RESEARCH

 

Current projects

CUSTOMER PARTICIPATION IN LOYALTY PROGRAM: DEFINITION, MEASURE, ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES

RESEARCHER: Virginie BRUNEAU
SUPERVISOR (S): Prof. Pietro ZIDDA (UNamur)
SUMMARY: Recent figures show that, despite rising number of enrollments, consumers become less active and engaged with their loyalty programs (LPs). As a result, customers are enrolled in many LPs but participate in less than half of their programs. Firms thus fail to engage customers in relationships with their LPs. This doctoral research aims to understand (1) what active participation in LPs is, (2) how to measure it, (3) how to enhance active participation and (4) how it is linked with company outcomes such as customer engagement.


COMMUNICATING CUSTOMER EMPOWERMENT STRATEGIES TO NON-PARTICIPATING CUSTOMERS: AN INVESTIGATION OF THE MECHANISMS AND CONDITIONS IMPACTING THE AFFECTIVE REACTIONS TOWARD THE BRAND AND THE BRAND RELATIONSHIP

RESEARCHER: Fanny CAMBIER
SUPERVISOR (S): Prof. Ingrid PONCIN
SUMMARY: New technology development, like Web 2.0, allow easy and fast exchanges between consumers and firms. Consumers also display a desire for “empowerment”, i.e. having a greater role in exchanges with companies. Then, more and more firms develop platforms to empowering them to take a more active role in innovation. Threadless, Muji, PespiCo, Danone, Starbucks, 3M are examples of firms that have recently developed platforms to empower their customers, by allowing them generate ideas and/or and vote on those they like best.
Over the past decade, the customer empowerment strategies have especially been studied from the angle of participating consumers. The first research focusing on the consumers not participating was only published in 2011 and showed positive effects on non-participating consumers’ perceptions and behavioural intentions. Through the lens of communication and persuasion, this doctoral research moves beyond the “what” and ask “how” and “when”, i.e which mechanisms and conditions impact the non-participants’ affective reactions toward the brands that communicate their customer empowerment strategies for new products.
This dissertation ultimately aims at helping companies decide if it’s worth advertising their customer empowerment strategies and how to best benefit from it.


ESSAYS ON CHARITABLE GIVING: TOWARD A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF NOWADAYS DONATORS

RESEARCHER: Etienne DENIS
SUPERVISOR (S): Prof. Claude PECHEUX
SUMMARY: The present research project consists in essays on charitable giving. In a context of intensified competition between charitable organizations, private donors are more than ever crucial. This project aims at providing a better understanding of today’s donator and of his decision-making process. After a first descriptive analysis of the today’s charitable donators, we consider the influencing variables that drive this form of prosocial behavior. More precisely, we focus on more self-oriented variable that can lead people to consider giving, such as guilt, pride, social pressure or reputation.


BRAND PERCEPTION AND ANTHROPOMORPHISM: ARE BRANDS PERCEIVED AS HUMANLIKE?

RESEARCHER: Iskra HERAK
SUPERVISOR: Prof. Nicolas KERVYN
FUNDING SOURCE: FSR (UCL)
SUMMARY: Research has shown that people easily ascribe human characteristics to nonhuman entities and treat them accordingly. It has also been shown that people can deny human qualities to real persons. These phenomena are respectively known as anthropomorphism and dehumanization. Our approach is that ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman entities and disavowing them from humans are two instantiations of the same process. The former is called anthropomorphism, and the latter is known as dehumanization. Although authors recognized that these phenomena are two ends of the same continuum, there has been little attempt to empirically link and integrate them. Furthermore, these processes have been explored in different contexts, thus we consider that there is a need to study them systematically under the same contextual structure. With this research proposal we plan to empirically test the perceived complementarity of these two effects and integrate them under one comprehensive theoretical framework of human attribution. More precisely, we aim to tackle the question of humanness and its (mis)attribution in the context of product endorsement.


ESSAYS ON THE ENGAGEMENT MECHANICS IN THE VALUE COCREATION PROCESS: THE CASE OF GAMIFICATION

RESEARCHER: Thomas LECLERCQ
SUPERVISOR (S): Prof. Ingrid PONCIN and Wafa HAMMEDI
SUMMARY: Academics and practitioners acknowledge the relevance to cocreate value with customers in terms of innovation and relationship management. The emergence of online platforms, communities and social networks has been widely recognized to facilitate the interactions, resources exchanges among actors and consequently value cocreation. However, despite their important role, these technologies are not sufficient for an effective customers’ engagement yet considered as a key predictor of successful co-creation experiences. Although value cocreation has been explored by researchers from multiple fields, two gaps require to be addressed. On the one hand, the term value co-creation has emerged as a highly enticing label with multiple meanings however there is not consensus on its meaning, on the other hand, practitioners and researchers need to understand which are the mechanics that can be used to manage users’ engagement toward value cocreation process. In order to address these gaps, this doctoral project consists in three distinct papers. Firstly, an integrative review of the literature has been conducted based on 181 papers from Marketing, Innovation and Business disciplines and related to value cocreation. The second and third papers will be dedicated to explore gamification mechanics as a means to create, boost and maintain participants’ engagement.


CURBING PRODUCT OBSOLESCENCE ISSUES: UNDERSTANDING LIFE SPAN INFORMATION FRAMING EFFECTS ON CONSUMERS’ INTERTEMPORAL CHOICES

RESEARCHER: Pauline MUNTEN
SUPERVISOR: Prof. Valérie SWAEN (YCL) and Prof. Joëlle VANHAMME (EDHEC)
SUMMARY: Firms have incentives to restrict product life spans and accelerate consumption patterns. Planned obsolescence practices also can support economic growth, by increasing sales and eliminating second-hand markets. Yet these practices also create societal concerns (e.g., waste, unsustainable consumption, consumer debt). Therefore, some public policy measures seek to inform consumers about the life span of the products they buy. Evidence about consumers’ reactions to such information is lacking though. The main and broad objectives of this research is thus to explore the impact of product life span information on consumers’ product perceptions and reactions (e.g., product preferences, perceived quality, purchase intentions, product replacement rate) and to determine what conditions (situation-, product-, and consumers’ specific) enhance or limit these observed effects. Therefore, this study will mobilize four well-established theories from economics and psychology: intertemporal choice theory, “framing” literature, prospect theory, and construal-level theory. This project thus will contribute to literature and practice by specifying the impact of life span information and its framing on consumers’ reactions; it also will help public policy makers by revealing the potential effectiveness of regulations designed to curb planned obsolescence practices.


VERS UNE COMPREHENSION DE L’HABITER DANS LA CONSOMMATION : L’EXPERIENCE DES LIEUX POLYFONCTIONNELS

RESEARCHER: Stéphanie Toussaint
SUPERVISOR (S): Prof. Nil OZCAGLAR-TOULOUSE (Lille 2) and Prof. Per AGRELL (UCL)
SUMMARY: This research looks at consumers’ experience within multifunctional places. By looking at new ways of working (coworking), we analyze space production through ‘liquid’ practices. On the one hand, we show that joint appropriation leads to the social construction of commercial spaces into meaningful environments. On the other hand, we show that plasticity and empowerment are chore characteristics of co-driven experience in service design.

 

Past projects

NEW INSIGHTS ON CONSUMERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF BRAND-INDUCED NOSTALGIA AND ITS ROLE IN THE FORMATION OF CONSUMER-BASED BRAND EQUITY (PhD., 2014)

RESEARCHER: Anne-Laure BARTIER
SUPERVISOR: Prof. Isabelle SCHUILING
SUMMARY: Little attention has been given up to now to the study of nostalgia from a branding perspective. This doctoral dissertation, which consists of three essays, aims to analyse the role of consumers’ perceptions of brand-induced nostalgia (brand nostalgia) in the formation of consumer-based brand equity. To achieve this objective, the first essay captures the dimensions of brand nostalgia with a complete and thorough exploration of the construct. It also enhances the understanding of the conditions, drivers and consequences of brand nostalgia. The second essay contributes to the literature by developing a rigorously tested, reliable and valid new three-dimensional scale enabling researchers to measure brand nostalgia. In addition, this essay empirically tests for the first time the relationships between the three dimensions of brand nostalgia and several important brand-related drivers and consequences. Finally, the third essay offers empirical support for the use of brand nostalgia in the formation of consumer-based brand equity for different product categories. It also demonstrates that brand nostalgia influences consumers regardless of their age, gender and nostalgia proneness.


CSR COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGNS TOWARDS THE CONSUMER: ANALYSIS OF THEIR EFFECTS DURING A CSR CRISIS (PhD., 2013)

RESEARCHER: Catherine JANSSEN
SUPERVISOR: Prof. Valérie SWAEN and Prof. Joëlle VANHAMME (EDHEC)
SUMMARY: In the last few years, numerous companies have faced crises involving their socially responsible activities (such as Ikea, The Body Shop, Nike…). Our research seeks to examine whether promoting the company as socially responsible is likely to backfire and/or protect the company in the case of a corporate crisis involving CSR matters, which the exiting literature does not currently allow to clearly establish. Furthermore, our research aims at carefully examining the consumers’ psychological processes that could potentially explain such effects and also seeks to uncover the boundary conditions of those effects of CSR communication.