Ph.D. Accomplishments

 Jeff Carlson defended his dissertation, “Exploring the Importance and Value of Studying Subjective Time in Marketing Management.”

Wei Chen defended his dissertation proposal, “The Effect of Regulatory Resource Depletion on Consumer Decision Making.”

Ann Jansson Vredeveld defended her dissertation proposal, “Consumer-Brand Engagement: Cultural and Moral Manifestations” and received the following awards: Ph.D. Program Summer Fellowship, AMA Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium Fellowship, ING Global Ph.D. Fellow, University of Connecticut School of Business Dean’s Pre-doctoral Fellowship, and University of Connecticut Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

Selcan Kara received the Marketing Department Ph.D. Student Teaching Award and Ph.D. Program Summer Fellowship.

 Bin Li, Zahra Tohidinia, and Nian Wang received the Ph.D. Program Summer Fellowship.

Shuai Yang defended her dissertation, “Two Essays on Matching Strategy in Paid Search Advertising” and has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Donghua University (Shanghai) beginning in Fall 2014.

Abstract: An Empirical Study of Response Alternatives in Direct Mail

2014 Marketing Science Conference, June 2014, Atlanta, GA

Nian Wang. Co-author: Joseph Pancras, Hongju Liu, and Malcolm Houtz

Many consumer goods such as books, DVDs, magazines are sold through catalogs with ‘buy now, pay later’ offers. Firms in such markets face the challenge of predicting what types of customers will not pay for the product, termed ‘bad debt’ customers, since such bad debts pose significant costs for firms. Such firms also need to understand consumer’s propensity to return products, since this is also costly for firms. This paper proposes a new model considering both the bad debt and return simultaneously, and applies the model to the data obtained from a Spanish book company. We find that the extra mailings have a greater influence on bad debt, and that historical bad debt behavior influences the probability of return. These findings help improve the firm’s targeting policy, and also point to the potential for more elaborate modeling of the tradeoffs between the bad debt and return.

Abstract: Product Line Positioning Strategies and Firm Financial Performance

2014 Winter Marketing Educators Conference, Poster Session, February 2014, Orlando, FL

Shan Lin, Co-authors: Bill Ross, Hongju Liu

This article provides an empirical investigation of the effects of six product line positioning strategies (high, medium, low, high–medium, medium–low, and high–medium–low) and three primary branding strategies (corporate branding, house-of-brands, and mixed-branding) on firms’ financial performance—cash flow and idiosyncratic risk—after controlling for firm size, leverage, profitability, profits volatility, market-to-book ratio, current liabilities, acquisitions, and advertising spending. This research illustrates that as one of the marketing instruments, product line positioning strategy matters. Narrower product line positioning strategies are associated with higher cash flow and lower firm idiosyncratic risk, while broader product line positioning strategies are associated with lower cash flow and higher firm idiosyncratic risk. In addition, branding strategies have a significant impact on firms’ cash flow but not idiosyncratic risk. In addition, product line positioning strategy moderates the relationship between branding strategies and cash flow but not the relationship between branding strategies and firm idiosyncratic risk.

Abstract: An Exploration of the Effect of Language on Processing of Numbers in Alphanumeric Brand Names

SCP Conference, March 2014, Miami FL

Selcan Kara, Co-authors: Kunter Gunasti, Rod Duclos, and Bill Ross

Language structure is an influential factor on numerical cognition. We explore whether consumers’ number processing in ANBs (Alphanumeric brand names) can be related to differences in the language structure of the numeral system they use. For example, some languages, such as Chinese, have very systematized numeral systems; once you know the numbers 1 through 10 you can easily process any other number. Other languages, such as Turkish, require the knowledge of a new word for each tens digit. Some languages, such as English have unstructured wording for numbers below twenty. Certain languages, such as German, use backward wording for a verbal representation. Finally, on the extreme side, some languages have even more complex systems; for example, French has a partial vigesimal (20) system and other irregularities; and they process the number 91 as four twenties and eleven. Thus, the aim of this research is to understand variations in consumer perceptions of ANBs resulting from linguistic differences in numeral systems for five different languages, English, German, French, Turkish, and Chinese. As the results of an international experiment revealed, comparative evaluations of superiority and price expectations between the parent and extended brands were significantly different across languages. These results support the notion that language effects how consumers make brand related judgments based on numbers in ABNs.

Abstract: The Effect of Number versus Letter Cognition on Consumers’ Evaluations of Alphanumeric Brand Names

SCP Conference, March 2014, Miami FL

Selcan Kara, Co-authors: Kunter Gunasti and Bill Ross

Alphanumeric brand names (ANBs) consist of combinations of letters and numbers either in digit or word form (Pavia and Costa 1993), such as Coke Zero and Audi A4. We examine the effects of alpha and numeric components of ANBs on consumer evaluations of product line extensions. In five experiments, we illustrate the influence of disparities between number and letter cognitions in consumer assessments of line extensions introduced by changing alpha or numeric components of existing brands. Findings suggest ascending letters in ANBs lead to more favorable evaluations of line extensions than descending letters in ANBs. Line extensions are evaluated more favorably when a line extension ANB is formed with a change in number (versus letter) for an existing ANB. We also examine dimensions of this superiority perception, and find that increasing numbers in ANBs anchors consumers, who evaluate line extensions as having improved numeric attributes. This numeric anchoring mediates consumers’ favorable evaluations of ANBs with increased numeric components in comparison to ANBs with increased alpha components.


Abstract: Protecting the Brand in the Face of Counterfeits: Genuine-Item Consumers’ Anti-Counterfeit Framework

Brands and Brand Relationships Conference, May 2014, Boston, MA

Anna Jansson Vredeveld. Co-authors: Bill Ross, Robin Coulter

This research explores how consumers purposefully and intentionally interact with brands in pursuit of moral identity and consumption legitimacy. In particular, we examine how genuine-item consumers, as differentiated from consumers who purchase or use counterfeits, cope with the identity threat posed by counterfeits. We find that genuine-item consumers actively seek support from other genuine-item consumers of similar brands when counterfeits are perceived as a threat to their identities and/or their brand relationships. In particular, we find that genuine-item consumers collectively frame counterfeit consumption as immoral and prescribe activities for moral brand use to institute moral legitimacy of their luxury brand relationships. Thus, we contribute to extant research on brand relationships by showcasing how brand users collectively imbue their brand practices with moral meanings.