Barbara E. Kahn

Barbara E. Kahn
  • Patty and Jay H. Baker Professor
  • Professor of Marketing

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    763 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    3730 Walnut Street
    University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: brand loyalty, brand management, consumer choice, customer relationship management, customization, decisions under uncertainty/ambiguity, medical and financial services, price promotions, product assortments, retailing, variety seeking

Links: CV

Overview

Barbara E. Kahn returned to The Wharton School in January 2011 to serve as the Patty and Jay H. Baker Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center. Prior to rejoining Wharton, Barbara served for three and a half years as the Dean and Schein Family Chair Professor of Marketing at the School of Business Administration, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. While Dean at the University of Miami, she launched new global initiatives and academic programs, attracted top faculty from some of the world’s leading business schools to enhance the caliber of the school’s research and teaching, and established new partnerships with the business community. All of these initiatives helped the School rise significantly in the ratings. She also established the Global Business Forum at the University of Miami which brought over 1000 leading business executives and professionals to the campus.

Before becoming Dean at University of Miami, Barbara spent 17 years at The Wharton School as the Dorothy Silberberg Professor of Marketing. She was also Vice Dean and Director of the Wharton Undergraduate program. She was a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute and a faculty member of the Graduate Group in the Psychology Department. Before joining the Wharton faculty in 1990, Barbara served on the faculty at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. She was the Hakuhodo Advertising Agency Visiting Scholar at University of Tokyo in 1993 and a Visiting Academic at the University of Sydney, Australia, in 1996.

Barbara is an internationally recognized scholar on variety seeking, brand loyalty, retail assortment issues and patient decision-making whose research provides marketing managers with a better understanding of the consumer choice process. She has published more than 60 articles in leading academic journals. Between 1982 and 2006, she was the world’s seventh most published author of articles in the most prestigious marketing journals. She co-authored Grocery Revolution: The New Focus on the Consumer, a book that chronicled the dramatically changing supermarket industry and outlined how consumers make choices within the supermarket. In 2013, she published Global Brand Power: Leveraging Branding for Long-Term Growth. 

Barbara has been elected president of the Association of Consumer Research, elected president of the Journal of Consumer Research Policy Board and selected as a Marketing Science Institute Trustee. She has been or is area editor at Marketing Science, and associate editor both at the Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Marketing. She is or has been on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making and Marketing Letters.

She received her PhD, MBA and MPhil degrees from Columbia University, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Rochester.

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Research

  • Barbara E. Kahn (2016), Using Visual Design to Improve Customer Perceptions of Online Assortments, Journal of Retailing.

    Abstract: In the future, we expect to see more shopping on-line or on smart phones. This suggests that understanding how visual design decisions can influence consumers' reactions to online assortments is important. New advances in neuro-marketing techniques, such as sophisticated eye tracking methodology, can help understand exactly what drives consumers' attention and processing efficiency. Visual stimuli on small screens is frequently processed very quickly leading to perceptions that form automatically often without cognitive intervention. Thus, savvy retailers should strategically use design elements of the assortments and of packaging to direct attention and increase the ease of processing. Assortments that are easier to process are liked more and are judged to have more perceived variety. Complexity must be minimized so that assortments can be parsed immediately. Categorization, organizational structure, filtering and other design elements can also help with choice overload. Keywords: online retailing, perceived variety, product assortment, perceptual fluency, attention, graphic design, visual complexity, choice overload  

  • Julio Sevilla and Barbara E. Kahn (2016), The Effect of Product Shape Completeness on Size Perceptions, Preference and Consumption, Journal of Marketing Research, LI, pp. 57-68.

  • Julio Sevilla, Joao Zhang, Barbara E. Kahn (2016), Anticipation of Future Variety Reduces Satiation from Current Experiences, Journal of Marketing Research.

    Abstract: Satiation frequently occurs from repeated consumption of the same items over time. However, results from five experiments show that when people anticipate consuming something different in the future, they satiate at a slower rate in the present. The authors find the effect in both food and nonfood consumption settings using different approaches to measure satiation. This effect is cognitive; specifically, anticipating variety in future consumption generates positive thoughts about that future experience. The authors find two boundary conditions: the future consumption outcome must be (1) in a related product category and (2) at least as attractive as the present consumption outcome. The authors rule out potential alternative explanations such as mere exposure to variety, the possibility that the future experience is more attractive (rather than just different) than the current one, and perceptions of scarcity associated with the item consumed in the present. Keywords: satiation, variety seeking, consumption

  • Lorena Martin, J. F. Signorile, Barbara E. Kahn, A. W Perkins, S. Ahn, A. C. Perry (2016), Improving Exercise Adherence and Physical Measures in English-Speaking Latina Women, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

  • Xiaoyan Deng, Barbara E. Kahn, H. Rao Unnava, Hyojin Lee (2016), A “Wide” Variety: The Effects of Horizontal vs. Vertical Product Display, Journal of Marketing Research.

  • Barbara E. Kahn, Alexander Chernev, Ulf Bockenholt, Kate Bundorf, Michaela Draganska, Ryan Hamilton, Robert J. Meyer, Klaus Wertenbroch (2014), Consumer and Managerial Goals in Assortment Choice, Marketing Letters, 25, pp. 293-303.

  • Claudia Townsend and Barbara E. Kahn (2014), The “Visual Preference Heuristic:” The Influence of Visual versus Verbal Depiction on Assortment Processing, Perceived Variety, and Choice Overload, Journal of Consumer Research.

  • R Khushababa, Chelsea Wise, Jordan J. Louviere, S Kodagoda, Barbara E. Kahn, Claudia Townsend (2013), Consumer Neuroscience: Assessing the Brain Response to Marketing Stimuli Using Electroencephalogram (EEG) and Eye Tracking, Expert Systems with Applications.

  • X. Deng, Barbara E. Kahn, Rao Unnava, H Lee (Under Review), “Wide” Variety: The Effects of Horizontal vs. Vertical Product Display.

  • Lorena Martin, Andrew W. Perkins, Barbara E. Kahn (Work In Progress), Self-identity, self-esteem, and body attitude in thin and overweight Hispanic females.

Teaching

Current Courses

  • MKTG778 - Strategic Brand Mgmt

    Which brands make you happy? Apple? Amazon? Starbucks? Everlane? Soulcycle? Sweetgreen? What draws you into these brands? How do companies create compelling brand experiences? How could you cultivate a well-loved brand? This course explores such questions with the goal of identifying the ingredients for building an inspired brand. The course is created for students interested in building a brand and/or immersing themselves in the enhancement of an existing brand, and it is comprised of lectures, cases, guest speakers, discussions, in and out of class exercises, and a final project. Broadly, the course will be divided into four parts: 1) Understanding Brand, 2) Crafting Brand, 3) Measuring Brand, and 4) Managing Brand. The course will provide students with an appreciation of the role of branding and (taking a consumer-centric approach) will augment students' ability to think creatively and critically about the strategies and tactics involved in building, leveraging, defending, and sustaining inspired brands.

    MKTG778751 ( Syllabus )

Past Courses

  • MKTG101 - INTRO TO MARKETING

    The objective of this course is to introduce students to the concepts, analyses, and activities that comprise marketing management, and to provide practice in assessing and solving marketing problems. The course is also a foundation for advanced electives in Marketing as well as other business/social disciplines. Topics include marketing strategy, customer behavior, segmentation, market research, product management, pricing, promotion, sales force management and competitive analysis.

  • MKTG211 - CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

    This course is concerned with how and why people behave as consumers. Its goals are to: (1) provide conceptual understanding of consumer behavior, (2) provide experience in the application of buyer behavior concepts to marketing management decisions and social policy decision-making; and (3) to develop analytical capability in using behavioral research.

  • MKTG278 - STRATEGIC BRAND MGMT

    Which brands make you happy? Apple? Amazon? Starbucks? Everlane? Soulcycle? Sweetgreen? What draws you into these brands? How do companies create compelling brand experiences? How could you cultivate a well-loved brand? This course explores such questions with the goal of identifying the ingredients for building an inspired brand. The course is created for students interested in building a brand and/or immersing themselves in the enhancement of an existing brand, and it is comprised of lectures, cases, guest speakers, discussions, in and out of class exercises, and a final project. Broadly, the course will be divided into four parts: 1) Understanding Brand, 2) Crafting Brand, 3) Measuring Brand, and 4) Managing Brand. The course will provide students with an appreciation of the role of branding and (taking a consumer-centric approach) will augment students' ability to think creatively and critically about the strategies and tactics involved in building, leveraging, defending, and sustaining inspired brands.

  • MKTG399 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

  • MKTG611 - MARKETING MANAGEMENT

    This course addresses how to design and implement the best combination of marketing efforts to carry out a firm's strategy in its target markets. Specifically, this course seeks to develop the student's (1) understanding of how the firm can benefit by creating and delivering value to its customers, and stakeholders, and (2) skills in applying the analytical concepts and tools of marketing to such decisions as segmentation and targeting, branding, pricing, distribution, and promotion. The course uses lectures and case discussions, case write-ups, student presentations, and a comprehensive final examination to achieve these objectives.

  • MKTG711 - CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

    Marketing begins and ends with the customer, from determining customers' needs and wants to providing customer satisfaction and maintaining customer relationships. This course examines the basic concepts and principles in customer behavior with the goal of understanding how these ideas can be used in marketing decision making. The class will consist of a mix of lectures, discussions, cases, assignments, project work and exams. Topics covered include customer psychological processes (e.g., motivation, perception, attitudes, decision-making) and their impact on marketing (e.g., segmentation, branding, and customer satisfaction). The goal is to provide you with a set of approaches and concepts to consider when faced with a decision involving understanding customer responses to marketing actions.

  • MKTG777 - MARKETING STR

    This course views marketing as both a general management responsibility and an orientation of an organization that helps one to create, capture and sustain customer value. The focus is on the business unit and its network of channels, customer relationships, and alliances. Specifically, the course attempts to help develop knowledge and skills in the application of advanced marketing frameworks, concepts, and methods for making strategic choices at the business level.

  • MKTG778 - STRATEGIC BRAND MGMT

    Which brands make you happy? Apple? Amazon? Starbucks? Everlane? Soulcycle? Sweetgreen? What draws you into these brands? How do companies create compelling brand experiences? How could you cultivate a well-loved brand? This course explores such questions with the goal of identifying the ingredients for building an inspired brand. The course is created for students interested in building a brand and/or immersing themselves in the enhancement of an existing brand, and it is comprised of lectures, cases, guest speakers, discussions, in and out of class exercises, and a final project. Broadly, the course will be divided into four parts: 1) Understanding Brand, 2) Crafting Brand, 3) Measuring Brand, and 4) Managing Brand. The course will provide students with an appreciation of the role of branding and (taking a consumer-centric approach) will augment students' ability to think creatively and critically about the strategies and tactics involved in building, leveraging, defending, and sustaining inspired brands.

  • MKTG899 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

    A student contemplating an independent study project must first find a faculty member who agrees to supervise and approve the student's written proposal as an independent study (MKTG 899). If a student wishes the proposed work to be used to meet the ASP requirement, he/she should then submit the approved proposal to the MBA adviser who will determine if it is an appropriate substitute. Such substitutions will only be approved prior to the beginning of the semester.

  • MKTG951 - JUDMNT & DEC MAKING CB B

    The purpose of this course is to build off MKTG 950, "Judgment and Decision Making Perspectives on Consumer Behavior - Part A" with a more specialized focus that will vary from year to year. This course is intended for those interested in deepening their study of Judgment and Decision Making beyond the basics.

  • MKTG971 - ADV TOPICS MKTG PART A

    Taught collectively by the faculty members from the Marketing Department, this course investigates advanced topics in marketing. It is organized in a way that allows students to 1) gain depth in important areas of research identified by faculty; 2) gain exposure to various faculty in marketing and their research values and styles; and 3) develop and advance their own research interests.

  • MKTG974 - RESEARCH SEM MKTG PART B

    This course is taught collectively by the faculty members from the Marketing Department. It is designed to expose Doctoral students to the cutting-edge research in marketing models in order to help them to define and advance their research interests. This course will offer: in-depth discussions on some important topics in marketing by experts in respective areas; tools, and methodologies required for conducting research in those areas; broad exposure to our faculty members and their proven research styles.

  • MKTG995 - DISSERTATION

  • MKTG999 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

    Requires written permission of instructor and the department graduate adviser.

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, Association for Consumer Research, 2016, 2016
  • Fellow, Society of Consumer Psychology 2016, 2016
  • Davidson Award for the Best article in Journal of Retailing 2005, 2007
  • Finalist for Best Article, JCR, 2007
  • Elected President of Association of Consumer Research, 2006
  • Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR), 2005 Description

    Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania, $15,000.

  • Wharton-SMU Research Center Grant, 2005 Description

    With S. Varghese and M. Lee, “Retrospective Preference for Variety: An Ease of Retrieval Perspective,” $38,422.22

  • Wharton-SMU Research Center Grant, 2004 Description

    With M. F. Luce and S.Ramaswami, “Retail Assortment Variety Issues: Conflict Resolution in Store versus Brand Choice,” $66,000

  • Wharton-SMU Research Center Grant, 2003 Description

    With S. RAmaswami, “Retail and Internet Assortment Variety Issues,” $33,500

  • Consortium Faculty, AMA Consortium, 1992 Description

    1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003

  • SCP-SHETH Dissertation Proposal Competition winner, 2002 Description

    Advisors: Barbara Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Candidate: Elizabeth Miller

  • Marketing Science Institute Grant, 2003 Description

    With K. Grashoff and M.F. Luce, $3200

  • Wharton School Grant, 1990 Description

    Summer salary support, 1990-2000

  • Nestles’ Lecturer, Lund Institute of Economics, 1999
  • David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Undergraduate Division, 1999
  • 2000 William R. Davidson Award, 1998 Description

    For article in the Journal of Retailing, Best Contribution to Theory and Practice in Retail Marketing, third prize, Huffman and Kahn, “Variety for Sale: Mass Customization or Mass Confusion?”

  • Earl Dyess Lecturer, Texas Christian University, 1998
  • National Science Foundation Grant, 1998 Description

    Proposal No. #SBR-9730182,”The Subjective Value of Information in High-Stakes Domains: An Analysis of Patient Decisions to Obtain Diagnostic Testing,” (with M.F. Luce), 1998. Renewed, 1999-2001 (Total Amount Funded: $315,000)

  • John A. Howard Doctoral Dissertation Award, 1996 Description

    Advisor: Barbara Kahn, Candidate: Satya Menon

  • Marketing Science Institute Grant, 1995 Description

    With C. Huffman, $5000.

  • First Runner-Up for Best Article Award, 1991 Description

    Journal of Retailing: Kahn and Lehmann, “Modeling Choice among Assortments”

  • Finalist for the O’Dell Award, 1991 Description

    Kahn, Kalwani, and Morrison, Journal of Marketing Research (paper 1986)

  • Marketing Science Institute Grant, 1990 Description

    With B. Harlam and L. Lodish, $5000

  • Chancellor’s Faculty Career Development Award, UCLA, 1988
  • UCLA summer research support, 1989 Description

    1984-89

  • Beta Gama Sigma, 1982 Description

    1982 MBA; 1984 Ph.D., Columbia University

  • AMA Doctoral Consortium Fellow, 1983
  • New York Chapter TIMS, “Management Science Student of the Year”, 1982
  • Doctoral fellowship in Marketing, Columbia University, 1982 Description

    1982-84

  • Nicholas and Suzanne Bachner Samstag Fellowship, Columbia University, 1980 Description

    MBA program, 1980-82

In the News

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Activity

In the News

Will Amazon Go Capture the Holy Grail of Retail?

Amazon's new cashier-less convenience store aims to answer one of retail's thorniest challenges: Understanding why shoppers do what they do, and leveraging that knowledge into increasing sales.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/02/9
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Awards and Honors

Fellow, Association for Consumer Research, 2016 2016
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