Marketing Research Cluster

The Marketing Research Cluster brings together a vibrant community of researchers whose interests range from brand experience to e-loyalty to business ethics and sustainable supply chain management. The cluster meet regularly in Southlands College, led by Professor Rafiq, Professor Chen and Professor Zarantonello for discussions on selected research topics in addition to their formal research programme and seminar series. Indeed, members of the cluster also sit on the editorial review boards for the European Journal of Innovation Management, the Journal of Brand Management, the Journal of Interactive Marketing, the Journal of Advertising Research and the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research. The cluster are frequent contributors to top journals such as the Journal of Business Research, International Marketing, Production Planning and Control, and Annals of Tourism Research.  

The current research programme of the cluster includes

  • Consumer Branding 
  • Consumer Decision Making
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Customer Participation 
  • Destination Marketing
  • Digitisation & Consumer Behaviour 
  • Internal Branding
  • Brand Experience
  • Experiential Religiosity
  • Studying Ethical Business Behaviour through 3D decision-making games
  • Marketing for Small Businesses


PhD Students

Research Highlights

Consumer Happiness and its Role in Customer Experience Management

Professor Zarantonello wrote the first Handbook of Brand Management Scales published by Routledge, by including elements of the emotional experience which had previously been overlooked. She has produced innovate measurement scales which offer fresh insights into how we experience and react to brands. In particular; What is our emotional experience of brands? This stream of work brings together brand management and consumer psychology to offer a more complete conceptualization of how brands are experienced by consumers. 

Appealing to tourist operators not to take advantage of tourists

Professor Chen's recent article published in Tourism Management Perspectives (CABS 2) incorporates an 'on-site activity involvement' variable into the Mehrabian-Russell model research to examine tourists' intentions to revisit and recommend a cultural tourism destination. In collaboration with her co-authors, she draws on a survey of over 500 tourists. Their findings reveal that aesthetics, service staff excellence, and playfulness affect tourists' satisfaction, which in turn affects their sense of belonging. In addition, sense of belonging positively influences tourists' behavioural intentions. The authors conclude that this study's findings can help cultural tourism destinations that have attracted tourists and intend to attract more tourists by assessing their perceived experiential value. They appeal to tourism operators not to take advantage of tourists. However, when hosting tourists, they could set their price at a premium rate in order to improve their service staff quality, playfulness, and aesthetics.

Our recent research-related successes

Prof. Zarantonello published a book review in the Psychology and Marketing Journal titled 'Brand Hate: Navigating consumer negativity in the digital world by S. Umit Kucuk.' Lia concludes that Kucuk's book is a well‐written, pioneering, but still, well‐grounded work that represents a good way to familiarize oneself with the nascent topic of brand hate. It is the first on the topic and has the merit of divulgating the notion of brand hate to a large audience of students, academics, and practitioners who wish to know more about it.

Dr Moorhouse explores the shaping of markets as controversies concerning the meaning and practices related to sustainability for the English vegetable sector in her research article titled 'Controversy and Doxa: Sustainable Food Policy and the English Vegetable Sector' co-authored with Prof. Brennan from Hertfordshire Business School. Their findings are published at the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, you can access the full-text here.

Prof. Chen is co-editing a special issue in the Event Management Journal on the Changing perspectives in Fashion events. It aims to provide insight into the fashion industry’s influence on society and businesses by focusing on fashion events. It plans to develop theoretical, conceptual, and practical implications towards a better understanding of fashion events management and marketing in a global/local context. 

Prof Zarantonello had a paper accepted in the Annual Review of Psychology. The research article titled 'Psychological Underpinnings of Brands' reviews three key areas where current advances reside: brands as passive objects with utilitarian and symbolic meanings, brands as relationship partners and regulators of personal relationships, and brands as creators of social identity with social group linking value.

Prof. Rafiq in collaboration with Prof. Zarantonello and PhD Student Soulima Mouad have contributed to the European Marketing Academy Annual Conference held in May 2019 in Germany with a research article titled 'Functional and Experiential Routes to Brand Loyalty'.