GCSU Researchers Receive Best Paper Award


Bailey Ballard

Two marketing professors, Dr. Doreen Sams and Associate Professor Dr. Mary Kay Rickard along with co-authors Aruna Sadasivan and Samuel Mullis will be recognized for the “Best Paper Award for the Branding, Strategy and Research Track” at the 2021 Spring Marketing Management Association (MMA) Conference.

“When our different research papers went to conference, this is not the one I expected was going to get ‘best paper,’” said Dr. Sams, marketing professor and core faculty coordinator for mentored undergraduate research. “But I think it’s the best paper from a liberal arts position because it’s culture, it’s history, it’s the arts and it’s marketing. It shows how marketing and the other disciplines are all intertwined between them.”

Their research paper, “A Survey of Historical Marketing Influences on Artisan Vendors,” focuses on the historical perspective of brand communities. According to Samuel Mullis co-author, graduate assistant, and Master of Accountancy student, brand communities are a group of people who all have the same intention and purpose. The primary focus was the brand community of the
Artisan Vendor, an understudied $44-billion-dollar industry that originated in the Mesopotamian era.

“With three conference papers, there was no way to tell the story in one single paper,” said Dr. Rickard. “So it was really fun taking our research from one century to another century looking at how it evolved.”

Dr. Sams initially began the research alone but last semester recruited the team of Dr. Rickard, Sadasivan, and Mullis. Dr. Sams expressed that she knew the project was bigger than herself and would need help. The research has been completed fully online with the team meeting through Zoom.

“I learned a lot from both the professors and also Sam, on how to interpret this qualitative data that we got,” said Sadasivan, co-author and recent graduate from the WebMBA program. “I would just thank three of them for that experience that I gained, because qualitative data is something that I’ve never experienced in my life.”

Mullis expressed his favorite part of the research was studying the historical perspective. Sadasivan expressed her favorite part of the research was the qualitative aspect because her life is full of numbers and it was a new experience. Dr. Rickard was initially attracted to the research through the liberal perspective for the paper but expressed her favorite part was just working with her co-authors. Dr. Sams expressed her favorite part was watching the passion of her co-authors in their research and watching the paper come together.

“My goal is just to keep working with people who will foster research that has an impact,” said Dr. Sams. “I want to continue to do stuff, where we can show something of value from it. Research for the sake of research to me, is meaningless.”

Sadasivan and Mullis are both currently working to apply toward Ph.D. programs. In addition to this, both graduate students are continuing to work with Dr. Sams and Dr. Rickard on multiple research projects currently in progress.