I joined the University of Stirling as a lecturer in Marketing in November 2018. Previously, I was a lecturer in marketing at Nottingham Trent University and worked at the University of Nottingham, where I also completed her PhD in 2016. Prior to my academic job, I worked in the Real State industry.
My main area of expertise is on consumer research, with a main focus on gift giving behaviour, its different manifestations and the diverse contexts where gift giving happens. I am also interested on consumer coping, evolutionary marketing and the application of attachment theory to consumption contexts.
I authored articles on gift giving, political marketing and the role of deals in tourism. I published my work on journals such as the Journal of Travel Research, Journal of Business Research, European Journal of Marketing and Industrial Marketing Management and I regularly present my research in international events including the AMS World Marketing Congress and the ACR North American conference.
Weaving Connections: Advancing Theoretical Insights into Gift Giving in the 2020s
British Academy of Marketing
This workshop aims is to create a space for scholars interested in gift giving to converse and develop research around transformative issues in gifting that impact individuals, communities, and society. We are currently exploring the option of a special issue of a journal associated with this event.
Gift giving research spans a variety of forms, practices and contexts, from material items to intangible experiences, time and labour, and from gifts to oneself to those offered to family members and distant communities. Using varied theoretical lenses, many authors (e.g. Belk, 1979; Mick, 1996) have long illuminated this pervasive, culturally significant phenomenon, making it one of the most productive research fields in marketing. Gift exchange functions as an important connective tissue within society and carries valuable symbolic dimensions (Sherry, 1983). As such it can contribute positively to the well-being of givers and receivers. In recent times, gift-giving research has increasing included a perspective of care, which has led to a number of interesting directions, including sharing (Belk, 2010), intracommunity (Weinberger & Wallendorf, 2012) and intra-cultural gifting (Kanno & Suzuki, 2020), charitable giving (Michel & Rieunier, 2012), prosocial gifting (Rifkin et al., 2020), re-gifting (Guido et al, 2016), and restorative gifting (Drenton et al., 2017).
Where gift-giving practices are situated within a specific social-cultural context (Otnes, 2018), it is relevant to assess how societal changes have shaped gift-giving behaviour. The current digital landscape, the growing concerns with sustainability, and changing household structures have transformed how people relate to each other, consume, and, ultimately, engage in gift giving. Dramatically, the ongoing pandemic has compelled people to re-imagine forms of being with, and giving to, others. These changes call for scholars to inquest and contribute theoretical insights onto the nature, practices and processes of gift giving in the 2020s.
This special session invites panellists to discuss novel and insightful perspectives and methods of looking into gift giving that contribute to advance the field. We are particularly interested in creating a forum for discussing advances in gift giving that point in pro-social and sustainable directions, in the spirit of the growing transformative movement in marketing scholarship. We particularly encourage discussions on “truly impactful gifts” (Otnes, 2018, 225) capable of transforming lives of those involved. Manuscripts addressing, but not restricted to, the following topics are encouraged: Self-gift giving; Integration/differentiation of types of giving; gifting and well-being; gift-giving research methods; E* /digital/ electronic gifting; giving, re-gifting and gifting as sharing to encompass sustainable gifting; Gift-giving processes; Prosocial gift-giving; new gifting contexts.
“Tell me ‘who’ and I will tell you ‘why’ and ‘how’: Integrating multiple gift-giving motivations”
Methodological innovations in qualitative consumer research
British Academy of Marketing
This workshop offers a platform to share novel qualitative methods in consumer research and discuss their potential to capture complexities of consumers and the contexts surrounding them that are often overlooked by established approaches. It also provides an opportunity to develop collaborative relationships amongst scholars interested in qualitative methods.
Understanding consumer behaviour in depth requires dealing with consumers’ inner lives in all of their complexities (Levy, 2005). Although they are widely used within qualitative research (Arsel, 2017), interviews may not produce all the information one requires, and standard qualitative methodologies can hamper understanding of subtle phenomena (Crick, 2021). More creative methods may be required for capturing different facets of consumer behaviour. Novel qualitative methods in consumer research include “walking interviews” where participants’ surroundings inform their narratives (Evans and Jones, 2011), such as interviews during shopping trips (Otnes et al, 1993); collages (Belk, et al., 2003); historical methods using archival data (Smith and Lux, 1993); diaries (Branco-Illodo et al., 2020); or projective techniques to capture unconscious thoughts and feelings (Heath and Nixon, 2021; Sherry et al., 1993). However, such approaches are underutilised in consumer research and there has been little systematic thinking about which methods or types of data are most valuable under which circumstances. In this workshop, we will discuss novel methodological approaches including those emerging from virtual landscapes e.g. netnography (Kozinets, 2019) and methods borrowed from other disciplines (e.g. health sciences). In the same way consumer research embraces “enabling theories” from disciplines such as psychology or sociology to allow original developments in consumer research (Dolbec et al., 2021), there is scope to use qualitative methods more commonly used in other research areas. For example, when narratives are combined with tools such as storytelling, play therapy or drama performance, they allow access to thoughts, feelings, and stories in ways that can be particularly helpful to collect data from children (Crick, 2021). We welcome contributions considering what kinds of analysis are appropriate within different data collection methods and on overcoming barriers to publishing research using a method that does not have an established base of exemplary work or theoretical support.
Finally, we are interested in papers addressing qualitative research that integrates multiple research methods. This is found in Roux and Belk’s (2019) integration of interviews, photograph, observations and analysis of websites and in the pairing of diaries with interviews, which is well established in health research and sociology (Elliot, 1997) and used in consumer research by Branco-Illodo et al. (2020). This requires thinking about how each method relates to the others and raises key questions: How do methods complement each other to allow for a bigger picture to be captured? How can the results of different methods be synthesised?
This session invites researchers to share novel qualitative approaches in consumer research and discuss how this field could move forward to facilitate understanding of the complexities of consumer experiences.
The science of giving: Gifted researchers reveal what makes the most perfect Christmas presents
During the Christmas season 2019, an article has been published in the Sunday Post about our gift giving paper on "'The Perfect Gift' and the 'Best Gift Ever': An Integrative Framework".
This work, accepted in the Journal of Business Research in November, highlights the importance of the experiential , unforgettable and life changing character of the best gifts ever.
This topic is especially relevant for the public in busy gift giving seasons such as Christmas. In a season when people struggle to find a perfect gift, this paper suggests that looking for a perfect gift might lead to imperfect choices. Instead, there are other aspects around the elements surrounding the gift experience that are more important than the gift itself.
A Word of Thanks
The Journal of Consumer Research editors truly appreciate the fine reviews submitted by a dedicated group of ad hoc reviewers, including Dr Ines Branco-Illodo.
Stirling University Study Seeks Tales Of Gift Giving To The Royal Family
Led by Dr Ines Branco-Illodo in collaboration with Dr Mona Moufahim at the university’s Management School and Dr Christopher Pich (Nottingham Trent University), the research seeks to explore and understand why members of the public give gifts to members of the royal family.
This article published in the Daily Record (and other online sources) presents the experiences of Sheyla Clark, one of the participants in this project and aims to reach other potential participants who would be interested in taking part in the study.