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Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy Honor Professor Pierre Berthon of Bentley University with Best Paper Award

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Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy Honor Professor Pierre Berthon of Bentley University with Best Paper Award

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Bentley University professor Pierre Berthon's current research received the Best Paper Award on the Marketing Strategy Track of the 2010 Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (ANZMAC).  Berthon co-wrote the paper "Creative Consumers: Awareness, Attitude & Action - Instrument & Preliminary Results" with Colin Campbell (Simon Frazer University), Leyland Pitt (Simon Frazer University) and Ian McCarthy (Simon Frazer University).  The award was presented at the annual conference held at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand from November 30 to December 2, 2010.

The study explores the relationship between a firm's stance towards its creative customers and its business performance. Creative consumers who adapt, modify or transform a proprietary offering are becoming a major force in the business world, but unless managed appropriately, they can cripple a company's source of revenues Findings will help guide managers to identify, assess and strategically plan a coherent response to creative consumers.

"Many firms are unaware of the extent of the phenomenon of creative consumers, and there are few guidelines on how to assess and manage this growing trend," says Berthon, marketing professor and Clifford F. Youse Chair of Marketing at Bentley.

According to Berthon, customer innovation is an important social phenomenon that is "not simply a 'bad' or 'good' thing."  Adaptations by customers, for instance, may present significant opportunities for the identification of new products that can be very profitable. Simultaneously, they may also represent a serious hazard to the firm's intellectual property or pose public relations nightmares if the firm appears to be an insensitive bully or threatens litigation when products do harm in the hands of meddling customers.

In a call for companies to recognize the significant implications of customer innovations, the researchers present an instrument that considers three dimensions of a firm's stance - awareness, attitude, and action. The research also considered factors such as business environment turbulence and a firm's performance.

"We explored the extent to which an organization is aware of its creative customers, its attitude towards its creative customers, and finally the action it takes in response to its creative customers," Berthon notes.  "The instrument is one step towards helping managers to identify, assess and strategically plan a coherent response to creative consumers."

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