Anat Keinan

Associate Professor of Business Administration

Unit: Marketing

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Anat Keinan is an Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit at Harvard Business School. She received her Ph.D. in Marketing, with distinction, from Columbia Business School. Professor Keinan is the winner of the 2011 JCR Ferber Award. Her work has been chosen by the New York Times as one of the "Best Ideas of 2006," and as a finalist for the Journal of Consumer Research 2009 best paper award. Her research on consumer behavior has been published in the leading marketing, psychology, and managerial journals, and featured in hundreds of media outlets, including NPR, CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Scientific American, BusinessWeek, Financial Times, Forbes, TIME, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Slate Magazine, Wired Magazine, Associated Press, and United Press International. She was named a Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar in 2013, and serves on the Editorial Review Board of JCR. At HBS, she teaches a new elective MBA course on Luxury Marketing.

Professor Keinan’s research interests include Branding, Luxury Marketing, Symbolic Consumption, Consumer self-Control, Regret, Fairness and Ethics in Marketing, and the Consumption of Experiences. One stream of research examines consumer's regrets and shows that in the long run, choosing work over play leads to regrets about having missed out on the pleasures of life. Her research demonstrates that while in the short-term it appears preferable to act responsibly and choose virtue over vice, over time such righteous behavior generates increasing regret. Her research further demonstrates that anticipating distant-future regret may help individuals who chronically deprive themselves of hedonism to realize and remedy this tendency.

Professor Keinan has also examined why consumers desire unusual and extreme consumption experiences that may actually be unpleasant and even aversive. Examples include consumers who voluntarily stay at ice hotels, where they sleep on beds made of ice in freezing temperatures, and consumers who eat at restaurants serving peculiar foods, such as bacon ice cream and chocolate truffles with vinegar and anchovies. Her research demonstrates that such preferences represent a broader phenomenon, whereby consumers derive utility from collecting memorable experiences, "checking off" items on their "experiential check list," and building their "experiential CV".

A native of Israel, she received a B.A. in Economics and Communication and an MBA (Dean's List and Magna cum Laude) from Tel-Aviv University.  In addition to her academic background, Anat has served in the Intelligence Corps within the IDF, worked as an advertising manager for an Israeli financial services corporation, and served on the Board of Directors for an employment placement agency in Israel.

Featured Work

Publications

Journal Articles

  1. How 'Brand Tourists' Can Grow Sales

    The article discusses how exclusive brands can increase their sales by moving "downmarket" without diminishing their prestige or alienating existing customers. The authors suggest various ways to cater to new, non-core customers in a way that differentiates the newcomers from a brand's core clientele. Examples are cited for apparel-maker Lululemon, fashion label Prada, and jeweler Bulgari.

    Citation:

    Bellezza, Silvia, and Anat Keinan. "How 'Brand Tourists' Can Grow Sales." Harvard Business Review 92, nos. 7/8 (July–August 2014): 28. View Details
  2. Positioning Brands Against Large Competitors to Increase Sales

    We explore the effect of having a large dominant competitor and show the conditions under which focusing on a competitive threat, rather than hiding it, can actually help a brand. We demonstrate through lab and field studies that highlighting a large competitor's size and close proximity can help smaller brands instead of harming them. We find that support for small brands goes up when faced with a competitive threat from large brands, versus when they are in competition with brands that are similar to them, or when consumers view them outside of a competitive context. This support translates into purchase intention, real purchase, and more favorable online reviews in a study of over 10,000 Yelp posts. We argue that this "framing the game effect" is mediated by consumers' motivation to express their views and have an impact on the marketplace through their purchasing.

    Keywords: marketing; Brands; brands and branding; brand management; brand positioning; competitive positioning; Brands and Branding; Marketing; Marketing Strategy; Consumer Products Industry; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Air Transportation Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Paharia, Neeru, Jill Avery, and Anat Keinan. "Positioning Brands Against Large Competitors to Increase Sales." Journal of Marketing Research (JMR) (forthcoming). View Details
  3. Brand Tourists: How Non-Core Users Enhance the Brand Image by Eliciting Pride

    This research examines how core consumers of selective brands react when non-core users obtain access to the brand. Contrary to the view that non-core users and downward brand extensions pose a threat to the brand, this work investigates the conditions under which these non-core users enhance rather than dilute the brand image. A distinction between two types of non-core users based on how they are perceived by current users of core products is introduced: "brand immigrants" who claim to be part of the in-group of core users of the brand and "brand tourists" who do not claim any membership status to the brand community. A series of studies shows that core consumers respond positively to non-core users when they are perceived as brand tourists. The brand tourism effect is mediated by core users' pride and moderated by brand patriotism and selectiveness of the brand.

    Keywords: Consumer Behavior; Attitudes; Brands and Branding;

    Citation:

    Bellezza, Silvia, and Anat Keinan. "Brand Tourists: How Non-Core Users Enhance the Brand Image by Eliciting Pride." Journal of Consumer Research 41, no. 2 (August 2014): 397–417. View Details
  4. The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence from Signals of Nonconformity

    We examine how people react to nonconforming behaviors, such as entering a luxury boutique wearing gym clothes rather than an elegant outfit or wearing red sneakers in a professional setting. Nonconforming behaviors, as costly and visible signals, can act as a particular form of conspicuous consumption and lead to positive inferences of status and competence in the eyes of others. A series of studies demonstrates that people confer higher status and competence to nonconforming rather than conforming individuals. These positive inferences derived from signals of nonconformity are mediated by perceived autonomy and moderated by individual differences in need for uniqueness in the observers. We identify boundary conditions and demonstrate that the positive inferences disappear when the observer is unfamiliar with the environment, when the nonconforming behavior is depicted as unintentional, and in the absence of expected norms and shared standards of formal conduct.

    Keywords: consumer behavior; marketing; Marketing; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Bellezza, Silvia, Francesca Gino, and Anat Keinan. "The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence from Signals of Nonconformity." Journal of Consumer Research 41, no. 1 (June 2014): 35–54. View Details
  5. Consumer Response to Versioning: How Brands' Production Methods Affect Perceptions of Unfairness

    Marketers often extend product lines by offering limited-capability models that are created by removing or degrading features in existing models. This production method, called versioning, has been lauded because of its ability to increase both consumer and firm welfare. According to rational utility models, consumers weigh benefits relative to their costs in evaluating a product. So the production method should not be relevant. Anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. Six studies show how the production method of versioning may be perceived as unfair and unethical and lead to decreased purchase intentions for the brand. Building on prior work in fairness, the studies show that this effect is driven by violations of norms and the perceived similarity between the inferior, degraded version of a product and the full-featured model offered by the brand.

    Keywords: Brands and Branding; Production; Competency and Skills; Welfare or Wellbeing; Cost vs Benefits; Perception; Customers; Performance Evaluation; Fairness; Business Ventures;

    Citation:

    Gershoff, Andrew, Ran Kivetz, and Anat Keinan. "Consumer Response to Versioning: How Brands' Production Methods Affect Perceptions of Unfairness." Journal of Consumer Research 39, no. 2 (August 2012): 382–398. View Details
  6. Underdog Branding: Why Underdogs Win in Recessions

    Underdog stories about overcoming great odds through passion and determination are particularly resonant during difficult times as they inspire us and give us hope when the outlook we face is bleak. They promise that success is still possible, a much needed message in challenging social, political, and economic times. In the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, the economic challenges facing people have intensified due to the financial crisis of 2008, the collapse of the housing market, widespread job losses, rising health care costs, and crushing amounts of consumer debt. During recessionary time periods such as this, people feel increasingly disadvantaged, making them even more likely to identify with the struggles of underdogs. Firms can capitalize on this through the use of underdog brand biographies. Through the stories of brands ranging from Virgin, Lindt, and Adidas, we illustrate how effective underdog stories can catapult brands into the spotlight and sustain them as they grow.

    Keywords: marketing; brand building; brand management; brands and branding; brand positioning; competitive positioning; Brands and Branding; Economics; Marketing Communications; Marketing Strategy; Advertising Campaigns; Advertising Industry; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Fashion Industry; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Paharia, Neeru, Anat Keinan, and Jill Avery. "Underdog Branding: Why Underdogs Win in Recessions." European Business Review (May 2011): 53–56. (Invited Article.) View Details
  7. Productivity Orientation and the Consumption of Collectable Experiences

    This research examines why consumers desire unusual and novel consumption experiences and voluntarily choose leisure activities, vacations, and celebrations that are predicted to be less pleasurable. For example, consumers sometimes choose to stay at freezing ice hotels and eat at restaurants serving peculiar foods, such as bacon ice cream. We propose that such choices are driven by consumers' continual striving to use time productively, make progress, and reach accomplishments (i.e., a productivity orientation). We argue that choices of collectable (unusual, novel, extreme) experiences lead consumers to feel productive even when they are engaging in leisure activities, as they "check off" items on an "experiential check list" and build their "experiential CV." A series of laboratory and field studies shows that the consumption of collectable experiences is driven and intensified by a (chronic or situational) productivity orientation.

    Keywords: Experience and Expertise; Innovation and Invention; Marketing Strategy; Consumer Behavior; Performance Productivity;

    Citation:

    Keinan, Anat, and Ran Kivetz. "Productivity Orientation and the Consumption of Collectable Experiences." Journal of Consumer Research 37, no. 6 (April 2011). (Winner, 2011 Ferber Award.) View Details
  8. The Underdog Effect: The Marketing of Disadvantage and Determination Through Brand Biography

    We introduce the concept of an underdog brand biography (UBB) to describe an emerging trend in branding in which firms author an historical account of their humble origins, lack of resources, and determined struggle against the odds. We identify two essential dimensions of an underdog biography: external disadvantage, and passion and determination. We demonstrate that a UBB can increase purchase intentions, real choice, and brand loyalty. We argue that UBBs are effective because consumers react positively when they see the underdog aspects of their own lives being reflected in branded products. Four studies demonstrate that the UBB effect is driven by identity mechanisms: we show that the effect is 1) mediated by consumers' identification with the brand, 2) greater for consumers who strongly self-identify as underdogs, 3) stronger when consumers are purchasing for themselves vs. others, and 4) stronger in cultures in which underdog narratives are part of the national identity.

    Keywords: marketing; brand management; Brands; brand building; brand positioning; competitive positioning; advertising; marketing communication; Biography; Brands and Branding; Product Marketing; Emerging Markets; Network Effects; Demand and Consumers; Marketing Communications; Cost vs Benefits; Perspective; Advertising Campaigns; Marketing Strategy; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Advertising Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Fashion Industry; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Paharia, Neeru, Anat Keinan, Jill Avery, and Juliet B. Schor. "The Underdog Effect: The Marketing of Disadvantage and Determination Through Brand Biography." Journal of Consumer Research 37, no. 5 (February 2011): 775–790. View Details
  9. Capitalizing on the Underdog Effect

    This article presents the results of a study that investigated the use of the underdog effect in marketing. The idea of triumphing over disadvantages by impassioned determination is said to be a powerfully positive image, which can lead consumers to choose a brand over its larger rivals. The results of research on this effect are presented, and exceptions to the rule are noted.

    Keywords: marketing; brand management; Brands; brands and branding; brand positioning; competitive positioning; Competition; Brands and Branding; Advertising Campaigns; Marketing Communications; Marketing Strategy; Advertising Industry; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Fashion Industry; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Keinan, Anat, Neeru Paharia, and Jill Avery. "Capitalizing on the Underdog Effect." Harvard Business Review 88, no. 11 (November 2010): 32. View Details
  10. The Strategic Use of Brand Biographies

    We introduce the concept of a brand biography to describe an emerging trend in branding in which firms author a dynamic, historical account of the events that have shaped the brand over time. Using a particular type of brand biography, "the underdog," we empirically show how managers can strategically use brand biographies in brand positioning, in this case to mitigate the curse of success. As brands grow and become successful, they are often marked by the negative stigma associated with size and power, which elicits anticorporate sentiment from consumers. An underdog brand biography can be strategically wielded to prevent or offset anticorporate backlash stemming from consumers' negative perceptions of firms' size and/or market power.

    Keywords: marketing; Brands; brand management; brand building; brand positioning; competitive positioning; marketing strategy; Brands and Branding; Managerial Roles; Strategy; Product Positioning; Consumer Behavior; Biography; Success; Perception; Markets; Power and Influence; Consumer Products Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Auto Industry; Fashion Industry; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Avery, Jill, Neeru Paharia, Anat Keinan, and Juliet Schor. "The Strategic Use of Brand Biographies." Research in Consumer Behavior 12 (2010): 213–230. View Details
  11. When Virtue Is a Vice

    Choosing duty over pleasure today can cause regret down the road—whereas regret over the reverse is fleeting. Marketers of luxury products and services should consider prompting customers to predict their future feelings about choices made now.

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Forecasting and Prediction; Moral Sensibility; Marketing Strategy; Consumer Behavior; Emotions; Luxury;

    Citation:

    Keinan, Anat, and Ran Kivetz. "When Virtue Is a Vice." HBS Centennial Issue. Harvard Business Review 86, nos. 7/8 (July–August 2008): 22. View Details
  12. Aspects of Endowment: A Query Theory of Value Construction

    How do people judge the monetary value of objects? One clue is provided by the typical endowment study (D. Kahneman, J. L. Knetsch, & R. H. Thaler, 1991), in which participants are randomly given either a good, such as a coffee mug, that they may later sell ("sellers") or a choice between the good and amounts of cash ("choosers"). Sellers typically demand at least twice as much as choosers, inconsistent with economic theory. This result is usually explained by an increased weighting of losses, or loss aversion. The authors provide a memory-based account of endowment, suggesting that people construct values by posing a series of queries whose order differs for sellers and choosers. Because of output interference, these queries retrieve different aspects of the object and the medium of exchange, producing different valuations. The authors show that the content and structure of the recalled aspects differ for selling and choosing and that these aspects predict valuations. Merely altering the order in which queries are posed can eliminate the endowment effect, and changing the order of queries can produce endowment-like effects without ownership.

    Keywords: Profit; Forecasting and Prediction; Theory; Valuation; Loss; Ownership; Decision Choices and Conditions;

    Citation:

    Johnson, Eric, Gerald Haubl, and Anat Keinan. "Aspects of Endowment: A Query Theory of Value Construction." Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 33, no. 3 (May 2007): 461–474. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. EILEEN FISHER: Repositioning the Brand

    Well-established fashion brand Eileen Fisher has traditionally appealed to older women. However, to drive growth, Eileen Fisher's management team wants to target a younger demographic and has revamped its Fall product line to offer more fashionable styles to appeal to younger women. But, repositioning the brand has proven to be harder than expected. This case explores the challenges of appealing to new target markets, without alienating existing customers. The case follows Eileen Fisher's initial forays into social media as they chase a younger demographic, and demonstrates the opportunities and pitfalls that await big brands when they enter the world of Web 2.0.

    Keywords: marketing; brand management; brand positioning; market segmentation and target market selection; retailing; fashion; corporate social responsibility; social media; Brands and Branding; Product Positioning; Segmentation; Social and Collaborative Networks; Growth and Development Strategy; Retail Industry; Fashion Industry;

    Citation:

    Keinan, Anat, Jill Avery, Fiona Wilson, and Michael Norton. "EILEEN FISHER: Repositioning the Brand." Harvard Business School Case 512-085, April 2012. (Revised May 2012.) View Details
  2. Introducing iSnack 2.0: The New Vegemite

    Vegemite is an iconic Australian breakfast spread and is often seen as a quintessential Australian product. This case focuses on Kraft's decision to revitalize brand performance through the introduction of a brand extension. Drawing on extensive social media analysis of brand image, the brand team led by Simon Talbot identified a gap in the market for a line extension involving a blend of Vegemite and Kraft's other iconic brand, Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Following a high profile campaign involving a competition to name the new extension Talbot's team chose the name iSnack 2.0 for the new product. The case starts two days after the public unveiling of this name and subsequent nationwide backlash against it. Talbot needs to consider whether to continue with the brand name or change it in light of the public outcry.

    Keywords: Food; Product Launch; Conflict and Resolution; Brands and Branding; Consumer Products Industry; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Keinan, Anat, Francis Farrelly, and Michael Beverland. "Introducing iSnack 2.0: The New Vegemite." Harvard Business School Case 512-020, April 2012. View Details
  3. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point

    The case examines an iconic institution's decision on whether or not to undertake a branding initiative. Founded in 1802, West Point has played a key role in America's history. It is one of the nation's oldest institutions of higher learning and is well known for producing prominent military, political and business leaders. In the increasingly competitive environment of higher education, the Director of Strategic Communications at the US Military Academy is faced with a decision on whether or not to invest resources in a rebranding effort. Over the course of the school's history, several distinct logos have come into existence and little uniformity or guidance for use exists. Data from a recent consumer survey offers some insight for the decision maker to contemplate, as does the school's recent appearance on the cover of Forbes' magazine as the number one undergraduate institution in the nation. Numerous stakeholders, tradition, the competitive environment and resource constraints all factor into the decision making process.

    Keywords: Surveys; Resource Allocation; Brands and Branding; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Competitive Strategy; Education Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Keinan, Anat. "The U.S. Military Academy at West Point." Harvard Business School Case 512-012, August 2011. (Revised November 2011.) View Details
  4. Communispace

    Communispace is the market leader in creating and managing private, brand-focused online communities for major corporate clients. These communities have provided its clients with insights into how consumers view their brands, with quick feedback on potential marketing decisions, and with a sounding board for new product ideas. Now, a potential client has asked Communispace to build and manage an online community for the sole purpose of fostering word-of-mouth for a new brand it was launching. Should Communispace take on this assignment?

    Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Brands and Branding; Product Launch; Network Effects; Social and Collaborative Networks; Online Technology; Communications Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    Keinan, Anat. "Communispace." Harvard Business School Case 510-018, November 2009. (Revised January 2010.) View Details
  5. Understanding Brands

    For many firms, the brands associated with their products and/or services are their most valuable assets, and, hence, much management attention is given to designing, communicating, nurturing, and protecting them. This note is designed to provide an understanding of brand management strategies firms use to build, sustain, and leverage their brands.

    Keywords: Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Value;

    Citation:

    Keinan, Anat, and Jill Avery. "Understanding Brands." Harvard Business School Module Note 509-041, November 2008. View Details

Other Publications and Materials

  1. Conspicuous Consumption of Time: When Busyness at Work and Lack of Leisure Time Become a Status Symbol

    This research examines the conspicuous spending of time. In contrast to the theory of the leisure class (Veblen 1899/2007), we propose that exhibiting busyness at work and lack of leisure time can signal high status and portray an aspirational image in the eyes of others. These positive inferences in response to busyness are mediated by perceived "scarcity" of the busy individual and are particularly strong for observers who feel pressed for time, with low levels of time affluence. Moreover, these inferences are considerably weakened in the absence of agency over the decision to be busy. We demonstrate a nuanced kind of conspicuous consumption that operates by shifting the focus from the preciousness and scarcity of goods, to the preciousness and scarcity of individuals. While owning expensive products signals status through the value of these material goods, displaying one's busyness and lack of leisure signals status through the value of the person.

    Citation:

    Bellezza, Silvia, Anat Keinan, and Neeru Paharia. "Conspicuous Consumption of Time: When Busyness at Work and Lack of Leisure Time Become a Status Symbol." White Paper Series, March 2014. View Details
  2. Robin Hood is Alive: The Perceived Morality and Social Acceptance of Pirated Products and Counterfeits Usage

    Keywords: Intellectual Property; Moral Sensibility; Societal Protocols; Attitudes; Crime and Corruption;

    Citation:

    Chang, Hannah, Anat Keinan, and Donald Lehmann. "Robin Hood is Alive: The Perceived Morality and Social Acceptance of Pirated Products and Counterfeits Usage." January 2008. View Details
      1. Robert Ferber Award: Won the 2011 Robert Ferber Award from the Journal of Consumer Research for the best interdisciplinary dissertation article for “Productivity Orientation and the Consumption of Collectable Experiences” (April 2011).