The OBU Brand Lab is no more. After almost a decade at OBU, I have moved on to do data analysis, research, and consulting for Quantiful, where I am working with government agencies, research institutes, marketing firms, and others. I very much enjoy the branding research I was able to do at OBU, and I look forward to continuing to answer interesting research questions in the years to come!
The OBU Brand Lab blog is paused while I work on some new brand-related online endeavors for 2014. I’ll update this site with more info when it is available.
Since October, we’ve been busy finishing up the semester and writing some of our own manuscripts (more on that soon). At the same time, I’ve been reading many fascinating new research articles that fit well with our point of view on consumer-brand relationships, so, based on the assumption that you might be interested in the same kinds of ideas (why else would you be here?), below are four new articles and a special issue you may want to check out:
- Martin Mende, Ruth N. Bolton, and Mary Jo Bitner (2013). Decoding Customer–Firm Relationships: How Attachment Styles Help Explain Customers’ Preferences for Closeness, Repurchase Intentions, and Changes in Relationship Breadth. Journal of Marketing Research. Ahead of Print.
This paper shows how customers’ attachment styles predict buying behaviors and interaction preferences for their relationships with their insurance company. The role of attachment styles in consumption behavior is something we have written about before (and found tricky to use in our research), so this article is particularly impressive to me and is something worth checking out.
- Nitika Garg and Jennifer S. Lerner (2013). Sadness and Consumption. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 23(1), 106-113.
This research report explores effects of induced sadness on consumers’ consumption behavior (i.e., in this case, how many M&Ms they ate). It’s a concise illustration of the influence of a discrete negative emotional experience on consumption.
- Rod Duclos, Echo Wen Wan, and Yuwei Jiang (Ahead of print). Show Me the Honey! Effects of Social Exclusion on Financial Risk-Taking. Journal of Consumer Research.
Like the paper above, this research demonstrates the effects of a particular affective experience (i.e., social exclusion) on a specific consumer behavior (i.e., pursuing riskier financial opportunities with the potential for big gains). Social connectedness and loneliness are two topics my group has studied for a long time, and this paper does a great job of illustrating the effects of these social emotions.
- Edward F. McQuarrie, Jessica Miller, and Barbara J. Phillips (Ahead of print). The Megaphone Effect: Taste and Audience in Fashion Blogging. Journal of Consumer Research.
This article combines three interesting research areas: fashion, taste, and online influence. There are many books that need to be written at the intersection of these topics, and, if you would like to think more how these areas fit together, this article is a good place to start.
- Special Issue on Consumer Identities. (2012). International Journal of Research in Marketing.
This is one is from 2012…but December 2012…so I’m only cheating a little, and it deserves a recommendation: This issue presents eleven articles exploring issues related to consumer identities, incorporating everything from IKEA, Facebook, expatriates, masculinity, politics, and more. If you want to learn more about how identity is tied to brands and consumption, spending a few hours browsing these papers would be an excellent way to accomplish that goal, whether you are primarily interested in consumer behavior theory, in practical application, or how those two fit together.
It’s been a chaotic start to a new school year, so I have been slower to post new content here than I would like. With five minutes to go until Fall Break, here are three quick observations:
- Pinterest sent me the following list of popular boards in their most recent weekly email to Pinterest users:
I am concerned at the possibility that they perhaps could not have found many topics I would find less exciting. (Maybe if they had included boards focused on self-immolation or bulk-sized mayonnaise?)
- Something I did put on the OBU Consumer Psychology Pinterest board was this AdWeek.com article about seven types of archetypal brand stories. Studying consumer-brand relationships, I find it compelling to think about the kinds of narratives that we consumers build about the brands we like, and for brand management practitioners, I assume that part of the job is making available the emotional and experiential raw materials that consumers can use to craft their own brand stories.
- Finally, I am looking forward to teaching a new course next semester on judgment and decision making. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the ways we humans make choices, factors that affect the accuracy and efficiency of our judgments, and the various strategies we use in interpersonal negotiations. I could not find a perfect textbook, so in addition to journal articles, I am planning to ask students to read from Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow (which I love), Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating (which I am certain undergraduates interested in social psychology and consumer behavior will love), and Max Bazerman and Don Moore’s Judgment in Managerial Decision Making (which distills many big ideas and complex issues into understandable chapters).
Yay for Fall Break!
This week I deleted my personal Facebook account. As a consumer behavior researcher, I felt a little hypocritical for leaving. After all, I have done social network research using a Facebook app (with these guys), I have studied how Facebook relates to different motives for fame and narcissism (with a psychologist friend), and I have even relied upon Facebook posts to recruit participants for some of my brand studies. In addition, I love reading fascinating studies examining what makes online content viral or what kinds of motives drive different people’s Facebook use.
However, also as a consumer behavior researcher, I have grown increasingly uncomfortable about the kinds of data I share (on purpose and unintentionally) on Facebook. I have felt uneasy when served ads apparently influenced by the content of private messages from people close to me, and I am familiar with studies suggesting Facebook sessions could position us to feel worse than we did before. Likewise, some of Facebook’s design choices seem intended to discourage users from keeping their data to themselves, which I find disheartening. (There are some sociocultural implications of constant exposure to network- and behaviorally-targeted advertising that I am still thinking through as well, but those are not Facebook-specific.)
All that to say, I recognize that Facebook provides an engaging and free service and I benefit professionally from the fact that other people use it, but I am happy to take a break and see how my personal and professional social network evolves post-Facebook.