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Creativity Marketing Research Seminar Series

Location: ESCP Europe London Campus

Speakers and Themes

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Consumer fetish: The symbolic imaginary of consumer research

Eric Arnould
Julien Cayla

Abstract:

The concept of the fetish may be usefully employed in understanding the nature and effects of commercial ethnographical consumer research. While much has been written about the how of corporate ethnography, little has been written about the what, beyond the exemplary case study. Further, ethnography continues to be marginalized as an exploratory technique rather than strategic practice. Field research conducted over a range of firms in multiple industry sectors produces a different understanding. One of the surprising objects that corporate ethnography produces is the consumer as fetish. This consumer fetish is produced through practices of materialization, animation and conflation long recognized in the literature on fetish. The consumer fetish embodies various images, words and acts. The consumer fetish organizes firms' heterogeneous beliefs, desires, narratives, and practices into a reductive composite, often termed a persona. One produced we find consumer fetish constitutes a form of intra-organizational value that circulates within the firm. Finally, like fetishes generally, consumer fetish is produced to achieve certain tangible effects for firms but also begins to organize the activities of those who ostensibly created this quasi-object. This is conflation. We show that the current popularity of commercial ethnography in corporate settings is due in part to its production of fetishistic manifestations of the "real" that constitute something different than the representations common to other modes of figuration in market research. Moreover, the effect of fetish confronts us with a mode of figuration that differs from common practices of representation of market research whether of qualitative or quantitative results.

Our Speaker: Eric Arnould

Eric Arnould pursues research, teaching and practice under two banners, the first is sustainable business practices in which area his research has focused on fair trade marketing, demand side energy use, and sustainable agricultural production strategies. The second banner is that of consumer culture theory in which area he has helped to codify the field as well as several of its primary research directions, especially the sociocultural patterning of consumption and market cultures.
Arnould also edits his own blog: mktganthropology.

Arnould's recent publications (2011 to date):

Bardhi F, Eckhardt G & Arnould E (Forthcoming 2012) Liquid Relationship to Possessions Journal of Consumer Research. DOI:10.1086/664037
Press M & Arnould E (2011) How Does Organizational Identification Form? A Consumer Behavior Perspective Journal of Consumer Research. 38(4):650-666. DOI:10./1086/660699
Dion D & Arnould E. (2011) Retail Luxury Strategy: Assembling Charisma through Art and Magic Journal of Retailing. 87(4):502-520. DOI:10.1016/j.jretai.2011.09.001
Press M & Arnould E (2011) Legitimating Community Supported Agriculture through American Pastoralist Ideology Journal of Consumer Culture.  11(2):168-194.  DOI:10.1177/1469540511402450
Oneto S & Arnould E  (2011)  Alternative Trade Organization and Subjective Quality of Life: The Case of Latin American Coffee Producers Journal of Macromarketing 31(3):276-290. DOI:10.1177/0276146711405668

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From Service-Dominant to Practice-Dominant logic of markets: 
Exploring the interplay of human and non-human agency in the creation and evolution of a lifestyle sport market

Joonas Rokka - Rouen Business School
Kristine de Valck - HEC Paris
Joel Hietanen - Aalto University 

Abstract:

In this study we conceptualise markets from a practice perspective. While understanding of how markets emerge and evolve is key in marketing theory and practice, yet only recently concurrent views have challenged the neo-classical market definitions and offered new alternatives. These include approaches conceptualizing markets from the point of view of networks, institutions, performances, and most recently service-dominant logic. Our primary concern is the way that market change and market actors' agency has been viewed in prior accounts, in particular, by focusing mainly on human agency and actors, i.e. consumers and marketers. Drawing from practice theory, the authors propose a more holistic approach for understanding market emergence and evolution by adopting a site-ontology of markets that is used to analyze the development of a lifestyle sport market over a period of 20 years. Findings contribute to existing theory on market creation and evolution by illustrating how human agency with its asymmetrical relationship with non-human agency - in the interplay of spatial, temporal and material practice elements - plays a distinctive role in directing the course of markets. Further, a practice-dominant framework of markets is implied, revising the service-dominant logic to account for non-human agency and its implications for understanding market dynamics.

 Our Speaker: Kristine de Valck 

Kristine de Valck is Associate Professor of Marketing at HEC Paris. She earned her PhD at RSM Erasmus University with a thesis about the knowledge and friendship networks in virtual communities of consumption. Her research focuses on online consumer networks, consumer tribes, and the role of the Web 2.0 in co-creation, marketing, and market research. Specifically, her expertise relates to group dynamics, natural and synthetic (i.e., firm-generated) word of mouth, as well as the use of consumer-generated content for business development and marketing. At HEC, she has developed various courses about social media marketing. One of these courses (Web 2.0 Marketing Communications - HEC Paris) is freely available at iTunesU and has been among the top downloads since 2010. Her work has been published in outlets such as the British Journal of Management, Decision Support Systems, Journal of Interactive Marketingand the Journal of Marketing. She has also contributed to various edited books.

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Are retail stores dinosaurs?

Charles Arthur Ingene

Abstract:

Retail stores are periodically predicted to be headed for extinction, to be replaced by online merchants. Such forecasts ignore a central facet of retailing: products must be transported from points of purchase to places of utilization. But who bears the transport burden? Stores may sell to customers who carry their purchases home. Retailers may augment store offerings with online catalogs, giving consumers the option of buying in store and carrying merchandise themselves, or placing an order and taking delivery. Retailers without stores must deliver whatever they sell. Three spatial-pricing plans model these possibilities: Cash-and-Carry, Menu, and Spatially-Discriminatory pricing which extracts all surplus from all consumers.
Previous research using these plans has (unrealistically) assumed equal costs of carrying by customers or delivery by retailers, one market segment, and one demand curve. We extend the literature by modeling carrying costs that differ from delivery costs, market segments with unequal carrying costs, and three demand curves that are widely used empirically.
From this original basis, we derive a retailer's optimal spatial-pricing plan. We find that, over a wide range of parametric values, the optimal plan is either Cash-and-Carry or Menu. Only if carrying costs are (roughly) greater than delivery costs does Spatially-Discriminatory come to the fore. We conclude that stores are not dinosaurs, doomed to extinction at the hands of online merchants; rather, they are vibrant members of the retail trade that are unapt to disappear in very many lines of retail trade.

Our Speaker: Charles Arthur Ingene

Charles Arthur Ingene is Distinguished Professor of Business Administration & Professor of Marketing at the University of Mississippi;
A.B. (Washington University in St.Louis); A.M. (Brown); Ph.D. (Brown)

Research Interests: 
Distribution Channels, Competition, Retailing, Supply-Chain Management

Ingene has served as a chaired professor at the University of Washington, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; and, on sabbaticals, at Syracuse University and the University of Virginia.  He was founding director of the Centre for Retail, Transportation and Distribution Management at the University of Washington; and, was recently Director of the Asian Centre for Brand Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
He twice earned teaching awards for his undergraduate classes at the University of Washington, and was named "Teacher of the Year" by the MBA students at the University of Mississippi for 2001 - 2002 and again for 2004 - 2005. 

His research includes employing game theory to assess pricing contracts in distribution channels; utilizing mathematical modelling to gauge pricing and location issues in retailing; and using uncertainty theory to investigate the economics of externalities, migration, and international trade. He has also used large-scale databases to explore retail productivity, competitive strategy, and determinants of medical expenditures.

Professor Ingene has published extensively in top academic journals, including Marketing Science, Management Science, Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (JAMS), Journal of Retailing (JR), Marketing Letters, American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Theory, Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Regional Science, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Geographical Analysis, and Harvard Business Review. 

He was the Journal of Retailing editor (1992 - 1996), and is currently an Associate Editor of JR. Ingene also serves on the editorial review boards of Marketing Science, JAMS, and the Journal of Real Estate Research, amongst other journals. He has been a Best Reviewer for JAMS (1997 - 2000; 2009) and JR (2005, 2009, 2011).


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Consumer Perceived Ethicality (CPE) of brands and companies - New insights and implications 

Katja H. Brunk

Abstract:

While it is generally assumed that consumers' ethical perceptions of brands and companies are either built on first-hand experiences or other concrete information, this qualitative exploration demonstrates that ethical perceptions can be influenced by processes outside the company's direct control. Specifically, in the absence of concrete information or personal experience, consumers may infer ethical beliefs. Four distinct types of cues may instigate ethical inferences and act as surrogate indicators. The results suggest that controlling ethical perceptions and subsequently overall corporate reputation becomes increasingly challenging.

Our Speaker: Katja H. Brunk

Dr. Katja H. Brunk is a post-doc research fellow at ESMT - European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, Germany,and the holder of a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship from the EU. Following many years as a marketing practitioner and consultant, she left the corporate sector to join academia and fully pursue her passion for research. Katja holds a PhD in Management Science as well as an MBA from the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management in Brussels, Belgium. Her work on consumer perceptions of corporate ethics has been published in the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, and Advances in Consumer Research and has been presented at the annual conferences of the Association for Consumer Research, the American Marketing Association, the Academy of Marketing Science and the European Marketing Academy.

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Conspicuous consumption reflects how redistribution influences perceived social justice

Barbara Briers
Klaus Wertenbroch

Breagin K. Riley

Abstract:

We build on recent economic theories of redistribution and beliefs about social justice to explore consumption behavior in its political and macroeconomic context.  We develop a theory of conspicuous consumption as an indicator of consumers' beliefs about the effect of economic redistribution on social justice and on the deservedness of income: Consumers spend more on conspicuous goods when they think that redistribution regimes enhance rather than undermine social justice, depending on consumers' just-world beliefs. Specifically, redistribution enhances conspicuous consumption among those who do not believe that the world is just yet undermines it among those who believe that the world is just. We support our theory with data from three laboratory experiments and a national consumer survey and examine the effect of redistribution at both societal (taxation) and individual (compensation structure) levels.

Our Speaker: Barbara Briers

Barbara Briers obtained her Ph.D. in business administration at the University of Leuven (Belgium) with a dissertation on the marketing of cooperative behavior. Her research concerns social marketing (i.e., donation behavior), cooperation in general, the influence of money and redistribution of wealth on consumption behavior, and various social issues such as poverty and obesity. She teaches consumer behavior and experimental research.
A list of her publications can be found here.

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Islamic activism and new media

Elif Izberk-Bilgin 

Abstract:

While there is considerable research on religion and ideology in social sciences, researchers have given little attention to how the interplay of these influential forces informs brand attitudes. Notably lacking are examinations of consumer activism fueled by religious ideology. This is concerning given that brand avoidance driven by fundamentalist beliefs is not always substantiated; yet it can have adverse effects on profits and tarnish brand image. New media such as Facebook and Twitter seem to contribute this problem by rendering activism convenient and, largely, anonymous. Despite the potent role Internet has come to play in dissemination of ideologies and social mobilization (e.g., Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street), there is little theorizing on the interplays among religious ideology, activism, and new media. This etnographic study focuses on Islamic cyber-activism and finds that activists pursue a virtual jihad against transnational brands as an economic and non-violent means of asserting Islamic values and identity in the marketplace. The study contributes to consumer activism literature by highlighting the role of religious discourse and authorities as market-structuring forces.

Our Speaker: Elif Izberk-Bilgin

Elif Izberk-Bilgin is assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Bogaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey, an M.B.A. with specializations in Marketing and International Business, and a Ph.D. from University of Illinois-Chicago.

Prof. Izberk-Bilgin's research focuses on consumer activism, Islamic marketing, branding, and sociological aspects of consumerism in emerging countries. Her work has been published in Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, Consumption, Markets and Culture, and Advances in Consumer Research. She also has book chapters in Consumption and Spirituality, Beyond Hofstede: Culture Frameworks for Global Marketing and Management, Oxford Handbook of Happiness, and McDonaldization: The Reader.

Prof. Izberk-Bilgin's research has been featured in Time and has garnered international attention. She has been invited to give a lecture at the Said School of Business, Oxford University, and has been selected as Young Leader 2011 to represent United States at the American-Swiss Foundation's Young Leaders Conference. She offers consulting to industry leaders and frequently presents her research at national conferences.

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