12th of May 2024

Published by Australian Financial Review See original article

The researchers influencing billions in global marketing

Hundreds of billions of dollars in global marketing and advertising are influenced by a little-known group of academics and scientists funded by the world’s biggest companies and based in Adelaide.

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, attached to the UniversityofSouthAustralia, counts TheCoca-ColaCompany, McDonald’s, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Mondelez and Diageo among its backers. It spends millions investigating the ironclad laws of how companies grow, and how they attract and retain customers.

It ran more than 140 sessions briefing sponsors about its findings last year and published 28 academic papers – including a look at how net promoter scores affect revenue growth and what specific creative elements in a video advertisement drive people to buy the product.

Its director, Byron Sharp, thinks of the institute like a medical research centre. “I’ve always admired medical research institutes in the sense that they are usually smack bang next to a hospital,” he said. “That means practitioners and researchers can share coffees, and that makes a much better medical system. So we’re like that, we’re very, very engaged.”

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute has advisory boards in Europe, North America and Australasia. The chair of the North American board, entrepreneur Jim Koch, joined after realising he spent more on marketing than he did on hops for the Boston Beer Company he founded. “He went, ‘I think I need to learn about this stuff’,” Professor Sharp said.

Read the full article in Australian Financial Review.

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