LeBow Profiles: Brooke Reavey, PhD, Marketing Student and World Traveler

Brooke Reavey, a LeBow College Ph.D. student in marketing, took a year off from her career to travel the world before deciding to pursue her doctorate. “I took my GMAT in Thailand, filled out my application in Vietnam, had my interview in India and accepted the offer in Ethiopia,” she recalls. 

Her travels took her to nearly two dozen countries, also including: China, Mongolia, Laos, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Qatar, Italy, Germany and Iceland.

Her most exciting experience was whitewater rafting in the jungles of Northern Thailand. “We regularly saw pythons slip into the water, which gave us extra incentive to stay in the raft. But we also had a chance to see monkeys in the trees, which balanced out the scary with the cute.”

Warm smiles and dependency on cell phones are the few similarities that Reavey says she noticed across all cultures. “Everyone loves their cell phone.” And, she says she was “absolutely floored to see a product like Axe body spray for sale all over the world, including remote villages in Zambia. I guess all guys want to smell nice for their ladies.”

Reavey has a bachelor’s in business administration with a double major in marketing and psychology and a master’s in marketing, and spent most of her 20s working in market research for Commerce Bank, TNS (the largest market research firm in the world) and Harte-Hanks marketing firm. She really liked the problem-solving and research aspects of her job, and loved working to better understand consumer behavior. However, she felt somewhat constrained by the limitations of her clients’ budgets, unable to dig as deeply as she really would have liked to into her market research interests.

Reavey’s areas of interest in marketing research include consumer behavior (better understanding the psychology of the consumer mind) and the theory of brand anthropomorphism (how consumers react to humanized products and brands). She says she choose LeBow because: “I was looking for a program that had faculty who specialized in an area of marketing that I was interested in, and Drexel is nationally known for this research area.” Her advisor is Hyokjin Kwak, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing. “He’s really shown me the ropes in how to get my research published,” she says.  

She recently presented a paper on brand anthropomorphism titled “Seeing Man in Man’s Best Friend” — which she co-authored with Kwak and fellow marketing Ph.D. student Marina Puzakova — at the Association for Consumer Research conference in October 2011. She has another paper under review for this year’s conference.

She also has a paper titled “An Exploratory Study of Stalled Relationships among Art Museum Members,” co-authored with Mike Howley, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of marketing, and Dr. Daniel Korschun, assistant professor of marketing, under second revision with the International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. In this paper, Reavey and her professors explore what happens when former members of an art museum maintain a psychological attachment with the museum but discontinue the traditional behavioral relationship (i.e. membership). “We find that many members who defect the museum blame themselves for the failed relationship, rather than something that the museum did, as previous literature has found,” she says.

For her dissertation, Reavey is working on a research paper that proposes that there are two distinct types of brand anthropomorphism: direct, like the Pillsbury dough boy, and indirect, which would include less obviously humanized products such as the Volkswagon Beetle, which was designed to resemble a smiling face.

Reavey is currently teaching a Marketing Research class to undergraduates and has been nominated for a University Teaching Assistant award. She says she really enjoys seeing students grasp new concepts and engage in market research projects of their own choosing.

Her hobbies include running and caring for animals in need. She recently completed the 10-mile Broad Street Run and is training for a half marathon. She also volunteers at the Animal Coalition of Delaware County, and has fostered five dogs.