Smith receives AACSRE Emerging Fellowship for Signaling Research


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Leah Smith, an assistant professor of marketing, researches sensational spelling in on-site signage and branding.

The Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education (AACSRE) announced that Leah Smith, assistant professor of marketing at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, will receive a $10,000 Emerging Fellows award to examine the effects of sensational spelling on-site signage and branding.

“I am honored to be selected for the AACSRE Emerging Fellow program,” said Smith. “This interdisciplinary organization supports research to improve signage and visual communication, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my research in this area.”

The Emerging Fellows program is part of AACSRE’s initiative to encourage early career researchers to enhance their ability to develop their research and technology. Smith and his collaborator, Annika Abell, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Tennessee, will use the funding to collect consumer responses to intentional misspellings (eg, Toys “R” Us) on retail signs at the detail.

Smith’s other research projects examine how new technologies influence consumer relationships with marketers through new communications (use of emojis) or changes in product interfaces (automation). His work has been presented at conferences such as the Association of Consumer Research, American Marketing Association, Society for Marketing Advances, and Academy of Marketing Science and accepted for publication at International Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Product Innovation Management and the advertising newspaper.

Since 2017, AACSRE has awarded up to $10,000 per year to each Emerging Fellow, with support for up to two years. Funds are available to researchers who are students or early-career professors. The primary mission of the AACSRE is to promote the development, publication and dissemination of interdisciplinary research in the field of signage and wayfinding. Areas of research have included urban planning, marketing, engineering, art and law. The organization also publishes the Interdisciplinary review of signage and wayfinding.

Smith earned his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, an MBA from Wake Forest University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. Previously, she worked as a marketing researcher for Alltel, Altria and Electrolux. His research focuses on consumer behavior and how technology changes relationship dynamics. She teaches marketing research.


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