Area of Expertise
- Artificial Intelligence
- Consumer Culture
- Market System Dynamics
I research how markets dynamically shape human behavior, often in the context of new technologies.
I am Editor of the Journal of Consumer Research (2021-2023), Area Editor at the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, ERB member at the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Consumption, Markets and Culture, and Marketing Letters, and previously, an Associate Editor at the Journal of Marketing.
2020 AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium Faculty (postponed to 2021)
2019 Journal of Consumer Research, Outstanding Reviewer Award
2018 MSI Scholar, Marketing Science Institute
2016 “Young business school star professor on the rise,” CNN
2014 "40 under 40 B-School Professors," Poets & Quants
Botti, S., Giesler, M., Stefano, P. and Walker, R. (2020), "Consumers and Artificial Intelligence: An Experiential Perspective", Journal of Marketing.Keywords
Artificial intelligence (AI) helps companies offer important benefits to consumers, such as health monitoring with wearable devices, advice with recommender systems, peace of mind with smart household products, and convenience with voice-activated virtual assistants. However, although AI can be seen as a neutral tool to be evaluated on efficiency and accuracy, this approach does not consider the social and individual challenges that can occur when AI is deployed. This research aims to bridge these two perspectives: on one side, the authors acknowledge the value that embedding AI technology into products and services can provide to consumers. On the other side, the authors build on and integrate sociological and psychological scholarship to examine some of the costs consumers experience in their interactions with AI. In doing so, the authors identify four types of consumer experiences with AI: (1) data capture, (2) classification, (3) delegation, and (4) social. This approach allows the authors to discuss policy and managerial avenues to address the ways in which consumers may fail to experience value in organizations’ investments into AI and to lay out an agenda for future research.
Alba, J., Barasch, A., Bhattacharjee, A., Giesler M., Klaus, W., Knobe, J., Lehmann, D., Matz, S., Nave, G., Parker, J., Puntoni, S., Schrift, R., Zheng, Y. and Zwebner, Y. (2020), "Autonomy in Consumer Choice", Marketing Letters.
We propose that autonomy is a crucial aspect of consumer choice. We offer a definition that situates autonomy among related constructs in philosophy and psychology, contrast actual with perceived autonomy in consumer contexts, examine the resilience of perceived autonomy, and sketch out an agenda for research into the role of perceived autonomy in an evolving marketplace increasingly characterized by automation.
Fischer, E. and Giesler, M. (2018), "IoT Stories: The Good, the Bad and the Freaky", GfK Marketing Intelligence Review, 10(2), 25-30.
Consumers’ perceptions of technology are less matters of product attributes and concrete statistical evidence and more of captivating stories and myths. Managers of IoT can instill consumer trust when they tell highly emotional stories about the technologically empowered self, home, family or society. The key benefit of this approach is that storytelling-based IoT marketing allows consumers to forge strong and enduring emotional bonds with IoT and, in many cases, to develop loyalty beyond belief. However, stories aren’t always positive. Negative stories and meanings about a technology that are circulated in popular culture can be dangerous and harmful to a brand or a new technology. Regardless of its source, marketers need to understand the nature of the doppelgänger images that may be circulating for their technologies. They can be regarded as diagnostic tools to better understand how consumers think about and experience their IoT solutions. Also, doppelgänger narratives are valuable raw ingredients from which marketers can cull new, more captivating IoT stories that nurture consumer adoption.
Brunk, K., Giesler, M. and Hartmann, B. (2018), "Creating a Consumable Past: How Memory Making Shapes Marketization", Journal of Consumer Research, 44(6), 1325-1342.
Consumer researchers tend to equate successful marketization—the transition from a socialist to a capitalist economy—with the consensual acquiescence to an idealized definition of the socialist past. For this reason, little research has examined how memories about socialism influence marketization over time. To redress this gap, we bring prior consumer research on commercial mythmaking and popular memory to bear on an in-depth analysis of the marketization of the former German Democratic Republic. We find that, owing to a progressive sequence of conflicts between commercialized memories of socialism promoted by marketing agents and countermemories advocating socialism as a political alternative, definitions of the past, and by extension, capitalism’s hegemony are subject to ongoing contestation and change. Our theoretical framework of hegemonic memory making explains relationships among consumption, memory making, and market systems that have not been recognized by prior research on consumption and nostalgia.
Giesler, M. and Veresiu, E. (2018), "Beyond Acculturation: Multiculturalism and the Institutional Shaping of an Ethnic Consumer Subject", Journal of Consumer Research, 45(3), 553-570.
Prior consumer research has investigated the consumer behavior, identity work, and sources of ethnic group conflict among various immigrants and indigenes. However, by continuing to focus on consumers’ lived experiences, researchers lack theoretical clarity on the institutional shaping of these individuals as ethnic consumers, which has important implications for sustaining neocolonial power imbalances between colonized (immigrant-sending) and colonizing (immigrant-receiving) cultures. We bring sociological theories of neoliberal governmentality and multiculturalism to bear on an in-depth analysis of the contemporary Canadian marketplace to reveal our concept of market-mediated multiculturation, which we define as an institutional mechanism for attenuating ethnic group conflicts through which immigrant-receiving cultures fetishize strangers and their strangeness in their commodification of differences, and the existence of inequalities between ethnicities is occluded. Specifically, our findings unpack four interrelated consumer socialization strategies (envisioning, exemplifying, equipping, and embodying) through which institutional actors across different fields (politics, market research, retail, and consumption) shape an ethnic consumer subject. We conclude with a critical discussion of extant scholarship on consumer acculturation as being complicit in sustaining entrenched colonialist biases.
Giesler, M. and Thompson, C. (2016), "A Tutorial in Consumer Research: Process Theorization in Cultural Consumer Research", Journal of Consumer Research, 43(4), 497-508.
How do researchers studying the cultural aspects of consumption theorize change? We propose four analytical workbench modes of process theorization in combination with nine genres of process-oriented consumer research, each presenting a distinctive combination of assumptions about the nature of change in market and consumption systems and consumers’ role in these processes. Through this framework, we provide consumer researchers with a useful interpretive tool kit for deriving a process-oriented theorization from the unwieldy complexity of longitudinal data.
Giesler, M. and Veresiu, E. (2014), "Creating the Responsible Consumer: Moralistic Governance Regimes and Consumer Subjectivity", Journal of Consumer Research, 41(3), 840-857.
Responsible consumption conventionally stems from an increased awareness of the impact of consumption decisions on the environment, on consumer health, and on society in general. We theorize the influence of moralistic governance regimes on consumer subjectivity to make the opposite case: responsible consumption requires the active creation and management of consumers as moral subjects. Building on the sociology of governmentality, we introduce four processes of consumer responsibilization that, together, comprise the P.A.C.T. routine (personalization, authorization, capabilization, and transformation). After that, we draw on a longitudinal analysis of problem-solving initiatives at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to explore the role of P.A.C.T. in the creation of four, now commonplace, responsible consumer subjects: the bottom-of-the-pyramid consumer, the green consumer, the health-conscious consumer, and the financially literate consumer. Our analysis informs extant macro-level theorizations of market and consumption systems. We also contribute to prior accounts of responsibilization, marketplace mythologies, consumer subjectivity, and transformative consumer research.
Arnould, E., Giesler, M. and Thompson, C. (2013), "Discursivity, Difference, and Disruption: Genealogical Reflections on the CCT Heteroglossia", Marketing Theory, 13, 149-174.
We offer a genealogical perspective on the reflexive critique that consumer culture theory (CCT) has institutionalized a hyperindividualizing, overly agentic, and sociologically impoverished mode of analysis that impedes systematic investigations into the historical, ideological, and sociological shaping of marketing, markets, and consumption systems. Our analysis shows that the CCT pioneers embraced the humanistic/experientialist discourse to carve out a disciplinary niche in a largely antagonistic marketing field. However, this original epistemological orientation has long given way to a multilayered CCT heteroglossia that features a broad range of theorizations integrating structural and agentic levels of analysis. We close with a discussion of how reflexive debates over CCT’s supposed biases toward the agentic reproduce symbolic distinctions between North American and European scholarship styles and thus primarily reflect the institutional interests of those positioned in the Northern hemisphere. By destabilizing the north–south and center–periphery relations of power that have long-framed metropole social science constructions of the marginalized cultural “other” as an object of study—rather than as a producer of legitimate knowledge and theory—the CCT heteroglossia can be further diversified and enriched through a blending of historical, material, critical, and experiential perspectives.
Giesler, M. (2012), "How Doppelgänger Brand Images Influence the Market Creation Process: Longitudinal Insights from the Rise of Botox Cosmetic", Journal of Marketing, 76, 55-68.
Using actor-network theory from sociology, the author explores the creation of new markets as a brand-mediated legitimation process. Findings from an eight-year longitudinal investigation of the Botox Cosmetic brand suggest that the meanings of a new cosmetic self-enhancement technology evolve over the course of contestations between brand images promoted by the innovator and doppelgänger brand images promoted by other stakeholders. Each contestation addresses an enduring contradiction between nature and technology. A four-step brand image revitalization process is offered that can be applied either by managers interested in fostering an innovation’s congruence with prevailing social norms and ideals or by other stakeholders (e.g., activists, competitors) interested in undermining its marketing success. The findings integrate previously disparate research streams on branding and market creation and provide managers with the conceptual tools for sustaining a branded innovation’s legitimacy over time.
Courses TaughtMKTG 7983: Marketing Strategy (PhD)
MKTG 6800: Customer Experience Design (MBA)
MKTG 6321: Entertainment Marketing (MBA)
Schulich Associate Professor of Marketing Markus Giesler has been honoured as a 2018 Marketing Science Institute (MSI) Scholar. The goal of the MSI Scholars is to strengthen ties with marketing academics at important points in their careers, encouraging and cultivating rigorous research that has significant potential to influence and enhance marketing practice.
“I am honoured that MSI recognizes my research on market systems and customer experience design and am grateful for the opportunity to work with this impressive cadre of colleagues,” Professor Giesler said.
A regular contributor to the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Marketing, Giesler has developed and refined a process-based method for analyzing qualitative and quantitative data longitudinally to theorize change, a method he helped pioneer in marketing.
At Schulich, he is active in both the doctoral and MBA programs, teaching consumer culture theory and marketing strategy topics. His “Customer Experience Design,” the first of its kind MBA course in the world, publishes regular student-written insight columns for the American Marketing Association and Huffington Post. Additionally, Giesler is the Director of the Big Design Lab, a think tank that investigates market-level design questions with public and private organizations.
As part of the inaugural class of 34 faculty, Professor Giesler will join the other scholars for a retreat in Colorado this summer.
“The MSI Scholars are among the most prominent marketing scholars in the world, and we look forward to their ideas about setting the agenda for the field and helping to bridge the gap between research and practice,” said MSI Executive Director Carl Mela.