“And the winner is…”: this year’s IJRM Best Paper Award goes to three MCM scholars!

The International Journal of Research in Marketing (IJRM), Europe’s leading marketing journal and one of Marketing academia’s rare “A journals,” annually honors a single paper as the best article published in the previous year. This year’s winner was co-authored by MCM scholars Nele Hansen, Dr. Ann-Kristin Kupfer, and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hennig-Thurau. The prestigious award honors their article “Brand Crises in the Digital Age: The Short- and Long-term Effects of Social Media Firestorms on Consumers and Brands”, which appeared in last year’s December issue of the IJRM.

The IJRM award-winning article addresses social media firestorms, a timely and regularly occurring phenomenon in our digital times. It conceptualizes such firestorms (or “shitstorms” as Germans often like to call them) as digital brand crises. Examples of incidents that spurred such crises include the usage of palm oil in chocolate bars, insulting comments by the CEO of a major apparel company, and the violent removal of a passenger from an airplane. In such circumstances, consumers spread sudden waves of many, predominantly negative social media messages in which they publicly discuss the respective brand’s failure. The three Münster authors find that such social media firestorms can indeed affect brand associations, especially in the short run but also in the long run, namely two years after taking place. At the same time, they also note quite strong variations with regard to brand effects. It is hence important for companies to identify which of those firestorms are threatening brands. Based on the article’s findings, the scholars recommend managers to pay special attention to firestorms that are caused by a product or service failure, started with a photo or video, and arouse a large volume of social media messages.

The article was chosen for the award by the members of the IJRM Editorial Board in two rounds of voting and announced during last week’s EMAC conference in Hamburg, a gathering of more than 1,000 marketing academics. The MCM scholars feel honored to have been selected over many other premium quality articles authored by distinguished authorities including Jan-Benedict Steenkamp, Marnik Dekimpe, Barak Libai, and Eitan Muller.

The published article can be found here.

For both Ann-Kristin Kupfer and Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, it is already the second win of a major best paper award this year, after having been awarded with the Sheth Award for the best article in the Journal of the Academy Marketing Science, another of the marketing discipline’s A journals (see our previous news release).

About the authors: Nele Hansen was a doctoral student under Professor Hennig-Thurau’s supervision at the Chair for Marketing & Media. Ann-Kristin Kupfer is an Assistant Professor at the Chair for Marketing & Media, and Professor Hennig-Thurau heads the Chair as part of the Marketing Center.