Conferences

Annual Symposium: Consumers, Brands, and the Mandate for Accountability

Overview

Today more than ever, brands must stand for something beyond the products or services they sell. What does brand accountability look like today with heightened consumer awareness of the societal impact of individual actions in an altered global economy? Transparency, sustainability, and authenticity are critical, and while there is no one blueprint for success, all brands must get it right.

In our two-part virtual symposium, academic experts and business leaders will offer varied perspectives on the role of companies and brands as “citizens” of the post-covid world.

Through interactive panels, academics experts will discuss how the brand “mandate for accountability” can be addressed by basic principles of marketing as well as new research. Business leaders will offer case studies and views grounded in experience. Topics will include:

  • Customer Insights to Building an Authentic Brand
  • The Rhetoric of Marketplace Morality: A Consumer Perspective
  • How Marketers Can Encourage Consumers to Embrace Brands that Do Well by Doing Good
  • Why Brands Should Not Take Stands
  • Building a Social Enterprise

The presentations will be short, interactive, and structured for this new virtual format. Member attendees – insights and marketing research leaders – will be invited to actively engage live with speakers. Space is limited and attendance is free for MSI members.

Agenda

06/03/2020

June 3, 2020

2:00 – 2:10 p.m. Welcome Reception
Barbara Kahn, University of Pennsylvania & Marketing Science Institute
2:10 – 2:30 Re-envisioning Marketing in an Age of Risky Business
Susan Fournier, Boston University
Four forces that are diminishing the strategic function of marketing and company investments in brand assets: financialization, “juniorization” of staff, data-driven digital marketing, and the customer equity paradigm. These challenges come at a time when new risks from socio-demographic, economic, and political (SEP) factors are disrupting brand management, and social media amplifies these risk exposures. Using a first-of-its-kind database accumulating 1534 risk events from 2018-2019, Susan Fournier reports how brand-related risks comprise the majority of all risk events, with SEP risks comprising well over one-half of all events. These brand risks now incurred, exacerbated by chronic under-investments in brand assets, have evolved into enterprise-level issues demanding attention of the Board. Susan presents a solution involving a re-envisioned CMO role centered not only on growth but also enterprise risk management and supported by new governance and reporting mechanisms.
2:30 – 2:50 Why Brands Should Not Take Stands
Grant McCracken, Cultural Anthropologist, Co-founder, Artisanal Economies Project
In this presentation, cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken takes the contrarian position that when brands "take a stand" they betray their responsibility to the consumer and the first tenet of capitalism. Taking a stand speaks to some consumers and should probably be honored in most brand strategies. But when they make this a key branding objective, brands make marketing all about them and their view of the world. The first idea of marketing says the consumer is king. It's not about us. It's about them. Grant will investigate one way to put the consumer back at the center of marketing.
2:50 – 3:10 The Rhetoric of Marketplace Morality: A Consumer Perspective
Sankar Sen, Baruch College
When marketers communicate, they speak increasingly in not just commercial voices but moral ones as well. Company engagement in and communications about CSR/sustainability are at an unprecedented high. What formats work best for such communications? In this talk, Sankar Sen will discuss consumer reactions to CSR communication that call into question the efficacy of certain conventional approaches and pervasive communication formats, such as humor, storytelling, and multiple appeals, in producing positive, pro-company responses from consumers. The findings point to the uniqueness of marketer communication in the moral domain and underscore the challenges companies face in communicating successfully about their CSR/sustainability initiatives.
3:10 – 3:30 Building a Social Enterprise – A Purpose With a Brand Vs. a Brand With a Purpose
Laura Fruitman, Co-Founder & GM, The Right To Shower and Entrepreneur in Residence, Unilever
As consumers look to drive social sustainability, what is the role of brand? How can you drive value for consumers who want to make a difference but don’t know how, while also delivering profitability? A social enterprise model can help drive impact for consumers and for society in an authentic virtuous circle. Hear from the Founder & GM of The Right To Shower, a social enterprise built as a start-up within Unilever, that has launched a range of soaps and cleansers, and donates profits to bring showers to people living on the streets.
3:30 – 3:45 Discussion and Wrap-up
Barbara Kahn, University of Pennsylvania & Marketing Science Institute
06/10/2020

June 10, 2020

2:00 – 2:10 p.m. Welcome & Introductions
Barbara Kahn, University of Pennsylvania & Marketing Science Institute
2:10 – 2:30 Bet Against Your Beliefs? The (Private) Value of a Social Identity
Carey Morewedge, Boston University
Consumers engage in a variety of costly public behaviors, forgoing personal rewards that would conflict with their loyalties and commitments to others, beliefs, and ideals. They support politicians who would raise their taxes, pay too much for hybrid cars, and burn new sneakers in protest. These painful signals convince others of the identities they profess, but are consumers also trying to convince themselves? When we offer consumers real and hypothetical bets against the success of their preferred U.S. presidential candidates and MLB, NFL, and NCAA basketball and hockey teams, they exhibit a substantial reluctance to engage in emotional hedging—betting against the occurrence of desired outcomes. More than 45% of NCAA basketball and hockey fans, for instance, turned down a “free” real $5 bet against their team. In this presentation, Carey Morewedge will show how to quantify the private value of a social identity, and we explain how and when the identity signal a behavior reveals to oneself outweighs its pecuniary benefits.
2:30 – 2:50 Be Real: Customer Insights to Building an Authentic Brand
George Newman, Yale University
How do consumers naturally think about authenticity when evaluating CSR activities and routine business practices? In this talk, George Newman will draw insights from relevant business cases as well as a number of experiments designed to get at consumers’ underlying psychology. Participants will learn some of the central ways that brands can communicate authenticity to consumers, some of the ways in which such claims can backfire, and the psychological frameworks which help to ground those insights within a broader theoretical perspective.
2:50 – 3:10 How Can Marketers Encourage Consumers to Embrace Brands that Do Well by Doing Good?
Katherine White, University of British Columbia
Consumers consistently report that they want to purchase brands and products that make the world a better place. But when brands offer “social good” options, consumers do not always follow through on those good intentions. Kate White will present ways to encourage consumers to embrace social good products and behaviors. In particular, she will outline 5 psychological factors that can encourage consumers to choose social good options. These 5 psychological drivers are encapsulated by the acronym SHIFT—Social Influence, Habit Formation, Individual self, Feelings and Cognition, and Tangibility.
3:10 – 3:25 Discussion and Wrap-up
Barbara Kahn, University of Pennsylvania & Marketing Science Institute

Speakers

Susan Fournier

Boston University

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Laura Fruitman

Co-Founder & GM, The Right To Shower and Entrepreneur in Residence, Unilever

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Barbara Kahn

University of Pennsylvania and Executive Director, Marketing Science Institute

Grant McCracken

Cultural Anthropologist, Co-founder, Artisanal Economies Project

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Carey Morewedge

Boston University

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George Newman

Yale University

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Sankar Sen

Baruch College

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Katherine White

University of British Columbia

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Susan Fournier

Appointed to the deanship of the Questrom School of Business at Boston University in 2018, Susan Fournier is the School’s first female dean and its first academic leader in over 40 years. Priorities under her leadership are to drive “research that matters;” build distinction in the areas of health, digital business, and social impact; and reinvent Questrom’ s business model to better align with evolving market segments, shifts to online offerings, and corporate partnerships as sources of value creation and capture.

Susan has served 26 years as a marketing academic, 15 of these at Questrom, with previous roles as Professor of Marketing, Questrom Professor in Management, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Research, and Director of the MBA and PhD Programs. She held prior academic appointments at Harvard Business School and Dartmouth Tuck School.

With over 24,000 Google Scholar citations, Susan ranks among the top 10% of business academics in terms of impact. She is credited with five major research awards, including the Long-Term Contribution to Consumer Behavior and the Most Significant Contribution to Marketing Theory & Practice. Current research projects explore shareholder value creation through branding, the riskiness of person-brands, and board-level enterprise risk management practices necessitated by the contemporary socio-political environment.

Susan has also published over 30 Harvard teaching cases in the brand strategy domain, many with best-seller status. In her role as President and Founder of the Institute for Brands & Brand Relationships, she seeks to build bridges between academics and business practitioners on strategic branding matters. She consults with a range of companies on branding issues to inform her leadership, teaching, and research.

Prior to her academic career, Susan served as VP at Young & Rubicam Advertising and in market research management roles at Polaroid Corporation and Yankelovich Clancy Shulman.

Laura Fruitman

Laura Fruitman is the Co-Founder and General Manager of The Right To Shower, a social enterprise and personal care brand that offers high quality shower products that help bring showers to people living on the streets.

As an Entrepreneur in Residence at Unilever, she has utilized the resources to concept, develop and bring to life this brand, with a vision to ensure that all people are able to enjoy the transformative experience of a shower every day.

Prior to founding The Right To Shower, Laura has twelve years’ experience in beauty and personal care in a variety of brand roles including TRESemmé, Dove and Clinique. She was awarded Advertising Week’s “Future is Female” award, and The Right To Shower was honored as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies of 2020,” Allure’s “Best of Beauty,” and Refinery29’s “Beauty Innovator Awards.”

She received an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA from Tufts University.

Barbara Kahn

Grant McCracken

Grant McCracken is a cultural anthropologist. He holds a PhD from the University of Chicago. He is the author of 12 books including most recently Culturematic, Flock and Flow, and Dark Value. His new book A New Honor Code will be publishing Simon and Schuster in January 2021. He is the founder of the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum. Grant has taught at Harvard, University of Cambridge, and MIT. He is a co-founder of the Artisanal Economies Project. He is the inventor of The Griff, an early warning system for social and cultural change. He consults widely, including Google, Ford Foundation, Kanye West, Netflix, Sony, Coca Cola, Sam Adams, Boston Book Festival, Oprah, PBS, State Farm, NBC, Diageo, IBM, Nike, and the White House. He is credited with spotting the rise of Donald Trump, the fall of Second Life, and the disruption of CPG by the Alice Waters and the artisanal movement.

Carey Morewedge

Carey K. Morewedge is Professor of Marketing and Everett W. Lord Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Boston University. His research examines the psychological causes, consequences, and correction of bias in judgment and decision making. Using a mix of laboratory, field, and longitudinal experiments, he tackles basic and applied problems from why people won’t bet against their children, political parties, and favorite teams to developing interventions that reduce cognitive bias and improve decision making over the long term. Prior to joining Boston University, he was a Postdoc at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and served on the faculty as the Director of the Center for Behavioral and Decision Research at Carnegie Mellon University. His PhD is in Social Psychology from Harvard University. Awards recognizing his work include Marketing Science Institute Scholar in 2018, Top 40 Under 40 MBA Professors from Poets & Quants in 2016, Most Theoretically Innovative Article of the Year from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology in 2010, and Ideas of the Year from the New York Times in 2009. 

George Newman

George Newman is Associate Professor of Marketing and Management at the Yale School of Management. He also holds affiliated appointments in the department of psychology and the department of cognitive science at Yale University.
 
He is an expert in consumer behavior and consumer decision-making. His recent work focuses on questions related to the concepts of authenticity, identity, and the self. He has published more than 50 articles in leading scholarly journals, and his research has been featured in popular media outlets such as the New York Times, Scientific American, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist. He has led seminars on various marketing and management topics for senior executives in North America and Asia.

Sankar Sen

Sankar Sen is Lawrence and Carol Zicklin Chair of Corporate Integrity and Governance, and Professor of Marketing at Baruch College. His research interests lie in the areas of consumer decision making and sustainability/corporate social responsibility. He has lectured extensively on this topic in academic, company, and industry forums in North and South America, Europe, and Asia and has consulted for various companies.

Sankar's research has appeared in both academic and practitioner journals, and he is co-author of a book, Leveraging Corporate Responsibility: The Stakeholder Route to Maximizing Business and Social Value, published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.

Sankar is an associate editor of the Journal of Consumer Research, and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Marketing, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Academy of Marketing Science Review, and Corporate Reputation Review. He has received several outstanding reviewer awards, as well as numerous teaching awards from various institutions during his academic career.

Sankar received his PhD from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Katherine White

Kate White is Professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Canada. She is Chair of the Ethics and Sustainability Group at UBC and she holds a professorship in Consumer Insights, Prosocial Consumption, and Sustainability. Kate teaches courses in consumer behaviour, consumer insights, social influence, marketing strategy, and sustainability/ social marketing at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels.

Kate was identified as an up-and-coming Young Scholar by the Marketing Science Institute and in 2015 she was honored as one of the top 5 Marketing Researchers in the world by the American Marketing Association. Kate is co-author of the leading Consumer Behaviour Textbook in Canada (Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, Being). She currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing Research and is on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Consumer Psychology. She is Editor of an upcoming special issue of the Journal of Association for Consumer Research called “The Prosocial Consumer.”

Kate has been the lead on various large-scale consumer behaviour-change projects with clients such as The City of Calgary, Health Canada, My Sustainable Canada, DDB Canada, BC Hydro, Big Rock Brewery, The United Way, and the SPCA, and Celgene Health Care. Kate’s industry collaborations focus on shifting people towards various types of positive, sustainable behaviour change.

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