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Improving business by understanding consumer identity: Meet new faculty member Keri Kettle

Client paying a bill at cashier

Professor KettleAfter earning a PhD in marketing at the Alberta School of Business,  Keri Kettle was hired last July as an associate professor at the Telfer School of Management. We interviewed him to learn more about his research interest in consumer identity and in what drives consumer behaviour.

Why did you choose to study marketing? Any personal motivation behind your research interests in this area?

I’ve always wondered what motivates people to make different choices, and marketing is simply a reflection of individual consumption choices. I gained a lot of insight into motivation and decision-making when I served in the Canadian Army, and my research interests, namely identity and motivation, are really driven by those experiences.

How did your PhD training inform your current research program?

My PhD training at the Alberta School of Business really showed me the many ways to examine an issue: this is reflected in my research, since I use many different methods, including field data, large-scale field experiments, and online experiments, to understand what drives consumption behaviour.

Do you have any new research highlights to share?

In a current study, we are examining what happens to your spending decisions when you get an alert or notification telling you that you have just had a large amount of spending (“unusual spending”) on your credit card. Surprisingly, our data shows that if a person’s spending is really out of the ordinary for them, they will actually spend more after getting an “unusual spending” alert!

How could your research influence businesses in Canada?

My research on consumer identity and behaviour should teach businesses how important it is to understand how their customers see themselves. More importantly, businesses need to foster consumer identities: can you get your customers to “be” your brand rather than just “do” your brand?

By Rania Nasrallah-Massaad


Register for Keri Kettle's New Faculty Seminar by clicking here!