Researchers Investigate Mobile Branding

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Researchers at Northeastern University are releasing the initial results of a quantitative survey of two regions, an established market (the United States) and an emerging market (Pakistan), designed to provide insight into consumer attitudes and responses to mobile marketing efforts. The research, conducted by Fareena Sultan, Associate Professor of Marketing and Andrew Rohm, Assistant Professor of Marketing, is part of a large scale, global quantitative survey currently underway.

Among the key preliminary findings:


- Men and women differ when it comes to their level of personal attachment to personal mobile devices, attitudes and usage characteristics towards mobile communications, and innovativeness/orientation to new technologies.

- Across established and emerging markets, males exhibit greater desire to engage in marketing-related programs and promotions (such as registering for mobile-related promotions, downloading ringtones) in the mobile space than females.

- Significant differences exist between younger and older individuals regarding usage characteristics (for instance, downloading songs for fun versus more functional usage such as accessing news content), with younger consumers more vulnerable to personal privacy abuse and exhibiting greater propensity to give permission to marketers to engage them in the mobile space.

- Consumers in the emerging market scored higher for intention to be active in the mobile space for marketing-related programs and promotions, willingness to give permission to marketers to engage them in the mobile space, and vulnerability to personal privacy abuse.

“With the emergence of innovative new communications platforms, brand-consumer interactions are beginning to take place based on location or within specific consumption contexts, for example at retail stores or sporting events,” said Andrew Rohm. “While this technology provides companies and brands an unprecedented opportunity to connect with their customers on a personal and meaningful level, it also puts them at risk of crossing boundaries with those customers and becoming intrusive. It is critical for businesses to intimately understand the desires and privacy concerns of their customers.”

Rohm and Sultan plan to extend their survey to include Germany and other countries in Europe and Asia.

“We believe that mobile and context-specific content and communications will be the driving factors influencing brand-consumer interaction for years to come,” said Fareena Sultan. “In order for companies to reap the benefits of these technologies, they must better understand consumers and learn to adapt their communication strategies appropriately. This is particularly important as companies seek to communicate with consumers in the global marketplace.”