Americans will spend a record $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Beyond significant others, consumers are purchasing more on gifts for children, parents, friends, coworkers, and even their pets.

Cheryl Bridges, a noted expert in retailing and interim director of the Center for Retailing Studies, said, “Although fewer Americans are celebrating the event, spending is up due to more experiential gifting,”

…Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

By Leonard Berry

Published in The Conversation

“Cancer survivor” has become a catch-all phrase to refer to living individuals diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer clinics and clinicians, patient advocacy organizations and media reports commonly use the term.

Using cancer survivor as a descriptor is certainly an act with good intentions. After all, people diagnosed with cancer have a diverse array of physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs – and the language of survival can be empowering to many of them. For this reason, institutions that focus on cancer have framed the term broadly. For example, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship has defined cancer survivor as “any person diagnosed with cancer from the time of initial diagnosis until his or her death.”

Nevertheless, as marketing professors who study how to better serve patients, we were struck by the notion of applying the term “cancer survivor” so broadly that it would even include people who ultimately die of cancer.

Should the same term be used for the entire spectrum of living people who have experienced cancer, which represents more than 100 distinct diseases affecting approximately 14 million people in the United States?

A complex issue

Indeed, the published research on this question reflects its complexity. An analysis of 23 studies of how people diagnosed with cancer view the term “cancer survivor” shows that although many embrace it, others see it as inappropriate. Some of them fear not surviving if cancer recurs; others think the term itself is disrespectful to people who die of cancer or believe the term better fits people with cancers more serious than their own.

Still others simply don’t want to live with the “survivor label” or don’t think the term reflects who they are. In studies that ask patients to make a discrete yes–no choice about whether they identify as a cancer survivor, the percentage who say “yes” ranges from about 31 percent to 78 percent, depending on the type of cancer and other individual factors, with breast cancer patients generally showing greater affinity for the term than patients with other types of cancer.

Recognizing that forcing a yes–no choice on this delicate question is not ideal, we partnered with Dr. Katie Deming, a radiation oncologist at Kaiser Permanente, and Dr. Jeffrey Landercasper, clinical adjunct professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, to conduct our own study of how current and former patients perceive the term “cancer survivor.” We measured reactions to the term in three ways: a seven-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree, a 100-point allocation exercise from 0 (negative) to 100 (positive) on a continuous scale, and an open-ended question, “What is your personal opinion about the phrase ‘cancer survivor’ and why do you feel as you do?” We analyzed more than 1,400 surveys completed by patients, primarily with breast cancer, who belong to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Army of Women, an organization that connects researchers with people who want to participate in breast cancer research. About three-quarters of our respondents were currently undergoing cancer treatment.

Our findings reinforce the concern that motivated our study. Respondents’ average scores for the two quantitative questions were slightly above the scale midpoints, indicating many people are negatively disposed to the term. The open-ended question was especially revealing in documenting not only how respondents regarded the term but also why. Overall, about 60 percent of comments were negative, 29 percent positive, and 11 percent neutral.

Among the negative responses to the term “cancer survivor,” the most common theme had to do with its disregarding the patient’s fear of recurrence. One woman’s response captures the essence of this concern: “I feel like I’m tempting fate when I say I’ve survived it.”

Other women who felt negatively about the phrase made statements such as “I don’t deserve to carry the title proudly because I didn’t ‘suffer’ enough to earn [it]”; “I prefer not to define myself by my cancer diagnosis or status”; and “it erases the experience of those who [still] have or will die of the disease.”

Patients who felt positively about being called a cancer survivor often said they took pride in the accomplishment of surviving cancer – as one woman put it, “of winning the battle against this life-threatening disease.” Another said the term made her feel “empowered, instead of victimized.” Others cited the sense of community conferred by the phrase, specifically a “personal connection to other cancer patients.”

Our statistical analysis comparing respondents with negative perceptions versus positive perceptions of the term indicates that undergoing active cancer treatment, advanced cancer stage, and older age at diagnosis or study participation are associated with less positive perceptions.

Health care language should do no harm

The key takeaway from our study, and from other published research on the topic, is that using a single label to describe a diverse population of cancer patients in blanket fashion inevitably leaves a substantial percentage of them feeling unrepresented, perhaps even alienated, by the term – even though many others derive positive benefits from using and hearing it. In short, because the group of people typically described by the term is far from a monolith, a single phrase that is subjective rather than factual is unlikely to be up to the task. The label “cancer survivor” is not based on any specific fact related to a person’s particular treatment or diagnosis; it is plainly subjective.

Language used with and about patients is important and can cause needless distress when used without care. Why not let patients choose the language of their cancer-related identity so that it best reflects their own individual experiences and preferences? Existing research, including our own, suggests that the question is worth considering.

Categories: Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Students from the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School traveled to New York City in January to receive scholarships and awards from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) and National Retail Federation (NRF) Student Program.

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund
As the premier educational fashion non-profit in the U.S, FSF seeks to identify and create career opportunities for students worldwide. It offers hands-on experience via internships with the world’s top fashion companies and most influential leaders. FSF grants the largest sum of money and total number of scholarships in the entire fashion community.

“The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund case study competition this year focused on the Globalization of Fashion. Students were required to select a fashion retailer to expand globally into another country where they had no current brick-and-mortar presence,” explained Cheryl Bridges, Interim Director of the Center for Retailing Studies and Executive Professor. “Our students had to create a marketing and financial plan for their choice, and support their project with primary and secondary research.“

The FSF scholarship winners from Mays (pictured above)
Jacquelyn Armstrong `19 for her project: Anthropologie to Paris, France
Avery Heldenfels `19 for her project: Restoration Hardware into China
Samantha Hunt `19 for her project: Academy Sports+Outdoors to Mexico
Manu Garikipati `20 for her project: Nordstrom to Dubai

Garikipati also received $10,000 in scholarships and finished as a top 5 finalist for the NRF Next Generation Scholarship.

FSF winner Heldenfels remarked “During my time in NYC with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, I was given networking opportunities I never thought could happen. I was able to meet many influential executives and students in the fashion industry that are changing retail’s future. YMA FSF granted me an open door to their network of Alumni and Sponsors, which has already been incredibly valuable as I start my career.” Heldenfels was also selected as the NRF Texas A&M student ambassador for the 2018-2019 academic year.

NRF 2019
Addison Maynard `21 received the Rising Star scholarship for NRF 2019. “One of the most impactful aspects of the NRF Student Program was the mentor round table discussions,” she explained. “Being able to engage with presidents, CEOs, and founders, of leading retail companies such as Nordstrom, Pet Smart, and Brooks Brothers, was amazing. Being nominated as the 2019 Rising Star allowed me to grow my knowledge of the retail industry, meet impressive people that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting, and exposed me to what my future could become.”

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL
At Mays Business School, we step up to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,400 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and for faculty research.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Marketing, News, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Marketing Professor Paul S. Busch got the surprise and honor of his career when Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young showed up in his classroom to present the Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award.

Busch was caught speechless momentarily as he looked around at the group assembled in his Advertising and Creative Marketing Communications class: Young, Dean of Faculties John August, Mays Dean Eli Jones, Marketing Department Head David Griffith, and members of Texas A&M’s Division of Marketing and Communications.

Once he regained his composure, he said, “What a wonderful surprise and honor. I tell my students, ‘I hope you are as fortunate as I have been – to do something you love to do.’ It will be 33 years in June that I have been teaching at Texas A&M, and then to get recognized like this. It doesn’t get any better.” …Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, Texas A&M

Many hospitality, retail, repair, and other businesses offer their customers service guarantees. If the service is substandard, the customer doesn’t pay.

In his article “Service Guarantees Have a Place in Healthcare,” appearing in the Jan. 15 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, Marketing Professor Leonard Berry proposes that healthcare organizations should consider guaranteeing the quality of services they provide that are important to patients and controllable to the organization.

Well-designed and executed service guarantees will strengthen the organization’s culture of service excellence while bolstering its reputation with patients and other stakeholders. Healthcare organizations can—and should—commit to being good enough to guarantee the quality of its services.

This is the first time the concept of service guarantees will be featured in a top medical journal. Annals of Internal Medicine is ranked in the top five of all general medical journals in the world.

Berry is University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, a Regents Professor, the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership, Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence, and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He has been at Texas A&M since 1982, is a guest lecturer internationally, and has written 10 books, including Management Lessons from Mayo ClinicDiscovering the Soul of ServiceOn Great ServiceMarketing Services: Competing Through Quality; and Delivering Quality Service. He is a pioneer in the field of services marketing and is making a significant mark on the healthcare industry.

Categories: Featured Stories, Health Care, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Four Texas A&M marketing students have each won a $5,000 scholarship from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund national case study competition.

The case study for the competition was based on the “Globalization of Fashion.” Students were asked to investigate a retail company that did not have a physical brick-and-mortar presence in a specific country and conduct research into why that company would succeed in that country.

Participants were expected to utilize both primary and secondary research, create a marketing and financial plan for the selected company, understand consumer tastes and behaviors, and determine how to overcome barriers of conducting business in their particular country.

The four Texas A&M University marketing students who received the award were:

  • Manu Garikipati, who investigated introducing Nordstrom to Dubai;
  • Jacquelyn Armstrong, who investigated Anthropologie’s introduction to Paris, France;
  • Samantha Hunt, who investigated Academy Sports+Outdoors’ inclusion in Mexico;
  • Avery Heldenfels, who investigated Restoration Hardware’s introduction to China.

In addition to the prize scholarship money, these four individuals will travel to New York City in January to attend meetings with industry professionals, attend the gala awards ceremony, attend a career fair, and have various opportunities for one-on-one meetings with some of the companies that support the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Organization.

 

Categories: Departments, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Five students from the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) traveled to Montreal, Québec on Nov. 15-17 to participate in the inaugural (R)Tech Global Retail Challenge.

It was hosted by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University.

The Aggie team finished in first place.

The event marked CRS’s first international student trip.

The international event exposed students to the retail challenges of sustainability and the circular economy, equipping students to find innovative solutions. The competition showcased new ideas for the future of retail for the next generation of industry leaders.

…Read more

Categories: Business Honors, Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

For the second year in a row, students from Mays Business School joined undergraduates from 20 colleges across the U.S. to participate in the University Student Outreach Program and Trade Show in Chicago, hosted by PLMA (Private Label Manufacturers Association).

The PLMA Trade Show highlights innovative private label brands and products from food & beverage, houseware, kitchenware, outdoor living, home & health, and more. More than 1,500 companies from 40 countries showcased their products. Exhibitors ranged from small producers to well-known national brand makers like Aspen Products, Delta Brands, and Jelly Belly who also supply store brands.

Students received hands-on learning experiences about private/store brands, retailers, and manufacturers to bring new products to store shelves. Each student paired with an exhibitor on the trade show floor to observe manufacturers pitching their products to potential buyers.

“The PLMA University Outreach Program was one of the most incredible and invaluable learning opportunities I’ve received in my education,” explained marketing major LeAnn Percivill `21. “I learned about global industry trends, how grocery retailers are staying competitive, and personal stories of triumph and success in the private label food industry. This gave me the opportunity to connect with suppliers and buyers from all over the world, from small pasta suppliers in Italy to large cookie suppliers in Canada.”

Mays participants received mentorship from industry leaders including: Deborah Ginsburg – CEO of Strategia Design, Peggy Davies – Vice President Association Relations at PLMA, Sam Mayberry – COO of Food Lifeline, John Evans – Director of Private Brands for Weis Markets, and Judy Clark – Senior Vice President of Sales for TreeHouse Foods. Educational sessions included topics on building a career, the role of store brands, eCommerce in today’s retail industry, along perspectives from retailers and manufacturers.

Jody Hall, Director of Resourcing, and Rovey Gutierrez, Global Resourcing Manager, from Center for Retailing Studies corporate partner H-E-B also provided mentoring opportunities for Radney and Percivill.

“I had the honor of shadowing H-E-B buyer, Rovey Gutierrez, while he was searching for water bottles to be sold under the H-E-B Hill Country Fare brand. He carefully explained the role of the manufacturer,” said marketing major Katherine Radney `18. “Rovey and his colleague, Jody Hall, set an amazing example with vendor relations. They both approached each of these manufacturer relationships with the utmost respect, doing business in a kind way that clearly makes the industry and world a better place.”

Students also attended the annual meeting for WISE (Women Impacting Store Brands Excellence), an independent non-profit professional development organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in the private label industry.

“This program offered me lifelong connections, wisdom, and inspiration and I can never thank the program or the Center for Retailing Studies and PLMA enough for the fantastic opportunity,” Percivill added.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Ten students in the Aggie Advertising Club competed in the 2018 American Advertising Federation-Houston student conference and competition Nov. 2-3.

Nearly 100 students from four different states gathered to compete in a day-long advertising campaign competition for Mattress Firm. In addition to creating an integrated multi-media advertising campaign, students were assigned to teams with participants from different schools, rather than just working within the institution they came with. Team pairings were based on each student’s respective backgrounds and strengths. Within just 6 hours, teams had to complete their project and deliver their results.

Out of the 11 teams, Aggie Advertising Club members Christina Maunder, Skyler Watrous, and Krystalyn Geiser led their teams to first, second and third place respectively.

The following day of the conference consisted of resume reviews and panel discussions from industry professionals. Lisa Troy, campaign advisor to the students, attended these presentations and a faculty tour of Deuster and Black Sheep Agency.

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

The Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University will host the 20th annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series at 12:40 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9.

The lecture will follow a presentation of the M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award to 2018 honoree Arch “Beaver” Aplin III ’80, president and founder of Lake Jackson-based Buc-ee’s stores.

After earning his degree from Texas A&M in 1980, Aplin opened his first Buc-ee’s in 1982. His intention was to build the Buc-ee’s brand methodically, with a goal to become the best convenience store available for service and selection. Today, Buc-ee’s enjoys a cult-like following of enthusiastic customers who make stopping for Beaver Nuggets and clean restrooms part of the family vacation.

In an era when many retailers are closing stores, Buc-ee’s is expanding beyond its Texas footprint into Alabama and Florida. Its enormous “travel centers” near 70,000 square feet, dwarfing typical 3,000-square-foot convenience stores.

The M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series, held at Mays Business School, highlights the role of innovation in the success of retail businesses.

Established in 1998, this annual lecture series honors creative merchandising in today’s marketplace. The series also serves to recognize the late M.B. Zale as a legendary retailer, a visionary businessman and esteemed philanthropist.

The speaker chosen to present this lecture epitomizes the leadership, service philosophy and creativity demonstrated by M.B. Zale.

Past honorees include Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear; Blake Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom; Karen Katz, former president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Group; and Rodney Faldyn ’88, former CEO and president of Academy Sports + Outdoors.

The event is open to the public.
RSVP: crs@mays.tamu.edu

For media inquiries, contact avernon@mays.tamu.edu.

Categories: Alumni, Center for Retailing Studies, Featured Stories, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M, Uncategorized