Kent State Faculty Member Robert Jewell, Ph.D. Publishes Research on Secret Brand Consumption

Bob Jewell


KENT, Ohio – Keeping brand consumption a secret is common practice, according to research conducted by a Kent State marketing professor and published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.


Robert Jewell, Ph.D., chair and professor of marketing at the Kent State College of Business Administration, along with colleague Veronica Thomas, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing at Towson University, studied how consumers form connections with brands but do not want those connections known publicly.


For example, some consumers may hide their consumption of Starbucks coffee because their co-workers do not like giant corporations like Starbucks. Also, marketing practitioners recognize that consumers keep brand consumption a secret and have been known to accommodate them by shipping in-store purchases to their houses or providing plain shopping bags.


Given this, Jewell and Thomas were interested in looking at two things: (1) how common it is for consumers to keep their brand consumption a secret; and (2) what happens to the relationship between a consumer and a brand when they keep its consumption a secret.


The researchers found that keeping brand consumption a secret was pretty common; survey results show that approximately two-thirds of consumers kept their consumption a secret for at least one brand.


Additionally, they found that consumers who keep their brand consumption a secret actually felt more attached to the brand than consumer who did not.


“When trying to keep a secret, individuals, ironically, can’t stop thinking about the brand. This ‘obsessive preoccupation’ leads to consumers becoming more attached to the brand,” Jewell explained.


Findings of the study were profiled in a recent MarketWatch article, “Why it’s so hard to give up guilty pleasures like McDonald’s and Louis Vuitton.”


In addition to this recent publication, Jewell has been published in a variety of scholarly journals and publications. His research has focused on Consumer Behavior, the Effects of Advertising on Brand reputation and Brand Positioning.


Kent State College of Business Administration


Kent State University's College of Business Administration is among the fewer than 1% of business schools worldwide to obtain dual AACSB accreditation in both business and accounting. The College boasts 10 undergraduate majors, 14 minors and a Professional Sales Certificate program; master's degrees in accounting, business administration (MBA and EMBA), business analytics, and economics; as well as a Ph.D. program with concentrations in accounting, finance, information systems, management and marketing.


The Kent State College of Business Administration ranked among the top business schools in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Undergraduate Business Programs” and is ranked as one of the nation’s Best Business Schools by Princeton Review. The College is committed to sustainability as an advanced Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) signatory and is recognized by the Sales Education Foundation as a top university for professional sales education.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 04:31 PM
UPDATED: Thursday, December 08, 2022 07:57 AM