Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Research Insights: The Year Ahead

Research Insights: The Year Ahead

Marketing News Staff

eyeball lifting barbell

In this special edition of the Latest Research Insights, our journals team offers a look at articles to be published in AMA journals in 2020

Part of The Year Ahead 2020 special web issue

Emerging Trends for Global Brand Building

illustration of globe with eyeball on it

By Jan-Benedict E.M. Steenkamp

Global Brand Building and Management in the Digital Age,” Journal of International Marketing, 28 (March 2020)

In a nutshell: This article identifies the implications of five core underlying digital trends for global brand building and management: (1) rise of digital global sales channels, (2) co-creation of global brand strategy, (3) global transparency of brand activities, (4) global connectivity among the brand’s consumers and (5) the internet of things.


Practitioner takeaways: Every brand can now be global in a keystroke. Use crowdsourcing to overcome resource advantages of established big brands. You can no longer hide scandals; global transparency is a must. Engage digital opinion leaders, both locally and globally. The digital age favors private companies with strong reputation for privacy.

Cannibalizing Your Product Line is Actually an Effective Marketing Strategy

By Saeed Samiee, Maria Saaksjarvi, Nukhet Harmancioglu and Jan Erik

Intentional Cannibalization, Radical Innovation and Performance: A Comparison of Chinese and Western Enterprises in China,” Journal of International Marketing, 28 (June 2020).

In a nutshell: Intentional cannibalization (IC), or intentionally creating new products that make your current products obsolete, can enhance performance if used effectively. But does it work across cultures? The authors show that IC on its own is related to radical innovation only for Western firms, not for Chinese firms. For Chinese firms, the link between IC and radical innovation becomes significant only in combination with a cost leadership strategy.

Practitioner takeaways: A firm’s reluctance to focus on innovation, or its unwillingness to systematically cannibalize its successful products in favor of new innovations, can have negative consequences. It’s important to take culture into consideration when deciding how to proceed.

When a ‘Before-After’ Ad is Effective—And When It’s Not

side by side drawings of man looking down

By Luca Cian and Chiara Longoni

“Advertising a Desired Change: When Process Simulation Fosters (vs. Hinders) Credibility and Persuasion,” Journal of Marketing Research (June 2020)

In a nutshell: Ads promising a desired change are typically either visuals of the starting and ending point of the promised change (before-after ads) or visuals of the intermediate steps in addition to starting and ending points (progression ads). The authors find that when the promised change requires a long time to be achieved, progression ads are more persuasive, but when achieving the change requires only a short amount of time and consumers are focused on the time necessary to achieve the change, progression ads are less persuasive.

Practitioner takeaways: Although before-after ads are much more common than progression ads, they’re not always the most effective. Progression ads are more credible and more persuasive than before-after ads when the promised changed requires a long time to be achieved.

Do Minimum Payment Warnings Help Consumers?

By Linda Salisbury and Min Zhao

Active Choice Format and Minimum Payment Warnings in Credit Card Repayment Decisions,” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 39 (July 2020)

In a nutshell: The researchers investigate how credit card holders’ repayment decisions change under the “active choice” payment format that is prevalent online. They find that the minimum payment warning (MPW) disclosure—which is mandatory on traditional monthly billing statements but typically absent in online payment settings—increased choice of the “three-year payoff amount” described in MPW disclosures and decreased choice of the minimum required amount across all choice formats.

Practitioner takeaways: In light of this study’s findings, policymakers may consider making MPW disclosures mandatory in online contexts as well as offline. Consumers should be aware of the differences in online versus offline disclosures and be sure they have pertinent information on payoff costs.

Emotional Reviews Don’t Always Help

photo of man in black and white wearing sunglasses with pink hearts

By Matthew D. Rocklage and Russell Fazio

The Enhancing vs. Backfiring Effects of Positive Emotion in Consumer Reviews,” Journal of Marketing Research (April 2020)

In a nutshell: Although most believe that amplifying positive emotion has a favorable impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions, the authors find that positive emotional content can sometimes backfire. Case in point: Online reviewers who express greater positive emotion are indeed more positive toward their products, but this emotion backfires when expressed to others for utilitarian, but not hedonic, products.

Practitioner takeaways: When asking customers to write reviews, companies should urge their customers to express more positive emotion for hedonic products but provide their reasons for endorsing utilitarian products.