Vanitha Swaminathan

Thomas Marshall Professor of Marketing

Vanitha Swaminathan joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. She is the director of the Katz Center for Branding. Her first stream of research is in branding strategy and consumer-brand relationships. Specifically, her focus is on understanding why consumers are attached to certain brands, and the conditions that foster consumer-brand relationships. Additionally, her research investigates how firms can successfully design brand strategies (e.g., co-branding, brand extensions, loyalty programs) to strengthen brand attachment. More recently, her focus is on understanding brand presence in social media influences brand equity and how brand managers can leverage the power of social media to build stronger relationships with customers.

A second stream of research focuses on how various brand acquisitions and marketing alliances contribute to firm value. In this context, her research examines how brand names that are acquired in a merger or acquisition can be successfully leveraged to enhance value creation. Further, her research examines how firm networks of partnerships and marketing alliances contribute to firm value.

Professor Swaminathan serves on the editorial review boards of Journal of Marketing and Journal of Consumer Psychology. In July 2014, Professor Swaminathan joined the American Marketing Association's Academic Council as a member for a term of 2014-2017. Professor Swaminathan will join the Executive Committee of American Marketing Association's Academic Council for a  four year term (2016-2020) beginning with the role of President - Elect designate  for 2016-2017 and will serve as President of the Council during her term. 

Her research has been cited in various media sources including Forbes,The Miami HeraldSirius Radio, Science Daily, EurekAlert! (DC), PhysOrg.com (VA), Eureka! Science News (Canada), Houston Chronicle, Pittsburgh Business Times, Hindu (India), Economic Times (India), Frontline (India), BBC Brasil (UK),Último Segundo (Brazil), O Globo (Brazil), Terra Brasil (Brazil), Estadão (Brazil), G1.com.br (Brazil). She has worked with numerous companies, such as H.J. Heinz Co., The Hershey Company, StarKist Co., AC Nielsen, GlaxoSmithKline, and P&G, on marketing and branding consulting projects. She has also extensively worked with small businesses on advising them regarding their digital marketing efforts.

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