As a researcher and teacher, I'm most happy when I’m helping to question a taken-for-granted perspective on the world and to inspire new ways of thinking.

Taylor Hall

Home is where the consumption is — if you live in North America.

Consumption surrounding the home has been expressed as an appetite for renovation to create a space that is a reflection of the owner's identity, explains Professor Annetta Grant, management. It's embedded in our culture that "a home is ours, and we can do what we want with it. We commonly think of it as a place where we can be who we truly are."

While homeowners are spending billions, Grant says we understand very little about their drive to do so. Her research into markets and trends is trying to remedy that.

"At the root of any really good marketing strategy is a deep understanding of consumers in their cultural context," she explains. "I'm curious about the things we take for granted." Her research delves into how culture and cultural norms shape consumer behavior.

In the case of home renovation, people often make financial sacrifices to complete a renovation, so Grant has looked at the "cultural imperative" that supports spending money on replacements for products that may not be worn out. In her backpack travels in Central and South America, the cultural view of obsolescence she observed was very different, she notes. Understanding the consumption experience and consumers, and how place shapes consumption practices can be used to enlighten strategic and managerial perspectives.

Grant's experience isn't all in the world of academia. She worked in marketing with Cirque du Soleil and Shell Canada, among other organizations. She says she is excited about the teaching environment at Bucknell, including the low student-to-professor ratio that will allow her to "work closely with students, get to know them and impact change with them."

While she's been in the field for years, Grant continues to enjoy challenging perceptions and thinking about the world in new ways. Working with students on developing that type of outlook is also about developing critical thinking skills, she says. "As a researcher and teacher, I'm most happy when I'm helping to question a taken-for-granted perspective on the world and to inspire new ways of thinking."

Posted Oct. 6, 2017

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