I teach Psychology & Advertising, and an Integrated Communication Management case course based on a managerial decision framework. I teach this management course at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Also, I teach integrated campaigns and take a branding focus to that capstone course. Teaching, service, and research information is available in my CV.
Specifically, my research stream is grounded in a deep interest in explaining and predicting linkages among consumer attitude, affect, cognition, behavioral intent, and consumer behavior. I am fascinated by this chain, which has been well developed in traditional mass communication contexts. Yet, the experiential/entertainment/live/face-to-face nature of events/sponsorship, along with the duality of event sponsorship, deserves process models that are distinct. For this reason, the context/vehicle of my work is often (sponsored) events. The theories I tend to develop or rely on as framework to explain or predict outcomes of efficacy in event sponsorship are: affect transfer theory, resistance theory, schema theory, social identity theory, image transfer theory, and congruency theory.
My consumer & branding research tested in the experiential context of events falls into these areas:
▪ Testing the relationships among attitude, affect, cognition/product knowledge, behavioral intention, and consumer behaviors
▪ Evaluating how consumers process and respond to sponsorship as a communication tool and/or channel at live events
▪ Isolating the role of consumers’ perception of a company as socially responsible and how that relates to the perceived sincerity or altruism of a corporate sponsor
▪ Understanding consumer attitudes towards a non-profit event beneficiary and how that impacts the public relations component of corporate sponsorship
▪ Studying issues related to maintaining customer relationships and the role of hospitality in the context of sponsored events
▪ Explaining how consumer engagement is what drives attitude lifts towards title sponsors
▪ Explaining the key role of the consumer’s activeness in the event domain (e.g., sport) on their attitudes toward the event and the affect transfer to the title sponsor
▪ Explaining and predicting word-of-mouth and e-word-of mouth/social media behavior for events or sponsors
▪ Explaining and predicting sponsorship patronage
▪ Building “market resistance theory”-why consumers may resist special events and the associated market rituals
▪ Explaining how events bring a specific consideration of affective forecasting
▪ Explaining how exactly fit matters- mainly why consumers’ perceived fit between an event and title sponsor is more of a concern to sponsors vs. venues
The importance of this research relates to a change of media vehicles from traditional media to purportedly more engaging experiential communication. With rapid growth comes the need for theoretical understanding of the whys, hows, and boundary conditions of what activates event sponsorship in communication for brands and non-profits. Sponsorship is one of the fastest growing elements in the modern marketing mix and has a $60.2 billion global market (IEG 2017). Companies from banks to hospitals are investing more in experiential event marketing and sponsorship; a next stage is to broadly explain these process models in terms of social gravity—bringing and pulling consumers into ideas, movements, values, lifestyles via the events, sponsorships, brands, and social connection (online and offline) with other consumers. I see the social gravity element as a deeper theme to continue exploring. Thus, recent research focuses on the community element of an event, and how the event brings members of the community together for a common purpose.
My research often comes from fieldwork with events and sponsor brands. Information on some fieldwork research projects that have corporate funding is here. I provide recommendations to implement consumer-based marketing strategies. Consumers often love events, so consider adding experiential event sponsorships in your marketing portfolio. This theory-based research shows ROI on event marketing and or sponsorship investments. Events are on the upswing, as is the measurability of sponsored events.
Future scholarship will continue theory development, building upon these process models, replicating them in different event contexts, and adding new dimensions. Working papers involve the development of the cognitive aspect in sponsorship processing, such as testing how consumer visual processing and need for cognition play a distinct role in awareness of the sponsorship, attention to the brand logos close to the center of action, and ultimately sponsorship efficacy. This work in progress ties together lessons learned from researching how consumers process, understand and/or act on sponsorship messages and how events/sponsorships can be a way to engage consumers.
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