On this page:
- 2nd Place Victory for School of Business Honours class in Global Exercise
- Research into how a crisis erodes brand trust
- SMIB's Distinguished Lecture Series places complex workplace interactions in the spotlight
- 2012 PBRF Quality Evaluation
- Advertisers try discount cold turkey
- Best Paper award for Professor Fam
- SMIB student invited to prestigious Doctoral Consortium
- How children perceive value as they age and become consumers
6 June 2013
Fifteen postgraduate students from Victoria Business School are celebrating their outstanding performance in a global exercise.
The students were rated second out of 51 universities across 27 countries for their 'quality and input of effort' in X-culture, an international training programme which requires participants to develop a business proposal for an international company.
Each student was placed in a global team and given six weeks to complete their business proposal across multiple time zones and cyberspace.
Course coordinator Dr Cheryl Rivers says students gained a lot from first-hand experience working with people from other cultures.
"It‘s one thing for me to tell them that culture influences behaviours and expectations -- it's a quantum leap for them to figure out why someone is doing something they don‘t understand or agree with and then change their own behaviour to influence them."
The students were evaluated on their effort and contribution by their teammates, and on the quality of the final report by all the instructors who had students in that team.
Dr Rivers is especially proud that the top three performing students in the class, Lauren Campbell, Annie De‘Ath and Rob Humphrys, come from three different disciplines in the faculty: Tourism, Human Resource Management and International Business.
"Figuring out how to work effectively with people from different cultures is essential for all our graduates, regardless of their discipline."
This is the first year Victoria University students have participated in the project, and Dr Rivers is keen to sign up again next year.
"It was so successful, I'm thinking it might become a regular feature of the course."
The exercise was part of IBUS404 Cross-cultural Management, which is offered by the School of Marketing and International Business.
21 May 2013
The Chinese milk contamination crisis of 2008 provided invaluable insight into how such events can damage consumer trust in brands, says Senior Lecturer Dr Hongzhi Gao.
"This food poisoning crisis provided a real-life context for understanding how consumers react to a betrayal of their trust in brands," says Dr Gao.
"Faced with the 2008 situation, it's natural that fearful and bewildered customers would express outrage and attribute blame."
He says it was also a useful example of how one brand can be made to take the lion's share of the blame. The scandal, which centred around 700 tonnes of infant formula contaminated by the industrial chemical melamine, involved Chinese company Sanlu which, at the time, was part-owned by New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra.
Two months after the crisis began, Dr Gao and colleagues at the University of Otago and Sydney’s Macquarie University partnered with Peking University in Beijing to ask 2156 Chinese locals in nine metropolitan centres to evaluate the crisis and rate their trust and blame towards a range of dairy brands, including foreign-owned, joint venture and local brands.
"We were particularly interested in what information about a brand could impact on consumers' trust and which factors could strengthen or weaken that trust."
Dr Gao says the results show Sanlu became the scapegoat for an industry-wide crisis.
"While the reputations of other companies were dented, they weren’t as badly affected as Sanlu, which became the 'face' of the scandal. Our research provided a great insight into how a food safety scandal can spill over and negatively affect attitudes and beliefs about the whole supply chain and about competing brands."
Another key finding was that a shared brand identity and investment or management links between a locally made brand and a foreign imported brand expose the foreign brand to guilt-by-association effects.
"Firms operating in foreign markets must evaluate potential risks to their brand equity due to consumers’ associations with local counterparts. They should jealously protect their brands by avoiding association with ‘risky’ local counterparts."
Dr Gao and his colleagues have now turned their attention to the impact of the crisis on non-contaminated brands and are hoping to determine "how this mistrust spilled over by association".
17 April 2013
Would you behave more ethically in the workplace if your boss was watching you closely?
It’s one of the questions being posed by Professor Nick Lee, Professor of Marketing and Organisational Research at the UK’s Aston Business School and SMIB's inaugural speaker in their 2013 Distinguished Lecture Series. The Distinguished Lecture Series invites editors from the leading international journals in Marketing to share their cutting edge research with Victoria Business School staff, students, and alumni, as well as the local business community. Professor Lee is an alumnus of the Victoria Business School's Honours Programme in Marketing and is currently editor-in-chief of the prestigious European Journal of Marketing.
Focusing on the environment where we spend most of our waking hours—the workplace—Professor Lee’s research looks at the social psychology of work and how actions which may seem like the ‘right’ thing to do can actually lead to unintended negative effects.
“We observed sales teams in the UK and Europe, and particularly the nature of the sales function as a link between the firm and its customers, to see how staff behaved when they felt they were closely supervised, for example if the manager spent lots of time with them observing sales calls. In such circumstances, employees tended to behave better,” says Professor Lee.
However, throw a conflict into the mix—ie. responsibility for the company versus responsibility to the customer—and the results skewed towards the unethical.
“When closely monitored employees were conflicted between making money for the company and providing good customer service, they tended to behave unethically, putting their organisation’s needs ahead of the customer.”
Uncovering such counter-intuitive outcomes requires an approach that goes beyond the notion of “common sense—of what we think should or shouldn’t work in the workplace,” says Professor Lee.
“Different drivers of behaviour require different managerial remedies. For example, our research found that a more caring manager resulted in higher job satisfaction from employees, whereas a more aggressive manager produced lower commitment from employees and greater emotional strain. But at the same time, we found employees actually valued a certain amount of aggression from their managers, because it helped clarify the appropriate standards of behaviour and role responsibilities.”
Click here to view Professor Lee's lecture on 15 April 2013.
12 April 2013
In the 2012 PBRF Quality Evaluation, Victoria University of Wellington has been ranked first for research quality. The School of Marketing and International Business has moved up 4 places and is now ranked 2nd equal in the Marketing and Tourism subject area. Head of School, Professor Kim Fam, congratulated all the marketing and international business team members for their effort and dedication to research to achieve such a pleasing result.
20 March 2013
Industry experts say brands are trying to wean themselves off discounting but it is a long, hard task, and
Professor Kim Fam from the School of Marketing and International Business says New Zealand retailers in particular discounted too heavily over the global financial crisis.
While this improved cashflow, there is now no quick fix to damage done over several years, Professor Fam says.
"Companies need to invest in making sure their brand message is consistent.
"And then over years people will see the difference between a good brand and a bad brand."
The problem is especially seen in the grocery sector, where Nielsen research indicates buyers are increasingly choosing whatever is on special. In a typical shopper's basket, 58% of items chosen will be goods that are on promotion.
DDB managing director Justin Mowday says that weaning brands away from discounting is the biggest challenge facing advertisers this year.
"Any client knows it can sell product when it is discounted. It’s not particularly hard.
"What is hard is creating engagement with consumers, which is two way, evolving and means the customer prefers your brand when its not on special."
Barnes Catmur & Friends managing partner Paul Catmur says brands are locked in a cycle of discounts that is difficult to break.
"Brands were too reliant on discounts before the global financial crisis; it just gathered more brands to join the fray."
Mr Catmur says the discounting has meant margins are being degraded in the race for the bottom.
"Successful brands have their margins cut, lesser brands go bust and the cycle starts again."
Professor Fam also believes the success of imports coming directly from Asia mean the importance of brands is fading.
"A watch from a good brand like Rolex will still tell the same time as a lousy brand watch. As technology has improved you can still buy items of a cheap nature but a high quality."
Source: National Business Revue
20 March 2013
Professor Kim Fam has picked up a Best Paper Award at the 5th International Borneo Business Conference, which had a theme of 'Business and Economic Sustainability in Asia'.
The co-authored paper, entitled "Chinese Generation Xers' Attitude toward Advertising: Evidence from Hong Kong and Shanghai Consumers", examined whether the ranking for ad likeability and dislikeability attributes are the same across Hong Kong and Shanghai.
The findings indicate that Generation Xers from these two cities believed advertising is entertaining and yet devious. The consistency could be attributed to the same social values shared by the Generation X cohort in metropolitan China.
Consumers from both cities disliked old-fashioned, repetitive, boring or annoying commercials, understandable given that both HK and Shanghai are very well developed and their citizens are rich, educated and sophisticated.
This study offered insights into beliefs about advertising, ad likeability and dislikeability, showing that culture, and to a lesser extent environment, are dominant forces in media consumption and consumer behavior among Generation Xers in both Hong Kong and Shanghai.
15 March 2013
The School of Marketing and International Business has secured a special invitation for one of our PhD students to attend the prestigious American Marketing Association-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium in Michigan from June 6-9.
The Consortium brings together up-and-coming marketing doctoral students with the world's most distinguished marketing faculty, offering presentations, workshops and networking events that encourage interaction and dialogue between renowned faculty and Consortium Fellows.
The SMIB research committee selected Lachlan McLaren, whose research title is 'Consumer processing of online advertisements', to attend the consortium.
"It was a very difficult decision, given the high quality of PhD students in our programme," says Associate Professor Dan Laufer, Chair of the SMIB Research Committee.
"However, Lachie was chosen by the research committee because of the importance of his research topic, as well as his ability to represent the school at this high profile event where the most prolific scholars in the field interact with top PhD students from leading marketing programmes."
Lachlan commenced his postgraduate studies at the School in 2008, and has also been involved with tutoring and the distance study, along with a position supporting academic staff using technology in their teaching at the Centre for Academic Development.
"I’m grateful for the continued support I have received from SMIB during my studies, which has given me the opportunity to experience many aspects of working at the university," he says.
Lachlan’s PhD research focuses on the attention people pay to interactive advertisements on the internet and the thoughts they have about them.
"I questioned if people even noticed the difference, if they chose to interact with them and if they thought differently about interactive ads.
"This directed my reading towards information processing theories in Marketing, as well as exploring theories related to interactivity and attention allocation."
Lachlan says the final results of his research will help better understand how consumers process online advertisements and indicate to advertisers when it is most appropriate to use interactive online advertisements.
The 2013 AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium will be held June 6-9 at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, on their Ann Arbor campus.
14 February 2013
When comedy duo Flight of the Conchords interviewed school kids as part of composing a fundraising song for Cure Kids NZ in 2012, they asked: how much is a lot of money? A million and a hundred, ten and twenty-one dollars was one answer, a whole house full of money was another.
But how do children form opinions around money and value? And what role can parents play in influencing their children‘s development in this area?
Researcher Janine Williams, who graduated from Victoria Business School in December with a Doctorate in Marketing, has authored a ground-breaking study which sheds light on how children perceive value as they age and become consumers.
To discover what influences children's decisions when buying products, Janine carried out in-depth interviews and analysed the purchasing diaries‘ of a group of 8-14 year olds. Until this study, little research had been conducted on value from a child‘s perspective.
Her results show that children as young as eight were canny in their purchasing, but what influenced their decisions changed remarkably as they got older.
"My research found that there were six dimensions to why kids decided to buy something ranging from its functional value -- what attributes did the product have, and how would it perform -- to its emotional value. For example, they talked about how they felt about the product and how happy it would make them feel."
"A purchasing decision was also influenced by social value of a product; for example, whether their peers also owned the product, and of course price -- could I afford it?"
Janine found that younger children tended to consider if they had enough money to buy the product, but not trade the benefits against the costs. They considered whether they had used a product before, and what it would do for them (for example, if would taste good, or be fun to play with).
Older children deliberated between the costs and benefits of buying something; they considered how long a product might last for and how much money needed to be spent on it to pay for it when it could be used to buy two cheaper products instead.
Younger children bought mostly toys and food, and the majority of these research participants sought the opinion of their parents before spending their pocket money. Janine says as children grew older, the social value of a purchase became more important.
"Research participants were concerned about fitting in with their friends and considered what others might think about them if they bought one product over another."
The study showed that, at any age, children‘s purchasing decisions were influenced by their emotions and by their previous experience of a product. Across all of the age groups studied, children also spoke of sometimes being dissatisfied or regretting a purchase.
Janine says her research has implications for policymakers considering the appropriate marketing of products and services to children, and to those involved in consumer education, including parents.
"As a parent I‘ve become more aware of gaps in my children‘s understanding. I think it‘s particularly important for younger children, who don‘t have the same concept of quality or understanding of price when they decide they want to buy something."
"Their measure of price is just about whether they can afford the product -- they don‘t consider whether something is expensive or cheap for what it is, or whether they‘ll enjoy that product for long enough to make its cost worthwhile."