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Our Field of Research

We are aware that innovative research results are the premise to deliver an impact in science as well as in management. The Institute for Customer Insight strives to realize empirical, quantitative studies on individual behavior (customer insight). The goal is to deviate implications for the design and marketing of new products. Vice versa, the effects of new technologies on individual behavior shall be examined which leads to consequences for the further definition of products resulting from technology.

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An overview of our research fields:

Behavioral Branding

Employees exert a strong impact on the perception of brands. One of the major challenges of brand managers  is to increase employee’s empowerment, while also ensuring that employees behave in a manner that is consistent with a brand’s positioning and values. The research program Behavioral Branding addresses this crucial issue and investigates how brand behavior can be effectively managed and measured in organizations.

Design & Product Development

Product design is increasingly regarded as a source of competitive advantage. However, in most organizations marketing and design departments do not cooperate in a systematic and coordinated manner. As part of this research program, we aim to investigate which design dimensions are most strongly related to the success of a new product. Furthermore, we are interested in examining how consumers process different product designs and what kind of product designs they end up choosing. Finally, relationships between consumers’ aesthetic experiences and their judgments about a product’s functional utility are also examined.

Brands & Emotions

Brand often convey an emotional value that transcends a product’s functional value and often differentiates a brand from its competitors. In this respect, we aim to examine how subconscious processes affect consumers’ brand evaluations and purchase decisions. To this end, we rely on such innovative methods as response latencies, neural imaging, and eye tracking. The insights gained from these methods can prove useful for imbuing brands with emotional associations and for understanding how emotions affect consumers’ purchase decisions.

Personal Interactions & Communities

In many markets, one-way communications between an organization and its customers and classical relationship marketing are becoming less relevant. Quite to the contrary, consumers’ purchase decisions are often affected by other consumers and whole brand or product communities. Therefore, we are interested in examining the structure and mechanisms of such communities and the role of individual members (e.g., opinion leaders, followers). Cooperating with several organizations, we aim to develop new segmentation approaches and effective methods for communicating with communities.

Service Management

The relevance of services has been continuously increasing over the years. To address this interesting development, the Center for Customer Insight has recently founded a Service Lab. The purpose of this lab is to investigate how brands can be successfully managed in dynamic service environments. Two topics are of special interest in this respect: Firstly, the integration and coordination of the brand management function in service organizations; secondly, the examination of how managers can effectively tangibilize their services and imbue them with a set of unique brand values.

Sales Systems & New Media

Consumers are increasingly relying on online sales systems to purchase products and services. Such systems can also provide a rich set of information about consumers’ search and decision processes that cannot be obtained through classical surveys or observational methods. Therefore, online sales systems can yield unique insights into consumers’ behavior. Moreover, such systems can be further enhanced by integrating the knowledge and experience of a company’s salespeople. Cooperating with several companies, we aim to develop online sales tools that may ultimately be more effective than experienced salespeople.

Market Research & Data Modelling

The Center for Customer Insight also examines how the newest research methods can be applied to address real-life market problems. Online sales systems can provide a rich source of information about consumers’ market transactions. In several industry collaborations, we use this data to develop new approaches for market segmentation and product bundles.

Innovations

Incorporating the disciplines technology management, marketing management, consumer behavior and strategy, we are providing new perspectives on innovation management in cooperation with the Center for Innovation of the University of St. Gallen. The Center of Innovation is particularly conducting research on the commercialization of radical innovations, business model innovation and communication of innovativeness.

Please find more Information on the Center for Innovation here.