Marketing professor reaches career milestone with 5000 citations – University of Rhode Island

KINGSTON, R.I. – Dec. 5, 2022 – Whether it’s the importance of color in marketing or the emergence of new technologies like blockchain and holograms, Lauren Labrecque targets research that is exciting and timely.
“I like to choose things that I’m passionate about. I don’t necessarily choose things because I think it will get published,” said Labrecque, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Rhode Island. “But if it excites me, that says to me that others will get excited about it as well and it will likely have an impact.”
That philosophy may help explain a new milestone in her relatively young career. Labrecque’s 31 published marketing papers recently surpassed 5,000 citations from scholars who have referenced her work. In just the last five years, her publications have been cited over 4,000 times, according to the website Google Scholar.
“The impact of my research is very important to me,” said Labrecque, who earned her Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2010. “I celebrate the 5,000 citations because it’s a signal that my research has been valued. I think it’s fulfilling that my work has been relevant to so many other scholars.”
Labrecque’s main research interests include sensory marketing (with of focus on color) and technology, which includes digital marketing, social media marketing, and emerging technologies. Her work has been published in some of the top peer-reviewed academic journals in marketing, including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Retailing, and Journal of Interactive Marketing.
Among her most-cited publications, Labrecque has four that have been referenced more than 700 times. Her most cited works are “Consumer power: Evolution in the digital age” (2013) and “Fostering consumer-brand relationships in social media environments: The role of parasocial interaction” (2014), each with more than 850 citations.
Labrecque followed an unusual path to her career in marketing academia. She originally attended the Parsons School of Design in New York City with hopes of becoming an artist. But she realized she could be “really lucky or a starving artist all my life.” After a bachelor’s degree in communications and post-graduate studies in art history and French, she earned a master’s degree in digital media studies at the University of Denver and became a web developer.
When she entered the doctoral program at UMass Amherst, both art and technology influenced her research interests. Her initial research focused on virtual worlds, which has now become a hot topic following Facebook’s rebranding to Meta. But for her dissertation, she turned back to art and researched the continued significance of color in marketing.
The main resulting paper, “Exciting red and competent blue: The importance of color in marketing” (2012) – published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science – has garnered nearly 800 citations. Another paper that stems from her dissertation, “The marketers’ prismatic palette: A review of color research and future directions” (2013) – published in Psychology & Marketing – has garnered over 400 citations and offers a theoretical understanding of how color can influence consumers through two routes – either through its embodied meaning or its referential meaning.
“Almost no one was publishing in this area, so I thought it was ripe for the picking. We need to talk about color; it affects so many areas of marketing,” she said. “In the last 10 years, there’s been an explosion of research on color in marketing. I get a lot of cites because this area has been reinvigorated.”
Her interest in technology has led to research in areas including how digital tools such as the Internet have empowered consumers and how consumers and brands build relationships on social media through parasocial interactions. “I’m a nerd and I like to look at cutting-edge technology,” she said. “That excites me.”
She is currently researching the emergence of web 3.0 through blockchain technology and how it can revolutionize the world, along with other emerging technology topics such as hologram technology, which has applications in such industries as entertainment and services.
“I am a big proponent that marketing is important for everything,” she said. “Color is obvious, from choosing packaging to brand identity. But all these technologies have many implications for marketing. With holograms, you’re not selling products, but you’re selling services, such as making the service encounter more enjoyable than just interfacing with a tablet.”
Labrecque, who joined URI’s College of Business in 2018 and is area coordinator in marketing, shares her approach to research with the graduate students she works with.
“One of the reasons I came to URI is for the ability to mentor Ph.D. students,” she said. “I enjoy working with them, and I share with them my philosophy of choosing research topics that excite them because those are the ones that will make an impact.”
The College of Business has been a leader in business, research and outreach in Rhode Island since being established in 1923 by Howard Edwards, president of the then-Rhode Island State College. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the College today has more than 2,300 undergraduate and about 350 graduate students across 10 undergraduate majors, nine graduate programs and three Ph.D. specializations. Throughout this academic year, the College is celebrating its centennial.
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