Date of Award

Spring 5-25-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Marketing and Analysis

First Advisor

William Locander


Over the course of three essays, this dissertation explores brand coolness, gratitude, and the relationship between the two. In the first essay, cool brands and their marketing outcomes are viewed through the lens of standing out and fitting in—two paradoxical motivations held together in the concept of cool. Utilizing structural equation modeling, I examine the relevant relationships between consumer’s motivations to stand out and fit in, the corresponding brand coolness attributes of subcultural and popular, the consumer emotional response of gratitude, and a consumer’s willingness to pay more for cool brands. Importantly, this essay finds that the consumer emotion of gratitude is positively related to both brand coolness dimensions and is necessary for subcultural brands to benefit from positive word of mouth. The second essay takes a deep dive into gratitude to better understand its relationship with key marketing outcomes through a meta-analysis of 59 papers with 75 studies featuring 214 effect sizes and 16,491 subjects, covering 15 years of research. The findings reveal a relatively large effect of gratitude (r = 0.57) on outcomes including subjective perceptions, behavioral intentions, and actual behaviors. Construal level theory provides a theoretical lens through which to understand this relationship and the moderators of the gratitude-outcome relationship. Moderators of the relationship between gratitude and subjective perceptions and behavioral intentions include sample characteristics (gender and nationality), stimulus characteristics (stimulus generation), and organizational characteristics (real/fictitious organization). Finally, the third essay returns to coolness to consider how cool can be “designed” into products during development. The overlap between the measures of product design and coolness is detailed and narrowed down into three themes—aesthetics, functionality, and symbolism. I discuss conceptual issues between uniqueness and symbolism and outline several fruitful avenues for future research including the relationship between coolness and gratitude.

Included in

Marketing Commons