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2017/2018  KAN-CCMVV4015U  The power of (marketing) language: How names, frames, and phrases affect our perceptions, judgments, and decisions

English Title
The power of (marketing) language: How names, frames, and phrases affect our perceptions, judgments, and decisions

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter, Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Antonia Erz - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
Kontaktinformation: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt eller Contact information: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt
Main academic disciplines
  • Customer behaviour
  • Communication
  • Marketing
Last updated on 21-02-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: The course tackles the power of (marketing) language from an academic viewpoint, and therefore develops two important competences: Firstly, students enhance their ability of expressing themselves academically in this specific research area and more generally in the area of consumer psychology/behavior. Secondly, they are equipped with knowledge that they will need if they pursue a career as marketing, communications or market research expert. The five learning objectives are:
  • Identify new research topics and generate his/her own conceptual framework and academic argumentation based on selected theories (specifically in regard to the individual assignment and to the student’s own master's thesis)
  • Identify, explain and reflect upon selected theories and concepts on how (marketing) language affects consumer behaviour
  • Identify and discuss implications of theoretical work, identify limitations of these theories, and suggest improvements for marketing practice
  • Identify, theoretically apply and explain selected research methods (i.e., experiments) applied in the field
  • Apply these theories and concepts to examples from business, public policy and daily life
Course prerequisites
Fluency in English (speaking, comprehension, writing) is required. Students should have a basic knowledge of branding and marketing communications. They should be generally interested in consumer behavior and cognitive psychology, but profound knowledge is NOT expected. The class builds on the willingness of students to engage in academic discourse and deductive thinking. Therefore, students should be willing to dig deeper into different theories by reading research papers, discussing them in class and bringing up practical examples themselves to relate theoretical knowledge to "real life".
The Power of (Marketing) Language: How names, Frames, and Phrases Affect our Perceptions, Judgments and Decisions:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn and Spring
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
* if the student fails the ordinary exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have to hand in a revised product for the re- take or a new project.
Description of the exam procedure

The individual project is a research proposal. The student choses her/his own topic and develops his/her own research question based on its relevancy to the syllabus, i.e. the chosen topic must be closely connected to the syllabus. The students are provided with a selection of relevant literature during the course; the nature of the assignment requires from the students to research and select further literature on their own that is motivated by the self-chosen assignment topic and research question. Both research question and the self-selected literature list will need pre-approval by the lecturer through an online assessment. Students will not collect data, but will have to suggest and describe a method of data collection (experiment) in their research proposal.

Course content and structure

There have probably been many situations in your life where you thought: Did I use the correct tone of voice? Should I have phrased it differently? These questions are not only to be answered in your daily personal life, but also in a future professional life as a marketing and/or communications expert.
The kind and tone of language marketers use to frame a message, if they frame it positively or negatively, if they use complex or simple words, and how much suggestive meaning they put in a message – with their choice of language they influence our daily life as consumers tremendously. The choice of language may affect, for example, how consumers think about a new product, if people understand the risk of smoking, or if we are willing to pay more for a brand. And language goes beyond our lives as consumers: Research even found that your first and last name can have a considerable impact on your success in school or how high you may climb the career ladder!
Language is a powerful tool that is sometimes used with too little thought – maybe because we are not always aware of how much a single word or even letter may change our perception. In this course, we will learn about selected current theories and concepts from the areas of
-          marketing (e.g., branding, communications),
-          cognitive psychology (e.g., information processing),
-          linguistics (e.g., sound symbolism)
-          consumer behavior (e.g., judgment and decision-making)

These theories and concepts are core in understanding the underlying mechanisms of how (marketing) language affects our perceptions, decisions, judgments, and memory.

Topics will include but will not be limited to the creation and effects of brand names, message phrasing and framing in marketing communications, language in social media, gender-related language issues, and storytelling. Students will also be introduced into the basics of experiments, the method that is mostly used in this research field. Students will not have to collect data.

Teaching methods
The course will consist of lectures, discussions, group work, and short presentations by the students. In the lectures, the students will learn about selected current theories and concepts, which we will discuss theoretically and practically based on examples from business, public policy and daily life.
Research articles on the specific topics will be assigned for reading during the semester. These articles will build the foundation on which we will discuss topics in class, and they will provide the necessary knowledge to identify topics for the home assignments. Therefore, it is crucial for the success of the course and the students' own learning progress to prepare the assigned articles before each lecture.
This is a blended learning course in which 6 of the total 33 lecture hours will be offered based on online interactions through the LEARN platform.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students should be prepared to independently work on their research questions for the written assignment (research proposal) from the beginning of the course. There will be an online peer assessment towards the end of the course, during which the students will receive individual feedback from their peers and collective feedback from the teacher regarding their research questions. The teacher is available for feedback during class and office hours.
Student workload
Preparation 123 hours
Teaching 33 hours
Exam 50 hours
Expected literature

Recommended literature:
This is a selection of relevant literature. Specific reading instructions will be given at the start of the course.

Chen, M. K. (2013). The effect of language on economic behavior: Evidence from savings rates, health behaviors, and retirement assets. American Economic Review, 103, 690-731.
Feiereisen, S., Wong, V., & Broderick, A. J. (2008). Analogies and mental simulations in learning for really new products: The role of visual attention. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 25, 593-607.
Gregan-Paxton, J., & Moreau, P. (2003). How do consumers transfer existing knowledge? A comparison of analogy and categorization effects. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13, 422-430.
Keller, K. L., Heckler, S. E., & Houston, M. J. (1998). The effects of brand name suggestiveness on advertising recall. Journal of Marketing, 62, 48-57.
Laham, S. M., Koval, P., & Alter, Adam L. (2012). The name-pronunciation effect: Why people like Mr. Smith more than Mr. Colquhoun. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 752-756.
Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U. K. H., Seifert, C. M., Schwarz, N., & Cook, J. (2012). Misinformation and its correction: Continued influence and successful debiasing. Psychological Science, 13, 106-131.
Lowrey, T., & Shrum, L. J. (2007). Phonetic symbolism and brand name preference. Journal of Consumer Research, 34, 406-414.
Mattila, A. S. (2000). The role of narratives in the advertising of experiential services. Journal of Service Research, 3(1), 35-45. 
Miyamoto, Y., & Schwarz, N. (2006). When conveying a message may hurt the relationship: Cultural differences in the difficulty of using an answering machine. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 540-547.
Moreau, C. P., Markman, A. B., & Lehman, D. R. (2001). “What is it?” Categorization flexibility and consumers’ responses to really new products, Journal of Consumer Research, 27, 489-498.
Schuldt, J. P., & Schwarz, N. (2010). The “organic” path to obesity? Organic claims influence calorie judgments and exercise recommendations. Judgment and Decision Making, 5, 144-150.
Song, H., & Schwarz, N. (2009). If it’s difficult to pronounce, it must be risky: Fluency, familiarity, and risk perception. Psychological Science, 20, 135-138.

Last updated on 21-02-2017