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Talking with…Dawn Lerman

Interviews | Jan 20, 2017 |

Dawn LermanEach installment of “Talking with…” gives you a closer look at a different Gabelli School faculty member, administrator, or staff member. This week, we’re learning more about Dawn Lerman, professor and associate dean of graduate studies.

Briefly, what is your area of focus within marketing?
My main area of focus is consumer behavior, or what is sometimes narrowly referred to as consumer psychology. However, in addition to consumer psychology, I was trained in socio- and cultural aspects of consumption, and I incorporate all of those perspectives into my teaching and research.

Most of my research focuses on how language impacts consumer behavior and decision-making. This includes the effect of language on how we think about brands, what we remember about them, what we buy, and how we consume them.

Have “internet-speak” and text language affected the discipline?
Absolutely! The kind of language that works online or in mobile is dramatically different than the language marketers would use in traditional advertising or on packaging. Even more importantly, much of the brand information that is available to consumers today is generated by other consumers, who tend to be much less formal in their communication style than a marketer would be in conveying the same information.

Consumers may share their brand experiences in stream of consciousness, forego punctuation or capitalization, or express their feelings and emotions about brands using abbreviations and emoticons instead of words. There is quite a lot of research on the impact of social media or online product reviews, such as on Amazon, on consumer perceptions of brands and the likelihood of buying brands, but relatively little research on how the structure or grammaticality of consumer language influences the choices of other consumers.

What are you currently working on outside of teaching?
Serving as associate dean for graduate studies takes up most of my time. However, I’ve been putting finishing touches on a book that will soon go to print, working on various research projects, and planning the next Conference for Positive Marketing.

What are you looking forward to in the spring semester?
So many things! I’m looking forward to spending a week as a visiting scholar at Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid where Luke Kachersky and I will be delivering lectures and workshops on positive marketing, launching a global immersion for finance students that Gautam Goswami and I are working on together, and seeing the results of a new kind of English-language course that we have been developing for international students in the MS in Accounting program. These are just a few of the many things.

Also, every spring I look forward to graduation. There’s an excitement about sending our students into the world and onto their next adventure.


Fun questions

Did you make a New Year’s resolution?
No, I set a few goals for myself but I didn’t think of them as New Year’s resolutions.

Favorite foreign city to visit:
London, but Hong Kong is a close second.

Best thing about winter in NYC:
There are still plenty of things to do despite the cold weather.

Worst thing about winter in NYC:
The huge puddles that plague NYC street corners as the snow melts.

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate:
Usually coffee.

Preferred way to unwind after a long week:
Exploring new places with my husband and daughter.


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