My broad area of interest is in how people process persuasive messages. I am particularly interested in testing the psychological effects of advertising and strategic communications on consumers. Within this area of research, I am primarily interested in testing the effects in a new media context examining user-generated content and interactive media.
Strategic Communication in an Online Environment and Advertising Media
I am intrigued by what makes consumers want to share their ideas and their experiences and what makes them want to create and respond to user-generated content. For example, my prior research has looked at how the emotional attachment to a brand affects the credibility of information sources comparing company-created versus consumer-created ads. Based on experimental research, I found that individuals who are emotionally attached to a brand find the corresponding company and the message more credible whereas less emotionally attached individuals find consumer source and information from consumers more credible. Another example in this line of research involved an exploratory study investigating how the type of website and the types of products are linked to the content of online consumer product reviews. In this research, I found that product ratings from a manufacturer website were higher than those from a third-party retailer’s website for the same product. The lengths of reviews were longer for an experiential product (e.g., music album) than for a functional product (e.g., digital camera). Additionally, people used more emotion-related words and talked more about the subjective quality of the product for an experiential product than for a functional product.
Another research area involves traditional forms of advertising media. For example, I examined how brand recall and recognition are affected by different types of clutter in television advertising. Another example is a study examining the impact of the length of the preceding and following ads on the effectiveness of a TV commercial. This study showed that advertising is more effective when a commercial is longer than other ads within the same commercial break and that the impact of the length of a preceding commercial is stronger than that of a following ad. Additionally, I am in the process of working on an article on teaching advertising media planning. The purpose of this study was to explore the pedagogical principles of teaching advertising media course, which entailed an investigation of the current model for the course and development of a new model.
I attempt to bring together literatures in communication, marketing, and psychology in my research. Methodologically, my research engages quantitative methods including experiments, surveys, and content analysis. Although I am more well-versed in quantitative approaches, I also use qualitative approaches such as interviews to address exploratory research questions.
As my research is closely tied with the current practice in the industry, I would like to showcase practical applications of my research so that I can apply my research in the industry. My goal as a researcher is to seek theoretical understanding on how consumers process persuasive messages and attempt to address the current changes in the industry and the challenges that practitioners face. My dissertation work stems from this research goal, and I believe my research thus far has been focused to advance knowledge in strategic communication. Extending my specialization in user-generated content, I plan to continue my research in understanding online consumer psychology and testing new media as strategic communication tools.