Marketing the Brave
University of Stirling
2-5 July

Special session 1: Fake News, Brands, and Postmodernism: Implications for Marketers and Society

Tuesday 3rd July 1430‐1545

William Wallace may have been creative and lateral in his strategic thinking when overcoming a much larger army to win the Battle of Stirling Bridge; he was probably also not beset by a host of misleading fake messages, and could give his full attention to the job at hand. However, his creative and imaginative spirit might come in useful today; it could well guide marketers and strategists in dealing with all the “alternative facts” out there that serve to cloud the marketing and business landscapes. Marketing the brave….. and brave marketers need to face an onslaught of half-truths, untruths and damned lies that confront brands and organizations at a frenetic rate. Two trends have come to dominate social discourse: truthiness (the validity of something based on how it feels) and post-fact (taking a position that ignores facts). Human conversation has always contained elements of these, but the nature of the Internet and social media has pushed truthiness and post-fact to new levels. Panelists on this special session will explore the complicated relationship brands have with fake news and discuss the implications for brand management of a post-truth world. Brands both fuel fake news and are burned by it. The panelists will address the intellectual and instrumental roots of the post-truth world: postmodernism and its technological enablers, and show how marketing became a purveyor of the postmodern worldview, and how brands have increasingly adopted truthiness and post-fact positions. They will offer managers a way out of the postmodern cul-de-sac, and discuss ways in which brands can be rethought and managed in a post-rational world. They will also identify important and interesting avenues for future research by marketing scholars.

Special session 2: Reinventing how Students Engage with Core Marketing Content through Learning Science

Tuesday 3rd July 1600-1715

The session will look at how Marketing students engage with core course content, using Swansea University’s pilot of Pearson Education’s new platform, Revel, as a case study on how they tried to increase engagement and improve performance on a Marketing module. It would sit on the Marketing Education track. The session will revolve around key themes such as student engagement, digital innovation, and blended learning, focussing on how the lecturing team at Swansea reimagined the way they delivered their course in order to try and improve student engagement and performance. Deciding to implement the first iteration of a new technology with a large group of students, which included a sizeable international component, is a brave step on Swansea’s part. Not only did the lecturers have to understand how the platform works but as some of the first lecturers in the UK to use this technology, they have pioneered its usage within teaching. This session would allow the lecturers time to discuss their experiences of doing this, including preliminary results.

Special session 3: Marketing and Vulnerable Audiences

Wednesday 4th July 1600-1715

This special session is a critical response to the Academy of Marketing 2018 Conference call for marketing scholars to “be brave in both thought and deed through exploring insightful theoretic concepts, designing and employing rigorous research approaches and generating innovative solutions to bold issues such as: sustainable business practices, responsible consumption and marketplace inclusion.” The American Marketing Association’s (AMA, 2017) Codes of Conduct includes a set of ethical norms and values that aim to promote and ensure the highest standards for marketing practitioners, academics and students. According to those ethical norms marketers must do no harm, foster trust in the marketing system, and embrace ethical values such as honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect, transparency and citizenship. Yet marketing studies often report marketing practice to be manipulative and unethical (Brenkert, 2002), leading to negative consequences such as stigmatisation and marketplace exclusion of vulnerable audiences (Gurrieri et al., 2013). Although different forms of vulnerability, including but not limited to economic, social, physical and environmental, have become a pervasive issue in both developed and developing economies, scholarly marketing research has accorded the vulnerable less systematic treatment than they deserve. Yet vulnerability is not just a descriptive characteristic: some groups of people are vulnerable as part of the natural order of things, but they can be made even more vulnerable by norms and values embedded in marketing practices. To this end, this special session critically examines the impact of marketing – both commercial and social – on vulnerable audiences. This special session will address the important role that marketing research can play in shaping marketing engagement with vulnerable audiences to improve the quality of life for vulnerable individuals and their communities.

Special session 4: Marketing Meets Design Anthropology

Thursday 5th July 0900-1030

Anthropological thinking and methods have inspired consumer research for over thirty years (Grafton-Small, 1987; Sherry, 1995), and is closely tied to marketing ‘interpretive turn’ in which numerous articles have been published in leading academic journals and series of methodology textbooks launched by well-established publishers (Hackley, 2003). As an emergent, transdisciplinary field, design anthropology remains relatively unknown in marketing despite its deep connection to the field practice (Squires & Byrne, 2002; Sunderland & Denny, 2007). Nonetheless, design anthropology and interpretive marketing research have a lot in common. Both are interested in consumers and end-users; focus on the role of culture in everyday life and consumption; share a preference for in-depth, qualitative methods; and often make use of eclectic theoretical perspectives to address a wide range of research areas. For example, design anthropology and marketing research cover topics such as sustainability, temporality of consumption, consumer identities and lifestyles, and co-creation of value. Publications of marketing/design anthropology intersections already exist (e.g. O’Donohoe, Hogg, Maclaran, Martens & Stevens, 2014), but these are not widely known among marketing researchers. This special session highlights some of the key concepts, approaches, and methodologies of design anthropology, and explores how these could contribute to marketing research agendas such as sustainable business practices, responsible consumption and marketplace inclusion (Cherrier, 2009; Press and Arnould 2009; Martin & Schouten, 2014). Our focus is on the qualities design anthropology inherits from design practice and design research, rather than from traditional anthropology, which is already one of the pillars of interpretive marketing research (Hirschman & Holbrook, 1982; Belk, Wallendorf & Sherry, 1989; Arnould & Thompson, 2005).

Special session 5: External Examining of Programmes in Marketing

Thursday 5th July 1045-1215

The External Examiner system underpins much of what we do. Quality, consistency, coherency, scope, syllabus and an objective assessment of teaching and learning practice are in whole or in substantial part dependent on External Examiners and the relationships they have with their host and home institutions. It is a system under pressure and in flux. Coming together to reflect on and discuss the processes and doctrine they encounter, the pressures they are under and what they see as their role and key activities would reveal a great deal about what and how things are done in respect of marketing education at UK HEIs. This session would have as context and comparison the current HEA project on External Examiners which is considering issues on an all-subject basis. It will be of direct relevance to current and intending External Examiners, Programme Directors and of course Heads of Department and would begin the building of a network within our community to devolve more deeply and formally into these issues. Further, it will disseminate the findings of our recent AM Teaching and Learning grant funded project directly to key stakeholders in the perfect circumstances of the annual conference in line with the aims and objectives of that scheme.