Schulich MMKG Program Director featured in Harvard Business Review

Grant Packard Director, Master of Marketing Program
Grant Packard

Schulich’s Master of Marketing Program Director, Grant Packard, recently had one of his publications featured in the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Written by leading business thinkers and executives, HBR publishes cutting-edge ideas and their real-world applications in areas like strategy, leadership, marketing, team management, and professional development.

“It’s always exciting to see your ideas reach managers through the popular press,” said Packard. “So much of what we do stays relatively hidden in our journals and conferences.”

Professor Packard and Jonah Berger from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania explored how a subtle aspect of how people talk – known as linguistic concreteness – can have an important impact on customers’ attitudes, purchase intentions, and even their actual purchases.

Packard and Berger first analyzed the content of over 1,000 real customer service interactions from two different companies, one based in the U.S. and the other in Canada. Experiments revealed a significant increase in satisfaction and actual purchases when agents used more concrete words because it signals the agent is paying attention to the customer.

“This publication reflects the great importance of genuinely human touchpoints,” said Packard. “For consumers and managers, that’s something that’s been particularly difficult to deliver in the last few years.”

Professor Packard also studies the consumption and production of language in the market. His work offers insights on topics from the things consumers say in social media and online reviews, to how brands and their representatives (e.g., salespeople, call centre workers) talk to customers.