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Consumer Research Group

The Consumer Research Group includes academics with a wide range of interests and expertise across consumer behaviour, advertising, branding and market performance metrics. The group disseminates research findings through top international journals and through interdisciplinary as well as subject-specialist conferences. Several members of the group work closely with marketing practitioners and managers and are involved in research that has direct practical applications for commercial as well as public sector organisations.  Focal research areas of the group include:

Word of mouth
Research has focused extensively on the impact of word of mouth (WOM) on consumers’ purchase intentions and their loyalty to the firm. Studies have considered WOM among varying consumer groups in a range of product sectors. Ongoing projects focus on understanding offline consumer conversations, identifying the drivers of online consumer conversations, and the impact of firm-induced consumer conversations.

Multichannel shopping
Comparing the behaviours and attitudes of multi-channel shoppers, we have established the importance of situational factors, brand loyalty and underlying attitudes as a driver of grocery shopping behaviour. Ongoing studies are mapping changes in multi-channel shopping as technology develops and matures.

Brand extensions and brand alliances
Studies have explored how factors such as parent brand positioning strategies, corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and differences in parent brand equity influence consumer views of a new co-branded product. Extensive research on brand extensions examined the impact of parent brand characteristics (luxury vs non-luxury), extensions type (goods extending into goods versus extending into services; vertical extensions), country (Spain, UK and Italy) and product category (cars and shoes) on consumer perceptions.

Luxury branding
Recent projects include an investigation of how luxury value perceptions differ amongst Asian consumers, the impact of downscale extensions among luxury and prestige brands, and development of a decision framework for luxury brand extensions. Another major ongoing project is probing how consumers commit to luxury brands through the lens of a multidimensional conceptual model.

Brand performance metrics
Studies employ empirically-derived metrics to provide benchmarks for a brand’s performance, in terms of brand size, purchase frequency and behavioural loyalty as well as for brand image and attitudinal loyalty. This has also involved analysing purchase data in large-scale consumer panels in the fast moving consumer goods sector. Other projects include creating benchmarks for the market performance of new brands, examining purchase behaviour of older customers, and analysing behavioural segments for gambling in the UK. The group have undertaken projects across a large range of product categories and in several countries.

Arts and leisure marketing
Recent studies include patterns of cross-purchasing among arts audiences, modelling arts attendance behaviour and the use of search engine use data to forecast aggregate cinema attendance.

Other research topics include how service recovery can be delivered effectively through offline and online channels, how customers cope following a service failure, and the factors influencing customer attitudes towards cause-related marketing.

Current projects include understanding the impact of word of mouth on the sender, the impact of music in advertising, how the framing of charity advertising influences donor perceptions, and how the fit between a brand and social cause influences consumer attitudes towards the brand offering.

Project collaborators include the Universities of Zaragoza and Extremadura (Spain), Glasgow Caledonian and Cranfield Universities (UK), University of North Texas (USA), Massey University in New Zealand, and the Universities of South Australia and New South Wales (Australia).

The research team

Rahul Chawdhary
Professor Francesca Dall’Olmo Riley
Professor Robert East
Dr Chris Hand
Patricia Harris
Dr Lesley Ledden
Professor Wendy Lomax
Helen Robinson
Dr Debra Riley
Professor Jaywant Singh
Melanie Xue

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