"Of course we are proud of this," said Prof. Sönke Albers. Together with Prof. Christian Barrot, both from Kühne Logistics University (KLU) in Hamburg, Albers is responsible for two of the six sub-projects. The title of the project: Marketing hedonic media products in the context of digital social media. The project’s total funding volume is approx. €1.5 million for a period of three years (2015-2017), which can be extended by an additional three years.
The foundation has rarely funded business-administration-related themes in the past – of the 189 groups of researchers from all academic fields that DFG is currently supporting, only three are in the field of business administration. "This extraordinary funding opportunity can be likened to an academic accolade for our department of Management and Economics," said KLU President Dr. Thomas Strothotte. And Professor Klaus-Michael Kühne, whose foundation finances the university, commented: "I fully acknowledge this highly respectable achievement."
The digital social networks are having more and more of an impact on consumer behavior. Information can be spread much more quickly via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and it reaches significantly broader target groups. Companies are using these networks to practice brand communication that influences purchasing behavior at least as actively as classical advertising does. As a result, the power of consumers is growing in an undreamt of manner. The so-called hedonic media products – books, films, music and games – are particularly affected.
"We are interested in the influence that social media exerts on the marketing of hedonic media products with short life cycles," explained Albers, who is also Dean of Research at KLU. "In another sub-project, we plan to examine how the social networks can be used for systematic marketing communication," added Christian Barrot, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the private logistics and management university.
In addition to the funding applicants, the project involves many international research partners (international fellows) from major universities including Columbia Business School, Penn State University, and Cornell University in the U.S.A., IDC Herzliya (Israel), and London Business School.