Summa cum laude for KLU PhD Student

Thomas Fandrich with graduation cap

Thomas Fandrich, a doctoral student at KLU, successfully defended his dissertation “Essays on Learning from Consumer Response to Support Marketing Mix Decisions – Empirical Applications to Decisions on Product, Price and Promotion” at our partner, Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel. His research was awarded the top honor: summa cum laude

Treating both the methodological and empirical aspects, his five dissertation articles build on new research streams relating to the marketing mix instruments product, price and promotion. After several presentations at leading international conferences ( Wharton Business School, London Business School, and Istanbul Technical University) his work is now in the review processes at top national and international journals (Journal of Marketing Research – JMR, Journal of Product Innovation Management – JPIM, and Zeitschrift für betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung – ZfbF, for example).

Thomas’ papers investigate whether consumers’ perceived similarities of aesthetic product designs can be explained by objective design measures. To do this, he developed a new methodology for objectively measuring and predicting aesthetic design similarity. The results of empirical studies demonstrate that his approach reproduces and predicts consumer perceptions of similarity surprisingly well. Since companies traditionally conduct costly, time-consuming surveys to understand how similar their product designs are perceived to be in relation to their own and competitors’ products, Thomas’ objective method is an innovative way of replacing survey-based approaches. By using it, design-oriented companies can save money and time, and maintain the confidentiality of new design concepts while testing their positioning in existing markets. His methodology also identifies the various reasons behind consumers’ perceived similarity (design similarity drivers), which provides valuable information for managers and designers looking for ways to modify a specific design to drive subjective similarity in the direction required.

Dr. Thomas Fandrich and Dr. Lucas Bremer (University of Hamburg) will receive entrepreneurial funding from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Berlin) in 2014. The ministry is giving them € 82,000 to start an academic spin-off on systematic consumer decision analysis. Their goal is to develop multifunctional, convenient software solutions that will enable analysts and consultants to conduct market research for a fraction of the cost of the traditional method.