SMS Program Cover2021

All Sessions will be on Zoom (All times are in Central Time Zone)

Thursday, April 8
4:00pm-5:00pm: Live (synchronous) Zoom Welcome Reception/ Happy Hour 

Grab your favorite libation and join us for a live welcome reception/happy hour. Here we’ll welcome everyone and go over some important conference details. Then we’ll likely break out into some smaller rooms so that folks can catch up and meet each other.                                      Zoom Link:

Friday, April 9
8:00am – 12:00pm:  1st and 2nd Year Student Presentations
Participants are encouraged to watch the pre-recorded (asynchronous) zoom presentations from 1st and 2nd year students. These will also be available for viewing at all times the week of the conference, during the conference, and the week after the conference.

Stand by Me: Understanding the Strategic Alliance Response to Trade Shocks – Evidence from the U.S. – China Trade War
           Kiwoong Yoo, 1st year, University of Tennessee                                                             

Invisible Expert
          Melissa Baucum, 1st year, University of Tennessee

A Clean Sweep: Addressing the Differential Effects of ‘Clean Label’ Trends on Consumer Perceptions of Healthfulness and Purchase Intent
          Garrett Rybak, 2nd year, University of Arkansas

Being Digital to Being Breached: A Study on Effect of Digital IQ on Data Breaches
          Priyanka Singh, 2nd year, University of Memphis                                                           

You Be Authentic. Why? I Buy Authentic: The Influence of TTS, TTF, and TTI Source Authenticity on Purchase Intentions
          Ripinka Koli Patil, 2nd year, Louisiana State University                                                   

Snacking Behavior in Different Stages of the Family Life Cycle
          Marina Cozac, 2nd year, Florida State University                                                           

How can CGI and Human influencers differ? Study of influence tactics used by CGI vs human influencers in sales negotiation encounter
          Jihane Ait Samo, 2nd year, University of Mississippi                                                       

Chief growth officer, innovation intensity, and the role of female executives on the firm performance
          Jasmine Parajuli, 2nd year, University of Mississippi                                       

12pm – 1:30pm:  Live (synchronous) Zoom Awards Luncheon and Faculty Q&A Panel
                Zoom Link (for both the awards luncheon and faculty panel)

2020 and 2021 Bearden Award and Doctoral Educator Award Announcements
Grab your lunch and join us live for the announcements of the award winners.

Q & A Panel
A highly esteemed panel of faculty members will answer doctoral students’ previously submitted questions.


Barry Babin (University of Mississippi)
Scot Burton (University of Arkansas)
David Hardesty (University of Kentucky)
John Hulland (University of Georgia)
Maura Scott (Florida State University)

2:00pm – 3:00pm: Live (synchronous) Zoom Doctoral Coordinator Meeting
The link will be emailed to all of the coordinators prior to this meeting.

1:30pm – 5:00pm:  3rd, 4th, and 5th Year Student Presentations
Participants are encouraged to watch the pre-recorded (asynchronous) zoom presentations from 3rd, and 4th, and 5th year students. These will also be available for viewing at all times the week of the conference, during the conference, and the week after the conference

The Dark Side of Marketing: An Empirical Examination of Marketing’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic
          Rachel Ramey, 3rd year, University of Georgia                                                                

Packaging Design Simplicity: When and Why Simple Product Packaging Enhances the Valuation of Consumable Products
          Lan Anh Ton, 3rd year, University of Georgia                                                                  

To Embrace or Not to Embrace Social Sustainability in Brand Advertising
          Tyler Milfeld, 3rd year, University of Tennessee                                             

Words Matter: A Closer Look at Earnings Calls & Financial Performance
          Courtney Peters, 3rd year, University of Memphis                                                          

You Deserve it: The Moderating Role of Deservingness on Scarcity and the Impact on Search Strategy Adoption
          Haley Hardman, 3RD year, Mississippi State University                                                  

Corporate Social Responsibility as a Response to Government Regulations
          Kavitha Meredith, 3rd year, Mississippi State University                                                   

Influence of American Regional Accent Standardness on Advertising Effectiveness
          Jutong Wen, 3rd year, Mississippi State University                                                          

Why Private Label Success Varies Across International Markets: A Multimethod Investigation of Private Label Aversion
          Chance McCullough, 3rd year, University of Kentucky                                         

Double Down when the Deck is Hot, Fold When It is Cold:  Temperature Effects on Risk Behavior
          Josh Lundberg, 3rd year, University of Kentucky                                                            

Relative Generosity: When do Cause Sponsorships Create Greater Value than Commercial Sponsorships?
          Rachel Hochstein, 3rd year, Florida State University                                                      

“Environmentally Friendly but Perceptually Futile?” A Meta-Analysis of Green Initiatives and Customer Responses
          Dan Bradbury, 3rd year, Florida State University                                                               

An Explorative Study of The Sharing Economy Customer Service During the Pandemic: A Textual Analysis Approach
          Jiangang Huang, 3rd year, University of Mississippi                                                        

 Decomposing the Effects of Net Promoter Score on Firm Performance
          Ross Johnson, 3rd year, University of Alabama                                                              

The Effect of Loan Application Formats on Consumer Loan Decisions
          Alicia Johnson, 4th year, University of Arkansas                                                              

 Distance and Decision-Maker Bias in Entry Mode Decisions
          Hyeyoon Jung, 4th year, University of Alabama                                                               

Rejections Are Stickier Than Choices
           Minzhe Zu, 4th year, University of Florida

 Why Do Firms Go Digital? Learning Logics Underpinning Dynamics in Digital Advertising Spending
          Seoyoung Kim, 4TH year, University of Georgia

Playing the Game: Reimagining Video Games as a Dynamic Marketing Communication Channel
          Roman Welden, 4th year, University of Tennessee                                        

Let it Out: The Impact of Vent-Target on Consumer Forgiveness After a Corporate Apology
          Jennifer Tatara, 4th year, University of Memphis                                                               

Unraveling the Innovation – Performance Paradox: Effects of Research Quotient (RQ), CEO –   TMT Pay Gap, and Firm Environment on Shareholder Wealth
          Michael Houston, 4th year, University of Memphis                                                           

The Effects of Relationship Type and Promise Type on Gratitude and Anger
          Vincent Jeseo, 4th year, Louisiana State University                                                         

The Consumption of New Media Content: Development and Validation of the Escapism Scale
          Danli Chen, 4th year, Louisiana State University                                                             

Differential Effects of Online Review Characteristics on Innovators and Imitators in New Product Adoption
          Qiuli Su, 4th year, Louisiana State University                                                                 

Whether and When Should Managers Get Involved in Their Salespeople’s Transactions: Hierarchical Diversity in Sales Teams and Sales Performance
          Daniel Chavez, 4th year, University of Kentucky                                                               

Friend or Foe? Can Anthropomorphizing Self-Tracking Devices Backfire on Marketers and Consumers?
          Lane Patterson, 4th year, Florida State University                                                          

Phone and Self: How Smartphone Use Increases Uniqueness Seeking
          Camilla Song, 5th year, University of Florida                                                                     

Beyond the Plastics: The Effects of Plastic Bag Bans on Consumer Shopping Behaviors
           Man Xie, 5th year, University of Florida

The Social Decision Framing Effect: Rejections Are More Contagious Than Choices
          Lana Nan, 5th year, University of Florida

5:00pm – UNTIL: Live (synchronous) DRS Award Announcement and Closing Reception/Happy Hour
                                                      Zoom Link:

Join us again live with your favorite libation for the announcement of the 2021 DRS Award. We’ll then wrap everything up and conclude with a closing happy hour. Stay and hang out as long as you’d like! We’ll again likely have break-out rooms.

SMS Research Presentation Abstracts
14th Annual Meeting – University of Mississippi

 8:00am – Noon 1st and 2nd Year Students

Stand by Me: Understanding the Strategic Alliance Response to Trade Shocks – Evidence from the U.S. – China Trade War                
Kiwoong Yoo, University of Tennessee,  

The impacts of the U.S. – China trade war (2017 – 2019) have been described as more severe and far reaching than expected with some estimates suggesting that U.S. firms lost more than $1.7 trillion in the price of their stocks within the first two years after the U.S. first increased tariffs on Chinese imports. In response to such a significant shift in trade policies toward one of the U.S.’ largest trading partners, U.S. firms that continue to see the Chinese market as a major draw have had to rethink their approaches to operating in that market. Whereas U.S. firms might have primarily viewed partnerships with Chinese firms as their primary approach to gaining access to such a large and growing market, the trade war may make such partnerships more challenging. This study broadly investigates the impact of disruptions in global trade agreements on multinational firms’ use of strategic alliances as a key strategic factor in their efforts to grow and leverage their market-based assets. I furthermore examine these impacts across trade disruptions with partners and alliances from both emerging and developed markets, namely, China and the United Kingdom.

Invisible Expert
Melissa Baucum, University of Tennessee,

The implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in business practice has garnered much attention from practitioners and academics alike. One of the most prevalent application areas of AI thus far is in health care, where AI tools augment medical experts’ ability to detect, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases. However, the backroom collaboration between medical experts and this breakthrough technology is often not disclosed to patients, thus raising the question: how does disclosure (or lack thereof) of expert collaboration with AI impact the relationship between patients and expert medical service providers? Though marketing literature on consumers’ psychological response to AI has grown in empirical evidence, most of this previous work concentrates on direct interactions between consumers and AI, such as when AI entirely replaces a traditionally human service role. This literature has not yet investigated consumer response to indirect interactions with AI, such as when a physician delivers a diagnosis that was determined in collaboration with AI. The author utilizes previous consumer-AI literature and expectancy violation theory to hypothesize implications for consumer-expert service provider relationships when the use of AI is discovered post-facto rather than disclosed upfront. Given consumer hesitancy toward AI and the importance of valence in expectation violations, the author hypothesizes that post-facto discovery of AI utilization will lead to more patient distrust toward the provider than when the patients are informed of the collaboration at the time of use. Given the growing consensus that AI-human collaboration outperforms each separately, the unique focus of this research provides a meaningful investigation for consumer psychology and AI literature, the role of expectancy theory, and managerial strategy for communicating AI collaboration in expert service roles.

A Clean Sweep: Addressing the Differential Effects of ‘Clean Label’ Trends on Consumer Perceptions of Healthfulness and Purchase Intent
Garrett Rybak, University of
Alicia Johnson, University of Arkansas            

Given concerns with obesity and the 300,000 annual deaths due to diet-related diseases (CDC 2019), the FDA has focused on nutrient content through regulation of nutrition claims that can appear on food packaging. Recently, however, there has been an increasing number of package claims that are related to how the product is processed. These include claims such as “Natural;” “No GMO’s;” and “Minimally Processed” (Andre et al. 2019). Except for the USDA organic label, many processing claims are not regulated by the FDA or other agencies (Petty 2015, Berry et al. 2017). Use of such claims is consistent with the burgeoning “clean label” movement among food manufacturers (Transparency 2017; Gelski 2019) that has become an increasingly important driver of perceptions of product healthfulness and purchases.

Drawing from activation theory and the inferential processing literature (Anderson 1983; Brucks and Mitchell 1981), this research extends past findings by addressing the relative effects of differing sets of package claims, one related to how the product is processed and the other to the nutrition content of the product. Data have been collected through two studies utilizing 2 (processing claims: present or absent) x 2 (nutrition content claims: present or absent) experiments and a third which added a 2 (“clean label” ingredient list: present or absent) manipulation. Through a dual path serial mediation analysis, we assess the degree to which each type of claim affects perceptions of overall healthfulness and purchase intention. The preliminary results suggest that processing claims not only influence perceptions to a greater degree than nutrition claims, but they also create “health halos” significantly influencing nutrition evaluations. Results should be of interest to the FDA, global health agencies, and manufacturers striving to improve upon and promote the processing of CPG products.

Being Digital to Being Breached: A Study on Effect of Digital IQ on Data Breaches
Priyanka Singh, University of Memphis,

In this study, we use Digital IQ (DIQ), which is a multi-item measure of an organization’s ability to harness and profit from technology, as a proxy for digital strategy effectiveness. We combine DIQ data with data on firm characteristics and data breach incidents from 2012 to 2019 and empirically investigate the relationship between firms’ digital strategy and the likelihood a firm experiences a cyber-security breach. We further investigated if the Board characteristics influence this effect. Specifically, we examined the number of directors on Board and examined if it influences the differential effects of DIQ on likelihood of data breach. The results reveal that there is a significant impact of digital IQ scores on the likelihood of data breach and this effect if moderated by the number of directors on board. Further, the results also reveal a significant interaction between the number of directors on board and firm size. The study concludes with theoretical and managerial implications.

You Be Authentic. Why? I Buy Authentic: The Influence of TTS, TTF, and TTI Source Authenticity on Purchase Intentions       
Ripinka Koli Patil, Louisiana State
Dr. Judith Anne Garretson Folse, Louisiana State University

Consumers seek authenticity in everything, and perception of authenticity influences their decisions. Consumer’s need for authenticity is not just limited brand, product or experiences, but is also important for all people they interact and have transactions with, like individual service who represent their services (hair stylists, real estate agents, salespeople or fitness trainers). Despite the growing market in individual service owners and representatives, research has not studied the effect of perceived source authenticity of these typical people on purchase intentions towards the service that a typical person provides. Based on entity-referent framework model, the current research developed a scale to measure the three dimensions for perceived source authenticity of a person through an online research survey. This research shows that the three different dimensions of source authenticity true-to-fact (TTF), true-to-ideal (TTI) and true-to-self (TTS), have distinct effects on purchase intentions. The current study also shows that the effect of TTF source authenticity on purchase intentions is mediated by perceived relational value, the effect of TTI source authenticity is mediated by perception of expertise and the effect of TTS source authenticity is mediated by perceived relational value and perceived expertise.

Snacking Behavior in Different Stages of the Family Life Cycle
Marina Cozac, Florida State University,
Dr. Martin Mende, Florida State University
Dr. Maura Scott, Florida State University

Nearly 70% of American adults are overweight or obese (American Heart Association 2014), even though approximately 47% of men and 75% of women in the United States have dieted at some point during their lifetime (Jeffery, Adlis, and Forster 1991). These statistics reveal an important conundrum: consumers are actively trying to manage their food consumption and reduce their caloric intake, but obesity has reached a historic high (Warren, Beck, and Delgado 2019). Snacking is considered to be one significant contributing factor to the obesity epidemic (Gregori et al. 2011). Therefore, better understanding when and why people engage in snacking – defined as the consumption of foods or caloric beverages between meals (Hess, Jonnalagadda, and Slavin 2016) – can help consumers with choosing and consuming healthier snacks. In this research, we specifically focus on parents’ snacking behaviors. Prior marketing research has examined parental status in contexts such as habituation practices (Thomas and Epp 2019), car buying (Story, Davies, and Farrell 2005), family decision making (Palan and Wilkes 1997), and vacation planning (Nanda, Hu, and Bai 2007). However, questions related to when, why, and how the parental role might influence snacking behavior have received relatively little attention in marketing. Accordingly, our research examines the intersection of parental lifestyle and snacking behavior, while accounting for the important role of gender as a moderating variable of snacking behavior (Wardle et al. 2004). The results provide novel insights into how being a parent can influence snacking behavior and how this behavior might be distinct between men and women. Taken together, this research points to meaningful insights and implications not only for consumers, but also for marketing managers and public policy makers.

How an CGI and Human Influencers Differ? Study of Influence Tactics Used by CGI Vs Human Influencers in Sales Negotiation Encounter                                      Jihane Ait Samo, University of

Advances in digital technologies are evolving every day, which motivates firms to adopt new technology channels for business communications. For business-to-customer (B2C) selling, these trends are especially apparent during the initial contact of the sales encounter.  Just like using website bots and automatic email responses, the trend seems to be heading towards CGI influencers that endorse and sell products online. CGI are computer-generated images of a fictional salesperson. Hence, I aim to examine the effectiveness of salespeople’s influence tactics using verbal markers mediated by the salesperson employed (CGI vs Human) and its effect on buyer attention and brand attitude. I will have 8 groups for (4 Influence tactics x 2 salespeople) matrix. A conversation will include a lead seller and the principal buyer of personal daily usable products such as (beauty products or foods) manipulated to fit one of the influence tactics. Based on the influence tactics the lead seller will be using specific linguistic markers. Overall, I offer three main contributions. I aim to compare CGI and human salespeople and their effect on the relationship between the effectiveness of influence tactics and buyer attention, to identify a key mediator to salesperson influence tactics effect on buyer attention, namely source credibility and human connection, and I attempt to merge eye-tracking research with sales research to identify limits of technology advancement without using secondary data and self-reported data.

Chief growth officer, innovation intensity, and the role of female executives on the firm performance
Jasmine Parajuli, University of Mississippi,

Recent years have witnessed rise of another executive officer in the C-suite: a Chief Growth Officer (CGO). In 2017, Forrester predicted that more major brands would hire a CGO in place of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMOs). Existing research reveals CGOs’ presence as organizations response to their needs to grow via CGOs’ ability to develop sources of corporate growth through demand innovation. However, these existing research does not address whether the presence of a CGO is financially beneficial to the firm. Drawing on social integration theory, the present research argues that the integrative role of a CGO, including sales, marketing, and product, could be an important conduit in fostering innovation in an organization. This research examines the relationship between presence of CGOs and firm performance through innovation intensity, and the moderating role of the presence of female executives in top management team. This research argues that firms with the presence of CGOs in their top management team are likely to experience a positive effect on their financial performance through innovation intensity, and that this proposed mediation effect is more pronounced when there are higher number of female executives in the top management team. The effects will be tested empirically using a longitudinal method.

1:30-5:00 pm:  3rd, 4th, & 5th Year Students

The Dark Side of Marketing: An Empirical Examination of Marketing’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic
Rachel Ramey, University of Georgia,
Dr. Sundar Bharadwaj, University of Georgia

From 1999-2019, almost half a million people died from a drug overdose involving opioids. During the pandemic, overdose deaths involving opioids have continued to increase. Media sources have claimed that the Opioid Epidemic was caused by the marketing efforts of pharmaceutical companies and these firms are facing lawsuits for their role in promoting prescription opioids. However, there is little systematic research examining the role of marketing in the Opioid Epidemic. The theoretical background of this research is developed qualitatively through analysis of proprietary marketing strategy documents, interview depositions of key leaders in the pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical representative online forums. We utilize a case study of a prominent opioid supplier and market leader. Through a unique national level dataset, which includes CDC Multiple Mortality files, medical journal advertisements, detailing visits and opioid distribution made publicly available in lawsuits, we empirically investigate if the cumulative effect of detailing and advertising spending is associated with the increase in opioid prescription claims and the subsequent opioid overdose deaths. We also examine the effects of substitutes in response to abuse-deterrent formulas. We find that 1% increase in detailing and advertising is associated with a 0.045% and 0.272% increase in opioid prescriptions respectively. Moreover, a 1% in opioid prescriptions is associated with a 0.029% increase in overdose deaths involving opioids. The Opioid Epidemic offers a unique opportunity for insight into a public health crisis fomented by harmful marketing practices. By examining the events empirically and qualitatively, we can learn from past mistakes and educate the next generation of business leaders on how to avoid similar problems in the future.

Packaging Design Simplicity: When and Why Simple Packaging Designs Enhance the Valuation of Consumable Products
Lan Anh Ton, University of Georgia

Consumers are increasingly drawn toward minimalist aesthetics. This paper seeks to explore when and why simple packaging designs enhance the valuation of consumable products relative to complex packaging designs. Studies 1-2 examine the process behind why simple packaging may enhance product valuation. We theorize that simple packaging can evoke a symbolic association in which the minimal design elements on the package signal that the product is composed of a minimal number of ingredients. This decrease in the number of ingredient inferences increases perceptions of product purity, thus enhancing product valuation. Studies 3-4 test boundary conditions under which a simple (vs. complex) packaged consumable product is less preferred and provide empirical evidence for the distinction between purity and naturalness. Lastly, an archival analysis of a supermarket chain’s product packages (N = 1353) examines the price premium ascribed to products in simple packaging designs across a set of consumable product categories. These findings offer insight into the symbolic meanings associated with design simplicity and a set of managerial implications.

To Embrace or Not to Embrace Social Sustainability in Brand Advertising
Tyler Milfeld, University of Tennessee,

A significant marketing challenge for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is how and when to communicate their sustainability initiatives. Marketing experts suggest that sustainability claims will strengthen brand loyalty and increase willingness to pay, but this knowledge largely relies on research with large firms. SMEs have much more limited marketing budgets and deploy their marketing messages through fewer touchpoints. Furthermore, researchers propose that communicating social sustainability messages may be more complex than environmental sustainability. Corporate identity congruence (CIC) research suggests that incorporating new meanings into a firm’s identity may lead to image incongruence. Through a series of online and field experiments, we find that consumers perceive that social sustainability claims are more incongruent with an SME’s image than product-related claims, leading to a lower overall anticipated experience and lower purchase intent. However, exposure to additional marketing touchpoints (salesperson interaction and product sampling) can attenuate the effect. This research aims to make three contributions. First, we provide new insight into communicating social sustainability, challenging the premise that sustainability messages improve marketing outcomes. Second, we expand the sustainability discourse to SMEs, revealing that investment across different marketing touchpoints may be necessary to achieve parity with product-related messages. Finally, we find that consumers discern the fit between different meanings signaled by the firm, contributing to CIC discourse. Overall, this research suggests that while an SME may be investing in and committed to social sustainability, sometimes the best decision may be to say nothing at all.

Words Matter: A Closer Look at Earnings Calls & Financial PerformanceCourtney B. Peters, University of Memphis,

Previous research has addressed how personality characteristics of TMT members, in particular the CEO, might impact financial decisions (Chin et al., 2013; Kashmiri & Mahajan, 2017); however, little research has considered how the language prepared in advance by a company may provide signals to stakeholders and, ultimately, impact a company’s financial performance. Although not required, corporate earnings calls are usually conducted and serve as a means for organizations to disseminate important information to the public. Following earnings calls and the release of corresponding financial statements, investors make decisions that directly influence the financial performance of the firm. Thus, it is imperative that organizations consider the impacts corporate earnings calls have on financial performance and consider how to utilize earnings calls as a public relations tool. Through the lens of signaling theory, organizations must disseminate information that is both credible and useful. Ultimately, organizations must know how to tell their story. Because language is can be equated to one’s fingerprint, organizations should ask themselves what their fingerprint says and how it is interpreted to understand how it might impact financial performance. This study employs computer aided text analytics (CATA) to explore the relationship between language used in quarterly earnings calls and financial performance. The preliminary results indicate that promotion-focused and authentic language is associated with superior Tobin’s Q while concrete and practical (i.e., temporal) language negatively impacts Tobin’s Q.

You Deserve It: The Moderating Role of Deservingness on Scarcity and the Impact on Search Strategy Adaptation
Haley Hardman, Mississippi State

The current study analyzes multiple appeals in an advertisement. The primary appeal examined in the study is scarcity. To supplement scarcity appeals, the other consists of appealing to the deservingness of consumers, which has been practiced for decades in a number of contexts, including election slogans, statements in television advertisements, print advertisements, and billboards. Although it is common practice, there is little research devoted to the topic. Deservingness appeals emphasize the positive actions taken by an individual or explicitly use the word deserve to indicate consumers’ sense of deservingness. Commodity theory helps explain why scarcity should increase an individual’s desirability of a corresponding good or service, which should ultimately lead to a behavior, such as adapting a search strategy in order to find a product. Deservingness is expected to act as a moderator, strengthening the relationship between scarcity and desirability of a product. The method used to analyze the study is a 2 (scarce/not scarce) X 2 (deserving/not deserving) between-subjects design. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Corporate Social Responsibility as a Response to Government Regulation
Kavitha A. Meredith, Mississippi State University,   

As government regulations have the potential to affect business strategy and decisions, the effect of such regulations on companies is valuable to study. The present research investigates the relationship between government regulations and consumer attitude toward a company, examining the roles of company use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs and the timing with which such programs are implemented. A scenario study examines several combinations of the constructs of interest to such a scenario that manipulates CSR implementation, time of adoption, and change in cost to customers.

Influence of American Regional Accent Standardness on Advertising Effectiveness
Jutong Wen, Mississippi State University,

Accent is a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation, and has been increasingly used as an important feature in advertisements by many companies. Given that extant research on accent in advertising is relatively limited, this study aims to explore the influence of American regional accent standardness on advertising effectiveness. Drawing on the Language Expectancy Theory and literatures from both sociolinguistics and marketing, a conceptual model was developed and subject to empirical test in the context of radio advertising. The test results revealed that although regional accent types themselves (i.e., Alabama accent and Michigan accent) did not distinguish between each other in their influence on spokesperson credibility, regional accents would lead to higher spokesperson credibility when regarded as being more standard than when not. Moreover, spokesperson credibility was found to positively influence customer attitude towards the advertisement. The findings not only provide important implications to future marketing study on regional accent, but also contribute to a further managerial understanding about improving advertising effectiveness through creative accent designs.

 Why Private Label Success Varies Across International Markets: A Multimethod Investigation of Private Label Aversion
Chance L. McCullough, University of Kentucky,
Alexander H. Ziegler, Wichita State University
Daniel Sheehan, University of Kentucky
Haipeng (Allan) Chen, University of Kentucky
Dr. David M. Hardesty, University of Kentucky

Private labels represent a large share of CPG sales within western markets, but previous research has discovered that market shares are dramatically lower across international markets. Although existing theory has prescribed product quality improvements as the key to private label growth, market share remains stagnant within these markets despite investments in quality. The current research approaches this important mismatch in theory and practice by examining the consumer-level, cultural factors behind private label aversion. We theorize and demonstrate that private label market share varies with a consumer’s self-construal, which describes how individuals view themselves regarding others. A combination of field studies and controlled lab experiments support the notion that consumers with an interdependent—vs. independent—self-construal avoid private label products to prevent embarrassment from violating the social norm of purchasing and consuming national brands. The authors conclude with contributions to theories of private labels, self-construal, and cultural differences and provide managers with important insights for private label segmentation strategies.


Double Down when the Deck is Hot, Fold When It is Cold:  Temperature Effects on Risk Behavior
Josh Lundberg, University of Kentucky,
Adam Craig, University of Kentucky
John Peloza, University of Kentucky

Risk is an element of decision making that permeates the marketplace and has thus enjoyed over fifty years of investigation. In spite of this, situational determinants of risk remain relatively unexplored. In order to contribute to our understanding of overarching marketplace influences, the current work examines the influence of temperature on consumers’ inclination toward risk. Across five studies, including secondary data analysis, evidence for a positive relationship between one’s felt temperature and risk taking is found. In doing so, the authors find that this effect is driven by the interpretation of warmth as a reward cue, resulting in behavioral activation, which in turn heightens risk taking. This evidence extends current theory on temperature by demonstrating temperature’s influence through a material process as opposed to one of conceptual association. Additionally, a consumer’s self-confidence is found to play a pivotal role in regulating the effect of temperature’s external influence on risk-taking behavior. This represents new ground in the study of temperature as individual difference variables moderating its effects have thus far eluded scholars in the area.

Relative Generosity: When do Cause Sponsorships Create Greater Value than Commercial Sponsorships?
Rachel E. Hochstein, Florida State
Dr. Colleen Harmeling, Florida State University
Dr. Abdullah Almeshyieki, Florida State University

When firms sponsor commercial entities (e.g., stadiums, concerts), stakeholders can easily make sense of it based on typical market-exchange norms which suggest that firms are expected to work toward their own economic benefits. However, when firms sponsor causes that contribute to social welfare (e.g., breast cancer awareness, food pantries), it may trigger appraisals of the authentic of this seemingly generous action which may change how key stakeholders (e.g., investors, customers) interpret and respond to information about the sponsorship. In a sample of 403 sponsorship announcements across ten years, cause sponsorships produce 1.1% greater firm value than commercial sponsorships, suggesting that firms can earn a cause premium from cause sponsorships. However, the magnitude of this cause premium varies based on factors that signal to stakeholders whether the firm (1) expects to aids the recipient more than itself (announcement day media coverage) (2) feels a moral responsible for the recipient’s wellbeing (communal announcement tone), and (3) sacrifices personally valuable resources to the recipient (firms’ resource slack).

“Environmentally Friendly but Perceptually Futile?” A Meta-Analysis of Green Initiatives and Customer Responses
Dan R. Bradbury, Florida State University,
oseph Cronin Jr., Florida State University

Numerous organizations implement environmentally friendly (i.e. “green”) initiatives with hopes of meeting increasing consumer expectations. Prior research suggests that implementing a green program results in positive customer attitudes towards an organization or product. However, it is also suggested that green initiatives are met with consumer skepticism that must be overcome to find success. This paper conducts a meta-analysis to synthesize the literature on green initiatives and customer responses and, in doing so, identifies situations in which such initiatives lead to more positive or negative perceptions. The findings indicate a positive relationship between green initiatives and various customer responses. However, significant nuances in the direction and magnitude of customer responses result from the type of green initiative and the type of study.

An Explorative Study of The Sharing Economy Customer Service During the Pandemic: A Textual Analysis Approach
Jiangang Huang, University of Mississippi,

The outbreak of the COVID-19 has disrupted the world. Strict lockdown and social distancing rules severely impacted the sharing economy companies. While sharing economy companies struggle to survive, it is less known how sharing economy customers integrate their service experiences and evaluation along their consumption journal during the pandemic. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on sharing economy customer services and how customers reflect and evaluate their service experiences on social media platform. Using text mining technique, this study extracts tweets from customers of two sharing economy companies (i.e., Lyft and Uber) from March 13, 2020 to March 14, 2021. Further, this study applies two textual analysis methods, word counts and topic models, to explore how customers express and evaluate their service experiences with these selected sharing economy companies. The results indicate that customers experience high level of miscommunication, ignorance, and even humiliation during the pandemic; despite the cost-effective benefits of designating Twitter as an official customer support channel, sharing economy companies are urged to establish multiple customer support channels, especially should include customer support staff to talk to customers.

Decomposing the Effects of Net Promoter Score on Firm Performance
Ross Johnson, University of Alabama,

 Since its introduction, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) has experienced rapid adoption and is now employed by over 2/3 of Fortune 1000 firms. Yet, there remains disagreement among academics as to the validity of the measure. Through a multi-method design, this paper intends to better understand the metric and provide a diagnostic test of its effectiveness. First, this paper establishes what the literature has previously investigated on the topic through a meta-analysis to better conceptualize the current level of knowledge in the field. These findings are then supplemented with a secondary data analysis from within a single firm to provide a diagnostic test of the measure in comparison to typical satisfaction metrics. Overall, this paper establishes that the transformation of the Net Promoter Score decreases its predictive validity in estimating firm sales, and that the metric’s usefulness can be improved through the customer orientation of a firm. This research covers a topic that is of great interest to marketing managers given the expensive cost of implementing NPS systems and contributes to the current academic literature as to the success of the metric.

The Effect of Loan Application Formats on Consumer Loan Decisions
Alicia M. Johnson, University of Arkansas,  now
Daniel Villanova, University of Arkansas
Ronn J. Smith, University of Arkansas

Do different loan application formats affect consumer loan requests? Five studies show that two formats (loan amount vs. monthly payment) semantically prime consumers to recruit knowledge that is applicable to and representative of the format used during the consumer loan application process. The recruited knowledge informs self-generated responses that vary between the two loan formats when consumers complete loan applications. We find that when asked to provide a loan amount versus preferred monthly payment, consumers self-generate what they believe is the estimated cost of versus typical monthly payment for their expenditure. Moreover, we find that typical monthly payments are range restricted across various loan purposes. Notably, when asked to provide a preferred monthly payment, consumers are less likely to proceed with their loan request as the difference between their principal request and estimated cost increases, relative to those asked to provide a loan amount. However, the majority of those asked to provide a preferred monthly payment proceed with the loan and ultimately borrow more than needed relative to the estimated cost of the expense being financed, resulting in significantly larger aggregate loan originations for financial institutions. These studies provide insight into how consumer loan application formats can affect consumer borrowing, as well as the psychological underpinnings responsible for the effect. Theoretical, managerial and consumer welfare implications of our findings are discussed.

Distance and Decision-Maker Bias in Entry Mode Decisions
Hyeyoon Jung, University of Alabama,

We investigate how decision-maker bias, resulting from the decision-maker’s independent versus interdependent self-construal, influences the relationship between psychic distance and entry mode decisions. We suggest that when predicting such decisions, one needs to consider both the context (e.g., the psychic distance) and the self-construal of the individual manager. This is supported by the micro-foundation’s perspective, which suggests that global strategy is influenced by the firm’s individual decision-makers, whose characteristics shape important strategic decisions. Including two experiments and a meta-analysis, the empirical results offer consistent evidence that the distance-entry mode relationship is stronger for managers with an independent versus interdependent self-construal.

Rejections Are Stickier Than Choices
Minzhe Xu, University of Florida,
Dr. Yang Yang, University of Florida

Consumers frequently make the same decision repeatedly, by either choosing the products they like more or rejecting the products they like less. Holding everything else constant, does the mere act of choosing versus rejecting products influence the extent to which consumers seek variety? This research identifies a robust framing effect: consumers are more likely to reject the product(s) they previously rejected than to choose the product(s) they previously chose, and consequently, those who decide by rejecting seek less variety in repeated decisions. This effect occurs because consumers make stronger inferences about their own preferences from the act of rejecting than from the act of choosing. As a result, rejecting polarizes consumers’ preferences by rendering the less-preferred option(s) even less attractive, thereby increasing their likelihood of selecting the more-preferred option(s) in future decisions.  Theoretically, this research significantly expands the scope of the variety-seeking literature by investigating, more broadly, how and why people seek variety when they make decisions, as opposed to choices only. It also contributes to the existing literature on choosing and rejecting by exploring, for the first time, how decision frames have consequences beyond one-time decisions. Practically, this research offers clear and easy-to-implement recommendations to help firms increase their market shares and enhance consumer loyalty without incurring additional costs. It also yields important implications for consumer welfare. Specifically, for domains in which consumers typically seek more variety than is normatively warranted, the rejection frame can improve decision quality and increase consumer welfare; for domains in which consumers typically do not seek enough variety, the rejection frame may exacerbate the problem and reduce consumer welfare.

Why Do Firms Go Digital? Learning Logics Underpinning Dynamics in Digital Advertising Spending
Seoyoung Kim, University of Georgia,
Sundar Bharadwaj, University of Georgia

Despite our rich understanding of whether or how much and when digital advertising contributes to a firm, little is known about the drivers of budgetary decisions about digital advertising. Drawing on a comprehensive perspective on strategic change encompassing the neo-institutional view and multiple learning theory lenses, the authors delineate five learning logics explaining firms’ spending on their digital advertising, directed towards either legitimacy or performance. The empirical results from a structural panel vector autoregression analysis of data from 1640 firms for the 12 years indicate that learning from a wide array of stakeholders – customers of a focal firm, peers in an industry, general consumers in the marketplace, and society – impacts the resource allocation to digital advertising. The results also suggest that the extent of which each learning logic explains a firm’s decision on digital ad spending depends upon the firm’s perceived constraints and slack. Firms with sufficient resources are more likely to proactively gather and analyze information for improving performance, whereas firms with a high constraint perception tend to be more reactive.

Playing the Game: Reimagining Video Games as a Dynamic Marketing Communication Channel
Roman Welden University of Tennessee,

While video games are generally viewed as a form of entertainment for a small subset of people, in reality they provide a channel for nearly 2.2 billion people to interact with others and offer multiple paths for marketers to interact with consumers. The authors provide a definition of video games that aligns with the marketing perspective and present a conceptualization of an interconnected ecosystem for all parties involved with marketing through video games. Furthermore, the authors identify 10 propositions they believe will meaningfully direct the current marketing practice while shaping marketing research’s future in three ways: (a) assisting marketers seeking to use the video game ecosystem for promoting content, (b) understanding the opportunities influencers generate by live streaming, and (c) creating strategies for video game companies (VGCs) to expand the ecosystem’s marketing potential. Finally, the authors offer recommendations for current marketing practices and identify relevant future research streams.

Let it Out: The Impact of Vent-Target on Consumer Forgiveness After a Corporate Apology
Jennifer H. Tatara, University of Memphis,    

After a public crisis, firms are tasked with the difficult decision of who should offer the statement of apology. It is a complicated choice as literature remains unclear and context-specific in its recommendations of who should apologize on behalf of a firm. This research examines the unique context of the deliverer of mass corporate apologies influencing the benefits of venting in obtaining consumer forgiveness. Under an attribution-appraisal theoretical lens, this present study suggests that the deliverer of an apology influences consumer attitudes after venting. Specifically, this research examines whether consumers experience greater forgiveness for mass service failures after venting when the vent-target is the entity (company-issued apology) versus the CEO of the company (person-issued apology). Across three studies, company-issued apologies are found to elicit greater consumer forgiveness post-venting for mass corporate service failures. Appraisals of attribution are revealed as the mediating mechanism in which a company vent-target results in higher levels of forgiveness. Moreover, crisis type moderates the relationship such that a CEO vent-target is more effective in obtaining forgiveness if the crisis is due to an ethical (vs. service) failure. These findings have vital implications for practitioners to consider. Findings provide insight on when companies should deliver apology statements on forums that allow for consumer engagement. More importantly, it informs who or what should deliver the apology. With the increasing number of platforms that allow consumers to express their feelings, understanding the benefits (or consequences) of apology deliverer and consumer venting is critical.

Unraveling the Innovation – Performance Paradox: Effects of Research Quotient (RQ), CEO –   TMT Pay Gap, and Firm Environment on Shareholder Wealth              Michael S. Houston, University of Memphis,

Innovation is considered essential for firm survival. It is estimated that global R & D spending reached $2.3 trillion in 2019, yet according to studies conducted is association with the Products Development and Management Association (PDMA), new products fail at impressive rates (35 to 46%). This would seem to indicate an incomplete understanding of how innovation leads to firm performance. One of the possible areas where we have an incomplete picture is with how innovation is measured. Previous research has primarily used patent data (Number of patents, citations etc.) as a primary metric for how R & D spend translates to measurable performance outcomes. This study utilizes a measure developed in the management literature called Research Quotient (RQ) which is defined as the output elasticity of R & D for a specific firm. This measure addresses some of the shortcomings of using patent and/or citation data to measure R&D performance such as not all firms file patents and not all patents have the same economic value. RQ is a unitless measure based solely on financial data and so addresses the patent filing issue as well as patent valuation issues. Using GLS random effects regression and RQ as the independent variable this study examines two specific types of variables (CEO – TMT pay gap and environment) which might influence the effect of innovation efficiency on firm performance. Our findings indicate that the CEO – TMT pay gap exerts a positive and significant effect on the relationship between innovation and firm performance. Low levels of munificence were found to have a suppression effect on the innovation – firm performance link just the same as highly dynamic environments. Our findings would seem to lend credence to the idea that the innovation – firm performance link might best be understood in light of various moderating factors but especially those concerning the relationships between the CEO and TMT as well as other possible CEO characteristics.

The Effects of Relationship Type and Promise Type on Gratitude and Anger
Vincent Jeseo, Louisiana State University,
Ankit Shah, Louisiana State University
Dr. Ron Niedrich, Louisiana State University

Research has shown that the underlying norms and expectations of communal and exchange relationships differ (Clark and Mills, 1993; Clark and Waddell, 1985; Williamson and Clark, 1989). Because of these varying norms, we expect reactions to a service failure to differ. We predict that those in an exchange relationship will react more negatively (i.e., higher anger and lower gratitude) than those in a communal relationship. We also expect that the type of promise made prior to a service failure will influence a consumer’s reactions. Because expectations are much clearer, those given a clear and unambiguous promise are likely to react more negatively than those who receive an ambiguous promise if that promise is not upheld.

We found significant total effects for relationship type on gratitude such that those in a communal (exchange) relationship were more (less) grateful following a service failure. Contrary to our predictions, relationship type did not influence feelings of anger. Additionally, we found a significant total effect of promise type on both gratitude and anger such that those who received an explicit (implicit) promise were less (more) grateful and more (less) angry following a failure. Findings indicate that the type of relationship a consumer holds with an organization or its employees influences his or her affective reactions. Thus, organizations should implement policies that encourage employees to develop communal relationships with customers to increase feelings of gratitude following service failures. Similarly, findings suggest that firms should provide equivocal service guarantees rather than overpromising and underdelivering.

The Consumption of New Media Content: Development and Validation of the Escapism Scale”
Danli Chen, Louisiana State University,                        

The consumption of new media content is ubiquitous in everyone’s life. Not only because it is a convenient way to stay in touch with social network but also has it served as a coping mechanism to stress. In the current research, the status of escapism is found that can be approached through three dimensions: mental absorption, transportation, and projective fantasy. Preliminary validation of a measure of escapism is developed and presented through several studies. The potential of the escapism scale to further understand our understating of the consumption of new media content and its psychological effects on consumers will be articulated and tested in a series of studies.

Differential Effects of Online Review Characteristics on Innovators and Imitators in New Product Adoption                                                                                                  Qiuli Su, Louisiana State University,
Dr. Jianan Wu, Louisiana State University

The effects of online user reviews on new product adoption are important in managing interactive marketing communications. However, such effects may vary, depending on the nature of the review characteristics and consumers. In this paper, we empirically investigate the differential effects of online review characteristics on new product adoption for two types of consumers (innovators and imitators). We consider both review numerical characteristics and review textual characteristics jointly and assume that they affect innovators and imitator dynamically. Using a data set collected from Amazon, we find empirically that the numerical review characteristics (i.e., review volume, review rating, and rating variation) have larger effects on imitators than on innovators, but the review textual characteristics (i.e., review emotional content) show the opposite effects. We further discuss the managerial implications of our research findings.

“Whether and When should managers get involved in their salespeople’s transactions: Hierarchical diversity in sales teams and sales performance”
Daniel E. Chavez, University of Kentucky,
Dr. Brian Murtha, University of Kentucky

What is the effect on sales of the having a manager as a team member? Should sales managers sell or focus on managing? When managers can decide to get involved in the sales team, without customers knowing the team composition answering these questions is even harder. Using over 7 million individual transactions and employee records from a nationwide car service firm this research finds that that manager involvement increases the size of the individual sales ticket, but that as tempting as this may sound, it comes with a cost. The results of fractional polynomial modeling show that manager involvement and store sales have an inverted-U shaped relationship. These findings reinforce the idea that managers, being the scarce and valuable resource that they are, should be used wisely. This research explores situations where the effect of manager involvement can be maximized, providing insight to firm on how to prioritize sales manager involvement in sales teams.

Friend or Foe? Can Anthropomorphizing Self-Tracking Devices Backfire on Marketers and Consumers?
Lane Peterson, Florida State University,      now
Dr. Martin Mende, Florida State University
Dr. Maura L. Scott, Florida State University
Dr. Gergana Nenkov, Boston College
Dr. Anders Gustafsson, Professor, Norwegian Business School

Self-quantification, with the promise of motivating consumers to engage in health behaviors through measuring their performance, is a popular trend amongst consumers. Despite the economic impact of self-tracking technologies, consumers’ experience with self-tracking devices and corresponding consequences for firms remain understudied. Four studies examine how the popular marketing tactic of anthropomorphization influences (a) consumers’ favorability towards wearable tracking devices and (b) its effect on their health motivation over time. We uncover a novel dynamic effect of anthropomorphism, such that it initially enhances favorability towards activity tracking devices, but over time, this favorability decreases. Importantly, health motivation is also reduced over time with the use of an anthropomorphized wearable device. This decrease occurs because anthropomorphized devices reduce the wearers’ perceived autonomy and their empowerment, which reduces their health motivation. These findings provide novel insights to marketing scholars and managers, as the results suggest anthropomorphism can be a successful short-term selling strategy, but over time, anthropomorphism can have unintended consequences for both firms and consumers.

Phone and Self: How Smartphone Use Increases Uniqueness Seeking
Camilla Eunyoung, University of Florida,
Dr. Aner Sela, University of Florida

One of the most dramatic shifts in recent years has been consumers’ increased use of smartphones for making purchases and choices, but does using a smartphone influence what consumers choose? This paper shows that, compared with using a personal computer (PC), making choices using a smartphone leads consumers to prefer more unique options. This effect appears to be driven by increased attention toward the private self (i.e., private self-awareness) when using a smartphone, compared with a PC. The findings rule out alternative explanations based on emotionality, impression management, difficulty, and explanations based on smartphones’ physical characteristics such as display size and a touch interface. The authors theorize that because smartphones are highly personal, intimate, and private devices, using them shifts one’s attention toward the private self. This, in turn, increases consumers’ preference for options that can express their individuality and differentiate them from others. Five experiments examine the effects of smartphone use on preference for unique options and examine the underlying role of private self-awareness and consumers’ intimate connection with their device.

Beyond the Plastics: The Effects of Plastic Bag Bans on Consumer Shopping Behaviors
Man Xie, University of Florida,
Sungsik Park, University of South Carolina
Jinhong Xie, University of Florida

In the past decade, the number of public policies intended to phase out plastic bags has almost tripled all over the world. While research has studied the direct impacts of plastic bag policies on plastic bag consumptions, little is known about its effects beyond that. Using a natural experiment with a quasi-random policy variation, we investigate the effects of the plastic bag ban on consumers’ daily shopping behaviors. Our results suggest considerable policy impacts on several environmentally influential dimensions in consumer shopping. In particular, we show that consumers significantly reduce their total in-store shopping expenditure, by as much as 12%, due to the policy change. We also find a significant decrease in consumers’ shopping frequency, by more than once per month, after the plastic bag ban introduction. However, we find no evidence indicating consumers switch to other unregulated channels, such as online shopping. Meanwhile, no evidence supports the shopping frequency change is driven by consumers switching to unregulated stores in the farther distance. Those findings all establish the unexpected effectiveness of the plastic bag ban beyond the primary target of the regulation. Moreover, those changes in consumer shopping are shown to be consistent towards the direction that favors the environment. Thus, our research provides important implications for policy evaluation, consumer education, and marketing under the new policy change.

The Social Decision Framing Effect: Rejections Are More Contagious Than Choices
Lana (Xianglan) Nan, University of Florida,            
Yang Yang, University of Florida

Every day, we learn about others’ decisions through different sources. We perceive some of these decisions as choices, and others as rejections. Does the mere perception of another’s decision as a choice versus as a rejection influence our own behavior? Are we more likely to conform to another’s decision if we view it in one way or the other? The current research investigates these questions and identifies a social decision framing effect: a greater tendency to conform to another’s decision when it is perceived as a rejection versus as a choice. Seven studies, including a field study, demonstrate this effect and further show that it is driven by differential causal inferences; when observers perceive the other’s decision as a rejection (choice), they are more likely to attribute the decision to differences in product quality (personal preference), so they are more (less) likely to conform to that decision. This research bridges the existing literatures on decision framing, social influence, and perceptions of quality and personal preference, and it offers important implications for both marketers and consumers.