Faculty Spotlight: Antonis Stamatogiannakis
Meet one of IE Business School’s top researchers.
IE Marketing Professor Antonis Stamatogiannakis is passionate about research. He has participated in research and training activities backed by a range of national and international organizations in the public and private sectors– like the European Commission, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Association for Consumer Research, Asian Consumer Insights Institute, and the Norwegian Seafood Council. Antonis received and later supervised the prestigious Marie Curie Grant of the European Commission. He founded the yearly Mediterranean Symposium on Consumer Behavior Research and energetically supports many research initiatives at IE– such as the Research, Uncertainty, and Decisions (RUD) Research. His article The Visual Asymmetry Effect: An Interplay of Logo Design and Brand Personality on Brand Equity, published in December 2018 at the Journal of Marketing Research, still sits in the top-5 of the most read articles for this journal over the last 6 months.
What brought you to IE? Where were you before?
I finished my Ph.D at INSEAD in 2011, and I was looking for academic job opportunities in Europe. IE was an excellent choice for me because it combined really high academic standards, with an excellent lifestyle. I am almost 10 years now at IE, so perhaps I should also answer what keeps me here for so long. Mostly, it is the flexibility that IE provides for teaching and research. I am pretty much able to shape my teaching as I see fit, which makes it enjoyable, but also dynamically adapted to current students’ needs. In terms of research, at IE the boundaries between formal departments are really obscured, so that gives me the flexibility to work at whatever I find personally interesting. For instance, we have the Research, Uncertainty, and Decisions (RUD) Research Group that focuses on cross-disciplinary behavioral research. To give another example, I enjoy working with the students of the doctoral programs at IE. There is nothing better than working with young, talented, and hyper-motivated researchers!
Have you ever had an a-ha moment while teaching that furthered your research? What was it?
Yes. To give you some background, for many years “Green Marketing” was something like an inside joke for marketing academics and professionals: Consumers always endorsed it in theory, but in practice eco-friendliness was the first thing to sacrifice for benefits like status, convenience, functionality, or simply a better price. Recently, I asked my students to pick any topic they would like to discuss for a session. I was amazed by how many wanted to talk about sustainability and marketing. I am now actively trying to study aspects such as sustainable consumption and consumer reactions to Corporate Social Responsibility, because of that insight from my students that times are changing. In that respect, I was also lucky to be at IE, which has a very dedicated and open-minded sustainability office, which opens opportunities for this kind of research.
What book do you wish your students would read before taking your class and why?
For an academic, I am a really poor reader. I would say any novel focused on the actions and decisions of a single character or group of people, as this would give students food for thought for many of the things we see in class. Also perhaps some basic statistics – this would make my teaching much easier.
Please name one of your articles you feel addresses the most important issues in 2020-2021 for IE alumni?
I would pick the What Does the Symmetry of Your Logo Say About Your Brand?, that we published at Harvard Business Review. In this article, we re-examine the long-held assumption that brands should have beautiful logos. Specifically, we show that more symmetrical logos (which, based on decades of research, tend to look better than non-symmetrical ones) can hurt brands with an exciting personality; those that consumers perceive as youthful, cool, or daring (e.g., Tesla, Nike, or Red Bull). On the contrary, these brands benefit in terms of consumer evaluations, as well as of market and financial valuations by breaking the symmetry, and making thus the logo a bit uglier. I think this is finding highlights the importance of collaborative work in today’s business, when collaboration can be a bit difficult. Logo design cannot be left to designers alone, exactly as marketers cannot decide for their brands alone. Instead, understanding the joint influence of design and branding decisions is necessary for market success.
Whose research of your IE colleagues do you find interesting? Why?
It is really hard to pick one! I would like to mention a few. First, as we live in COVID times:
Every penny counts: The effect of holistic-analytic thinking style on donation decisions in the times of Covid-19, examines what determines people’s donations to COVID-related causes. It was co-authored by the IE doctoral candidate Xiaozhou (Zoe) Zhoua, the marketing professor Dilney Gonçalves, and the psychology professor David Santos. Second, an article by the entrepreneurship professor José Lejarraga that I find fascinating: Confidence and the description-experience distinction. This challenges the common wisdom that we learn best from experience, by showing that, individuals are more confident when they learn something from description rather than from direct experience.
Third, the article Online social games: The effect of social comparison elements on continuance behaviour, coauthored by the Information Systems professors Jose Esteves and Konstantina Valogianni, on how consumers’ social comparison can maintain their engagement with social media gaming.
As said above, I am a big fan of IE Research, and it is really hard to single out someone. I would like to highlight my marketing colleagues Stefanie Beninger and her work on community resilience, and Yegyu Han and her research on how consumers interact with smart agents. The reason is that my own research is perhaps sometimes too old-fashioned, so I genuinely admire people who can apply academic rigor to important current issues.
Tell us one personal thing about yourself that none of your students know. A hobby, sport or talent? Strange fact? Unusual interest?
Although many teenagers form music bands, my friends and I formed one when I was about 8 years old. However, it soon became clear that I was completely untalented, so I could not be part of the band (which still exists with many modifications by the way). Still, my friends are awesome, and they wrote a song about me, which is titled (free translation from Greek) “The little wise guy”. It portrays me as a vigilante-style Robin Hood character, who steals from the rich, and gives to the poor. One day he gets busted by the police, but his gang gets him out of jail, and they keep doing what they are doing. The band still plays it sometimes. Here they are rehearsing it. I guess this makes me one of the few business school professors with a song about them.