Our team is dedicated to researching various marketing, branding, and retail related topics. Below, you find a list of current research areas together with recent publications:

Research Areas 

Branding Theory

Our research in Branding Theory is concerned with contemporary changes and developments in the field of branding and aims to advance the theorization of brands. Contrary to a management dominated logic, we develop view of brands and branding as co-created and co-constructed by a multiplicity of actors, as complex social phenomena that mediate among individual and social spheres of meaning-making and representation. We also develop theories on charismatic brand leadership, social entrepreneurship, and responsible brand conduct.

Researchers: Andrea Hemetsberger, Andreas Plank, Philipp Wegerer, Verena Wieser, Roland Schroll


  • Philipp K.  Wegerer and Iain Munro. The Ethics of Ambivalence in Corporate Branding (2018). Organization (online first).
  • Ladstätter, Florian, Andreas Plank and Andrea Hemetsberger (2018). The Merits and Limits of Making Do: Bricolage and Breakdowns in a Social Enterprise. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development.
  • Andrea Hemetsberger and Hans Mühlbacher (2015), The Co-created, Co-generated and Co-constructed Brand. Proceedings of the 44th EMAC conference, Leuven.
  • Mühlbacher, Hans and Andrea Hemetsberger (2013). Brands as Processes and their Outcomes – A social representations perspective,” Festschrift zu Ehren des 60. Geburtstags von Prof Klaus G. Grunert.
  • Füller, Johann, Roland Schroll, and Eric von Hippel (2013), "User Generated Brands and their Contribution to the Diffusion of User Innovations," Research Policy, Vol. 42(6-7), 1197–1209.

Brand Meaning & Equity

Brands carry meaning for various groups interested in engaging with its manifestations. This meaning can lead to outcomes that range from active opposition, avoidance, ignorance, interest, support, and high levels of commitment. What are the processes that lead to such outcomes? Which roles do brands play in people’s lives given the meaning they hold for them? How can we best capture and make sense of stakeholder brand meaning? How can organizations help to shape brand meaning within its stakeholder networks? What is the link between brand meaning and these outcomes? These are some of the questions that we try to answer using a wide mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Researchers: Oliver Koll, Verena Wieser, Stephanie Kogler


  • Hans Mühlbacher, Karine Raies, Reinhard Grohs, Oliver Koll (2016), Drivers of Brand Strength: Configural Paths to Strong Cognitive Brand Equity, Journal of Business Research, Vol 69 (8), 2774-2780
  • Oliver Koll, Sylvia von Wallpach (2014), Intended Brand Associations: Do they Really Drive Brand Response?, Journal of Business Research, Vol 67 (7), 1501-1507
  • Oliver Koll, Sylvia von Wallpach, Maria Kreuzer (2010), Multi-Method Research on Consumer-Brand Associations: Comparing Free Associations, Storytelling, and Collages, Psychology & Marketing, Vol 27(6), 584–602

Brand-driven Organizational Identity Development

The research focus is on the development and leadership of brand-driven companies from an interdisciplinary perspective. The evolving conceptual framework consists of three layers: the determination of the „new“ organisational brand identity, the translation of the intended identity into concrete contact-point experiences, and the alignment of structure, processes, functions and employees’ behaviour to materialise the intended identity on the long term. The whole framework has been evolving during various long-lasting practitioner researcher collaboration applying action research approaches and techniques.

Researchers: Günther Botschen, Christina Nigg, Philipp Wegerer


  • Günther Botschen and Philipp K. Wegerer (2017), Brand-driven Retail Format Innovation: A conceptual Framework, International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, Vol. 45, Issue 7/8, 874-891.
  • Günther Botschen, Josef Bernhart and Kurt Promberger (2017), Brand-driven Identity Development of Places, Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 10, Issue 2, 152 – 172.
  • Günther Botschen, Ian Combe and Eva Thelen (2012), Brand-Driven Leadership for Change Management in Retailing, European Retail Research, Vol. 26, Issue II, 1-18.

Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior studies individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, including the consumer's cognitive and behavioral responses that precede, accompany, or follow consumption. Consumer behavior is interdisciplinary, bringing together knowledge from many areas such as neuroscience, psychology and sociology. In our research we use a wide variety of methodological approaches such experimental designs, qualitative interrogations or combinations of these two. Current projects investigate how different aspects of marketing communications, sensory perceptions, and activities of consumption communities affect consumers’ responses. In marketing communications, we investigate, for example, how humanizing products influences consumer responses and how to pre-announce new products. In studying sensory perceptions, we are trying to understand how different aspects of sensory processing can affect product and brand choice. In studying ethical consumption we are interested in the effects of product labels (e.g., Fair Trade, CSEB Facts Panel) on consumers’ responses (i.e. attitudes, intentions, and behavior).

Researchers: Roland Schroll, Mathias Streicher, Andreas Plank, Andrea Hemetsberger


  • Schroll, Roland, Benedikt Schnurr, and Dhruv Grewal (forthcoming). Humanizing Products With Typeface. Journal of Consumer Research.
  • Plank, Andreas and Karin Teichmann (2018). A Facts Panel on Corporate Social and Environmental Behavior: Decreasing Information Asymmetries between Producers and Consumers through Product Labeling. Journal of Cleaner Production, 177 (March), 868-877.
  • Streicher, M. C., & Estes, Z. (2016). Multisensory interaction in product choice: Grasping a product affects choice of other seen products. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 26(4), 558-565.
  • Bauer, Martina, Sylvia von Wallpach and Andrea Hemetsberger (2011) ”My little luxury” – A Consumer-centered, Experiential View, Marketing Journal of Research and Management, Vol. 33(1), 57-66. 

Digital Marketing

Digitalization revolutionizes our World and our lives. In our research we are especially interested in the impact of digital media on consumers’ actions and interactions. What kind of information do consumers search online? How do people present themselves online? What motivates people to contribute content to online platforms?  What kind of risks come with user-generated content? These are some of the questions that we try to answer using both, qualitative and quantitative research methods. We have published several articles on digital marketing and consumer behavior in digital environments:

Researchers: Jonathan Schöps, Andreas Plank, Stephanie Kogler, Patrick Neef, Roland Schroll


  • Plank, Andreas (2016). The hidden risk in user-generated content: An investigation of ski tourers' revealed risk-taking behavior on an online outdoor sports platform. Tourism Management, 55 (August), 289-296.
  • Teichmann, Karin, Nicola Stokburger-Sauer, Andreas Plank, and Andreas Strobl (2015). Motivational Drivers of Content Contribution to Company-Versus Consumer-Hosted Online Communities. Psychology and Marketing, 32(3), 341–355.

Social Media Branding

Social media branding studies socio-cultural, experiential, symbolic and ideological aspects of consumption in social media. This research field addresses the dynamic relationship between consumer actions, brands, the online marketplace and cultural meanings. Rather than viewing brands as a homogeneous system of collectively shared meanings, we explore the heterogeneous co-creation of online brand networks, brands as shared understandings of brands as assemblages and its underlying socio-historical and ideological patterns. In our research we employ qualitative research methods, drawing on data sets consisting of textual, visual and networked data. In our current studies, for example, we explore public legitimization processes of brand platforms, or socio-cultural meanings of brands in digital environments, such as Instagram.

Researchers: Andrea Hemetsberger, Stephanie Kogler, Jonathan Schöps, Philipp Wegerer


  • Jonathan Schöps, Philipp K. Wegerer and Andrea Hemetsberger (2017). Brand-mediated Ideological Edgework: Negotiating the Aestheticized Human Body on Instagram - The Case of American Apparel. NA Advances in Consumer Research, San Diego
  • Von Wallpach, Sylvia, Andrea Hemetsberger and Peter Espersen (2017). Performing identities: Processes of brand and stakeholder identity co-construction. Journal of Business Research, Vol. 70, 443–452.
  • Sabrina Gabl, Verena Stöckl and Andrea Hemetsberger (2016). “Will We Hate Google One Day?” A Convention Theory Perspective on Public Brand Evaluation. NA Advances in Consumer Research, Berlin.
  • Hemetsberger, Andrea and Christian Reinhardt (2009). Collective Development in Open-Source Communities: An Activity Theoretical Perspective on Successful Online Collaboration. Organization Studies, Vol. 30, 9, 987-1008.
  • Kozinets, Robert, Andrea Hemetsberger and Hope Jensen Schau (2008). The Wisdom of Consumer Crowds: Collective Innovation in the Age of Networked Marketing. Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 28, 4, 339-354.

Stakeholder Marketing

The American Marketing Association emphasizes the ambition of marketing to create “...value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Adopting such a perspective requires marketers to rethink some of their basic assumptions: complex instead of dyadic value exchange, explicit instead of implicit tension between stakeholders, and loss of control. Being able to manage these transitions requires specific capabilities and we aim to answer how best to acquire these capabilities, what benefits organizations can derive from mastering them, and how such a transition changes the role of marketing in corporations.

Researchers: Oliver Koll


  • Bas Hillebrand, Paul Driessen, Oliver Koll, Stakeholder Marketing: Theoretical Foundations and Required Capabilities
    Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 2015, Vol 43 (4), 411-428
  • Oliver Koll, Arch Woodside, Hans Mühlbacher, Balanced vs focused responsiveness to core constituencies and organizational effectiveness, European Journal of Marketing, 2005, Vol. 39 (9/10), 1166-118


Research Centers

The Faculty of Business and Management hosts three specific research centers. We participate and contribute to FSP 3: Strategic Leadership, Innovation and Brands.

Research Platform

We are also members of the multi-disciplinary research platform Organizations & Society. Andrea Hemetsberger serves as speaker of the research platform.

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