Sarah J. S. Wilner, Wilfrid Laurier University

Profile photo of Sarah J. S. Wilner, expert at Wilfrid Laurier University

Associate Professor Laurier Chair in Brand Communication Waterloo, Ontario swilner@wlu.ca Office: (519) 884-1970 ext. 4161

Bio/Research

Sarah Wilner is the Laurier Brand Chair. She holds a PhD in Marketing (minor in Product Design) from York University, an MBA in Marketing from the State University of New York-Buffalo, a post-baccalaureate in communication studies from Bentley University and an undergraduate degree in cultural an...

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Bio/Research

Sarah Wilner is the Laurier Brand Chair. She holds a PhD in Marketing (minor in Product Design) from York University, an MBA in Marketing from the State University of New York-Buffalo, a post-baccalaureate in communication studies from Bentley University and an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology from Brandeis University (minors in Sociolinguistics and Women's Studies).

Wilner is also a seasoned manager, having managed marketing and communications in a number of public sector organizations, as well as leading several as executive director.

My research interests are located at the intersection of marketing management and consumer behaviour. They cover three interrelated topics as well as a methodological specialization:

Marketing and Brand Management
-marketing practice and consumer response
-'design thinking'; the role of design in brand meaning and positioning
-experiential marketing for brands

Product/Service Innovation and Design
-innovation and its microfoundations
-design as a mechanism for legitimacy during market creation

Consumer Behaviour and Consumer Culture
-consumers' experience of brands, products and services

Qualitative research methods

Current projects include:

“Making Mainstream Markets: The Role Product Design in the Process of Legitimation,” with Aimee Huff (Oregon State University) and Ashlee Humphreys (Northwestern University). Invited for revision and resubmission at Journal of Marketing. The study examines the role of product design in the emerging recreational cannabis industry in order to understand the role of materials, metaphors and subsequent meaning in a previously stigmatized product category.

"Towards a Definition of Design Thinking," with Pietro Micheli (Warwick University) and Michael Beverland (RMIT). Invited for revision and resubmission at Journal of Product Innovation Management. We examine the literature on design thinking in management, reveal tensions in the term's construction and use, and develop a grounded, relevant definition that provides guidance for future investigation.

Studies in development include:

“What Lies Underneath: How Marketing Capabilities and Their Microfoundations Shape Innovation Success” with Nicole Coviello and Anne Dormuth.

“Speaking from Experience: Mining Social Media Text for Consumers’ Responses to Experiential Marketing” with Greg Tanguay and Asfiya Taji (doctoral students).

“Liminality and Brand Resonance: a Turnerian Perspective on Experiential Marketing.”


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