the intention
of evoking some emotional response in their viewers or audiences,
whether that emotion be anger, fear, disgust, joy, or sadness. In the
works of the great painters, for example, Lichtenstein intended for his
Grrrrrrrrrrrto evoke anger and his Frighten Girlto induce fear, Bacon
for his Study after Velazquezs Portrait of Pope Innocent Xto arouse
disgust, Matisse intended for his Dance IIto conjure joy, and Picasso
his The Weeping Womanto bring forth sadness (see the website
Artsology http://www.artsology.com/artemotion.php for some beauti-
ful examples of these). Emotions also become a critical component of
arts marketing. Artist and arts marketers use various emotions to create
awareness of their offerings in their target markets, to reinforce their
messages emotionally, and to hopefully exploit the emotional reactions
of audiences in such a way they will respond positively to the artistic
offerings by purchasing art and recorded works, attending perfor-
mances, and visiting galleries and displays.
Websites have become a very important marketing vehicle for art
offerings of all kinds. The work of music composers is available not
only on mass retailing sites, such as iTunes and Amazon, but also on
small intimate websites owned and managed by artists themselves.
Poets and authors can distribute their offerings in similar fashion.
Theaters, dance companies, and art galleries use websites as tools for
communicating with their publics and also as vehicles for preselling
or selling tickets and soliciting donations. Many graphic artists use their
websites not only to show their paintings and sculptures and to discuss
them with devotees and potential customers but they also use them as
distribution channels. Buyers can click on the picture of a painting or
sculpture, read about it, and, once having made the purchasing deci-
sion, purchase it. Interesting questions remain: If artists use their works
to convey emotions and if these emotions are also evoked in their
audience by the works themselves, then to what extent do art
websites convey emotions? More specifically, what particular emo-
tions do art websites convey, and how do they vary, and how do these
emotions in turn determine the overall tone or sentiment of the
website? These are the questions we seek to address in this paper.
We proceed as follows: We begin by briefly revisiting the interplay
between art and emotions and noting the various classifications and
categorizations of emotions and their effects on human behavior and
interaction. Next, we consider the issue of sentiment,which has
not only become a key target of computerized content analysis but a
central variable of interest in gauging the nature of online content.
DOI: 10.1002/pa.1653
J Public Affairs. 2018;18:e1653.
https://doi.org/10.1002/pa.1653
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/pa 1of4

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