If brand affinity is strong enough, does it approach the level of religious fervor?

Gavan Fitzsimons, Ph.D., the R. David Thomas Professor of Marketing and Psychology for the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, is no stranger to provocative ideas like that one. This semester, he was a speaker for the UCF College of Business Administration’s Andrew & Gail Titen Visiting Scholar Series. In a presentation called “What’s in a Brand?” he discussed how consumers can be unconsciously swayed by marketing messages.

“We all can take a page from Dr. Fitzsimons’ book on how to engage our students in the classroom,” says Yael Zemack-Rugar, Ph.D., an assistant professor for the college’s Department of Marketing. “He made the audience aware on a personal level of some possible biases we all have in our decision making that we are unlike aware of.”

Fitzsimons’ work has been published in a variety of academic journals, such as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Management Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Science. His ideas have been featured on NPR, CNN, and MSNBC, as well as publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Oprah Magazine and Time Magazine.

The Andrew and Gail Titen Visiting Scholar Series was established in 2005 to assist the college in hosting outstanding visiting scholars who can share their research with UCF faculty and students. It is intended to strengthen the college’s ability to attract and retain top academic talent.

The series is funded by 1975 accounting graduate and 2005 college Hall of Fame inductee Andrew Titen and his wife Gail. He is president and CEO of Bisk Education, the nation’s largest provider of online professional education.

About the UCF College of Business Administration:
Established in 1968, the UCF College of Business Administration offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and executive levels. All programs, as well as the Kenneth G. Dixon School of Accounting are accredited by AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The college provides high-quality academic programs designed to give students a competitive advantage in the world of business now and in the future. As such, the college establishes partnerships with some of the nation’s most innovative leaders to model new and best practices that harness evolving technology. In addition, the college promotes a unique culture of engagement, risk-taking, cross-disciplinary collaboration and data-driven decision making in an effort to ensure students are well prepared to enter a dynamic marketplace.

America’s Partnership University:
The University of Central Florida, the nation’s second-largest university with nearly 60,000 students, has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation in its first 50 years. Today, the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. UCF is an economic engine attracting and supporting industries vital to the region’s future while providing students with real-world experiences that help them succeed after graduation. For more information, visit https://www.ucf.edu/news/.