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March 29, 2017

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MIT Research News
October 11, 2010

MIT Economist Peter Diamond wins Nobel Prize

Honored with two others for work on 'analysis of markets with search frictions'
Peter A. Diamond PhD '63, Institute Professor and professor of economics at MIT, has won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for 2010. Diamond has received the award along with two co-winners, Dale T. Mortensen of Northwestern University and Christopher A. Pissarides of the London School of Economics.

In an initial announcement Monday morning, the Nobel Foundation cited the three scholars in part "for their analysis of markets with search frictions." Among many other avenues of research he has pursued in his career, Diamond helped develop studies from the late 1970s onward that examined the ways markets function over a period of time. This aspect of economic research — “search theory” — has been frequently applied to labor markets in the years since, in an attempt to see how the needs of individuals and employers are met.
Read Full Article at MIT News Office
Technology Review
October 11, 2010

Mining Moods for Brand Intelligence

Sifting through a Trillion Tweets and Blogs for Nuggets of Wisdom
If I tweet my feelings about an artificial sweetener, Coca-Cola wants to know about it. Am I discussing new scientific findings about sweeteners? Praising the taste of one while maligning another? Talking about how they've helped me lose weight? Marketers typically pay big money for research into what people are thinking about--to gauge success, identify threats, ferret out misinformation, and pick up on themes that resonate with consumers. These days, ample clues to the future direction that products should take are hidden in the fields and streams of the Web. "Brands don't become great by monitoring the past," says Stan Sthanunathan, vice president of marketing strategy and insights for the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company. "The challenge is to have a point of view on the future." Tens of millions of new blog entries, status updates, and tweets appear online every day--so information is out there for the taking, on everything from tech product launches to new movies to soft drinks to brands of soap. "Consumers know what they want and are giving their opinions in an unconstrained fashion," he says.
ILP Insider
October 10, 2010

Beware the Bogus Brand? Maybe Not…

Gosline helps brand managers think beyond the initial stages of innovation into the real issues that brands face when consumers adopt them and competitors try to imitate.
MIT’s Renee Richardson Gosline knows her brands – and she probably knows a lot about yours, too. Gosline, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Sloan School, teaches MBA students the new realities about branding, focusing on empowered consumers and the impact of social context on consumers’ relationships with their brands. From a company perspective, Gosline’s research aims to help marketers understand how the meaning that their brands hold in consumers’ minds is dynamic, and how managers can effectively anticipate these changes. “There is a lot of emphasis on the early stages of a new brand,” explains Gosline. “But you have to be prepared for further down the road in the brand’s life cycle when other people take your idea and build from your innovation.”
Renee Richardson Gosline She urges her corporate clients – and her budding MBA marketing students – to prepare management strategies for different consumer segments within the brand portfolio. “You need to understand the variety of meanings associated with your brand, and take a co-managerial approach alongside consumers,” she says.

Counterfeiting
Gosline most recently applied her academic efforts to understanding the relationship between the luxury brand market and counterfeit imitations. “I saw increasing coverage in the trade press about the proliferation of fake luxury products and how companies felt this was going to kill their bottom line,” she explains. “At the same time I was seeing unprecedented growth among consumers in terms of the popularity of real luxury brand items.” Gosline sought to determine why.

Seizing on an unexpected invitation to a “purse party” – an in-home hostess party of friends, neighbors, co-workers featuring luxury brand imitations, Gosline began a 2.5-year study of these consumers. “It was intriguing because I thought it strange that people would be buying counterfeits surrounded by people they knew in this socially embedded context,” she says. Gosline theorizes that an interesting tension developed over time with these counterfeit consumers. They did not want to be perceived as inauthentic in other areas of their lives. Yet, they enjoyed the compliments received on their imitation products.

Consumers of knock-off products experienced a tension between their social identities and their counterfeit consumer behavior. Gosline found that over time this led to increased interest in the legitimate brand. “Nearly 50% of them adopted the fake but went on to purchase the real thing during the time of my research even though they initially derided those who bought the real thing as frivolous,” she says. Through the real-fake comparison, they learned the fakes are truly inferior to the genuine. Gosline found this tension was not present when the purchasing decision was made alone such as with anonymous street vendors.

Gosline also studied consumers of the legitimate brands, and their reactions to the ubiquity of fakes. She found that these “real” consumers were overwhelmingly correct when assessing real versus fake products, when shown pictures of people using both. This preserved these consumers’ confidence in their ability to discern the real from the fake, as well as their willingness to pay for the real brand. The overall look of the consumer – the usage style—and the social context were the visual cues. “This explains to me why people know there are copious amounts of fakes, yet consumers continue to buy the real – why brands escape dilution,” she explains. “These ‘real’ consumers feel they use the brand in a way that is authentic; in a way that people who use fakes – the ‘wannabees’—do not. They then could co-exist with their imitators and even feel flattered.”

Gosline has specific recommendations for marketers and brand managers to help their consumers improve their ability to determine real versus imitation. This includes cultivating expertise among high-value consumers. “The brand is more than a simple logo; it involves a relationship and a usage culture that is partly defined by the consumers themselves,” says Gosline.

Social Networks and Branding
Because of the influence of social networks – including online social media use – Gosline explains that corporate marketers have to consider them when building and maintaining a brand. “As a marketer, you have to deal with the reality that your consumer will have a relationship with the brand and imbue it with meaning that may not necessarily be the meaning you defined,” she says.

Gosline adds that any company interested in innovation has to be aware of the issues involved with post-launch competitive imitation. How are they prepared to receive feedback from consumers or react to the feedback consumers receive during the purchasing decision? “All of these influence the relationships consumers have with brands,” she explains. Companies must be interested, vigilant, and proactive in understanding the reality of today’s social networks and how consumers’ relationships with one another affect their relationships with their brands.
Technology Review
October 8, 2010

Tunable, Stretchable Optical Materials

Active metamaterials might be used in solar cells that change properties with the weather.
The field of metamaterials has yielded devices that seem to come from science fiction--invisibility cloaks, highly absorbent coatings for solar cells and ultra-high-resolution microscope lenses. Metamaterials are precisely tailored to manipulate electromagnetic waves--including visible light, microwaves, and other parts of the spectrum--in ways that no natural materials can. With few exceptions, however, these materials work in a very limited range of wavelengths of light, making them impractical--an invisibility cloak isn't very useful if it only redirects light of one color but can be readily seen under others. Now researchers at Caltech have shown that by mechanically stretching an optical filter made from a metamaterial, they can dynamically change which wavelength of infrared light it responds to.
Technology Review
October 8, 2010

An Operating System to Run It All

Intel's MeeGo will let apps span tablets, phones, and TVs.
Apple and Google will soon have more than just each other to worry about in the race to provide the software for smart phones and tablets. Later this month, Intel will announce that its MeeGo operating system is ready to run devices including touch screen tablets and phones. Devices running MeeGo are likely to start appearing in early 2011. Netbooks are expected to appear first, then tablets and phones. MeeGo is different to Apple's iOS platform for the iPhone, iPod and iPad or Google's Android operating system, says Intel's head of open source strategy, Ram Peddibhotla, because it is intended to seamlessly link multiple devices. "MeeGo is ground-up designed and targeted at multiple devices--netbooks, phones, and TV devices," he says, describing a world in which a consumer could own multiple devices running the new operating system. "This allows these devices to work together more simply," he says. "For example, with a flick of your finger, transferring a movie or any other content onto another device."
Technology Review
October 8, 2010

The Ultimate Social Persuasion Device

Q&A video with author Gary Shteyngart, on his vision of "the äppärät"
In the near future, all citizens will wear a centrally-controlled, super iPhone that tracks your movements and can scan everyone around you to divulge their net worth, their shopping history and their dating potential. The so-called äppärät is an invention of Gary Shteyngart, author of the satiric novel "Super Sad True Love Story." The main character works in the post-human services industry and he falls in love with a younger woman who constantly "teens," or text chats, with her friends. Is there an äppärät in your future? Will a fictional mobile device have a cautionary impact on today's designs?
Technology Review
October 8, 2010

Obama signs technology access bill for disabled

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Blind and deaf people will be able to more easily use smart phones, the Internet and other technologies that are staples of life and work under a bill signed into law on Friday.
Technology Review
October 8, 2010

Questions and answers about BlackBerry objections

NEW YORK (AP) -- Some questions and answers about the threats to ban the use of BlackBerry's messaging and Web services:
Technology Review
October 8, 2010

UAE, BlackBerry resolve dispute, averting ban

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The United Arab Emirates on Friday backed off a threat to cut key BlackBerry services, just days before a planned ban that could have harmed the country's business-friendly reputation.
Technology Review
October 8, 2010

Microsoft Works the Phones

Needing a huge boost in the mobile market, Microsoft will begin selling new phones with an updated version of Windows.
On Monday in New York, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will unveil a new line of smart phones that represent a complete reworking of Microsoft's unsuccessful strategy for the mobile market. The phones will run a new mobile operating system, known as Windows Phone 7, that makes heavy use of the latest touch-screen technology. Instead of displaying an array of application buttons, the phones' home screens are oversized pages of constantly changing information, such as live status updates and photo posts from your Facebook friends. The home screen, and those of many applications, are several times wider than the touch-screen display, and can be thumbed to the left and right in what Microsoft calls a panoramic layout.
Technology Review
October 7, 2010

PayPal iPhone app lets you scan checks to deposit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Betting you wouldn't trek to your bank or the closest ATM if you didn't have to, PayPal has added a feature to its free iPhone application that lets users deposit checks into their PayPal accounts by taking a picture of them.
Technology Review
October 7, 2010

Now Your App Knows Where You Are

Geolocation analytics could help companies to improve their apps--and make more money from them.
A new platform for analyzing when, where, and how smart-phone apps are used will soon be available to thousands of mobile developers. Appcelerator--a software development platform that lets Web programmers create apps that run natively on both iPhone and Android devices--will release the new mobile analytics platform within the next three months. The platform was developed by Appcelerator and FortiusOne, a company that specializes in visualizing location information.