Dr. Jennifer Aaker, General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business, is an American social psychologist and author. Best known for her research on time, money and happiness,[1] Aaker also focuses on the transmission of ideas through social networks, the power of story in decision making, and how to build global brands across cultures.[2][3] She is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award and the Stanford Distinguished Teaching Award.[4]

Early life and education

Aaker was born in Palo Alto, California to Kay Aaker, a teacher and volunteer,[5] and David Aaker, a well-known pioneer in the world of brands.[6] Aaker attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied under the prominent social psychologist Philip E. Tetlock and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1989. In 1990, Aaker began postgraduate work at Stanford Graduate School of Business, earning a Ph. D (major) in marketing and a Ph. D (minor) in psychology in 1995, and wrote a landmark dissertation on brand personality, which led to the publication of three academic papers in Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Consumer Research and went on to win several awards.[7]


Aaker began her academic career in 1995 as an assistant professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. In 1999, she returned to the Stanford Graduate School of Business as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 2001, and earned a full professorship in 2004. In 2005, Aaker was named General Atlantic Professor of Marketing.[8] In that time, her work has been widely published in the leading scholarly journals in psychology and marketing, won academic awards, and highlighted in print and broadcast media, including The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BusinessWeek, Forbes, NPR, CBS Money Watch, Inc. and Science. She serves as an advisory board member for several private companies.

As a social psychologist and marketer, Aaker began her research career by proposing a "Dimensions of Brand Personality" framework to describe and measure the "personality" of a brand, defined as the set of human characteristics associated with it. The five core dimensions are Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness. In a global analysis of brands, Aaker and her colleagues revealed two novel brand personality dimensions. In Japan, individuals viewed brands as Peaceful, and in Spain, individuals viewed brands as Passionate. Aaker’s model showed that brand personality dimensions influence consumer preference and choice and provided a framework that illuminated how to build strong global brands that meet multi-cultural needs.[9]

In 2002, Aaker shifted her research focus to understanding time, money and happiness, examining questions such as: What actually makes people happy, as opposed to what they think makes them happy? How can people use, save and expand time, and how do those decisions relate to their happiness? In this work, she suggested that time is a resource that, like money, is not only important but more subjective than we think. In 2010, she published two landmark papers with Sep Kamvar and Cassie Mogilner on the dynamic meaning of happiness. Prior research had suggested that the meaning of happiness is either similar across individuals, or highly subjective and idiosyncratic. Aaker and her colleagues show that the answer lies between the two and that there is in fact a predictable shift in the meaning of happiness and how it is experienced over one’s life and even within the day or week. The research also showed that the meaning of happiness that one holds impacts the choices people make.

Aaker also examined questions such as: Why do people give to others, how do small acts create significant change, and how can those effects be fueled by social media?

In 2010, Aaker and her husband, startup advisor Andy Smith authored the book The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.[10] With a title inspired by the dragonfly’s unique ability to propel itself in any direction when it’s four wings worked in concert, the book examined the manner in which synchronized ideas can be used to create rapid transformations through social media. A literary award winner,[5] The Dragonfly Effect has been translated into over 10 languages. In 2013, Aaker, Smith and McCarthy published The Power of Stories, a companion to The Dragonfly Effect, which further explored social media through psychological insight and provided a hands-on tool to help companies put the model to work. In a powerful real world demonstration of the Dragonfly Effect, Aaker and her students founded 100K Cheeks,.[11][12] an organization dedicated to registering 100,000 South Asian donors in the National Bone Marrow Registry.[13] In addition to utilizing social networks, Aaker ran the first ever cheek swab in India; as a result of these efforts, 100K Cheeks exceeded their goal by registering more than 115,000 potential donors.[14][15][16] “Social media is not inherently meaningful,” Aaker said in an interview on the subject. “Yet the power of social technology, when fully engaged, can be nothing short of revolutionary.”[17]

As a teacher, Aaker focuses on how to build social brands, the power of story, and designing (for) happiness. Using their own brands, students develop signature stories for their brands to fuel growth, create a social experience for the brand, and then harness the power of social media to enable the brands to become participatory and inspire action in customers. Aaker’s courses integrate approaches from social psychology and marketing, and include human-centered iterative methods, real-time feedback, and a bias toward action. To help students cultivate empathy and aid in brand building, a “StoryBank” app was developed for her courses. The IOS app gathers information on moments and stories, all quantitatively rated and geo- and time-tagged. The data set sheds light on what moments actually drive happiness (versus what people think) when people experience services and brands across cultures.

Regarded as a thought leader in the practice of global brand building, digital and consumer insights, and design and innovation, Aaker serves on public and private boards and advisory committees.



  • The Power of Stories. With Andy Smith and Barbara McCarthy. April, 2013. Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing ISBN 978-1-4841-8438-7
  • The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change. With Andy Smith. September, 2010. Publisher: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 978-0-470-61415-0[18]
  • Keep Calm, Play Hard. With Cooper Smith. 2013. New York City.
  • Tea Sloane's Adventure: A Sparkly Tale of Whimsy and Meaning Found in NYC. With Tea Sloane Smith. 2013. New York City.
  • Devon Made It: One Boy's Journey in NYC. With Devon Smith. 2013. New York City.

Selected Research and Papers

Rethinking Time

How do people use, save and expand time and how do those decisions relate to happiness?

  • Awe Expands People's Perception of Time and Enhances Well-Being (2012), Rudd, Vohs, and Aaker, Psychological Science.
  • If Money Doesn't Make You Happy, Consider Time (2011), Aaker, Rudd, and Mogilner, JCP
  • The Time versus Money Effect (2009), Mogilner and Aaker, JCR
  • The Happiness of Giving: The Time-Ask Effect (2008), Liu and Aaker, JCR

The Dynamic Meaning of Happiness

How the meaning of happiness shifts over the life course and how our definition of happiness impacts the choices we make

  • Key Differences between a Happy Life and a Meaningful Life (2013), Baumeister, Vohs, Aaker, Garbinsky
  • How Happiness Impacts Choice (2012), Mogilner, Aaker and Kamvar, JCR
  • The Shifting Meaning of Happiness (2010) Mogilner, Kamvar and Aaker, SPPS
  • Can Mixed Emotions Peacefully Co-Exist? (2002), Williams and Aaker, JCR

Designing Global Brands

How to build strong global brands

  • Dimensions of Brand Personality (1997), Aaker, JMR
  • When Good Brands Do Bad (2004), Aaker, Fournier, and Brasel, JCR
  • Consumption Symbols as Carriers of Culture (2001), Aaker, Benet-Martínez, and Garolera, JPSP
  • Non-Profits Are Seen as Warm and For-Profits as Competent (2010), Aaker, Vohs and Mogilner, JCR



  • Fast Company "Most Influential Women in Technology"
  • Fast Company "100 Most Creative Leaders"
  • Forbes "20 Inspiring Women To Follow on Twitter"
  • Poets & Quaints "World's Best B-School Professors"

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, SCP 2014
  • Robert K. Jaedicke Silver Apple Award 2011
  • Ferber Award Journal of Consumer Research 2010, “The Time versus Money Effect” Hon Mention
  • Best Paper Award Journal of Consumer Research 2007 for “When Good Brands Do Bad”
  • Best Paper Award Stanley Reiter 2007 for “Bringing the Frame into Focus”
  • Best Paper Award Journal of Consumer Research 2005, "Can Mixed Emotions Peacefully Co-Exist?”
  • General Atlantic Chair, 2005–present
  • Xerox Distinguished Chair in Knowledge, 2007-2009
  • Thomas W. Tusher Chair of Global Business, 2006-2007
  • A. Michael Spence Faculty Scholar, 2003-2004
  • Society of Consumer Psychology Early Career Award for Outstanding Research, 2003
  • Outstanding Reviewer Award, Journal of Consumer Research, 2002, 2003, 2004
  • Distinguished Teaching Award (Stanford), 2000
  • Citibank Best Teacher Award (UCLA), 1999
  • George Robbins Best Teacher Award (UCLA), 1998

See also

Further reading

External links


  1. Cook, Nancy. The Corporate Pursuit of Happiness. March, 2011. Fast Company. Retrieved on 19 June 2013.
  2. The Brainiacs: Most Influential Women In Technology. 2011. Fast Company. Retrieved on 4 June 2013.
  3. Faculty Profile: Jennifer Aaker. Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved on 6 June 2013.
  4. Jennifer Aaker: Psychology Today. 2014. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 27 February 2014.
  5. Wake, Jennifer. The Gift of Time: Skilled Volunteers Found in Local Retirees. April 15, 2009. La Morinda Weekly. Retrieved on 7 June 2013.
  6. David A. Aaker, Author Profile. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved on 7 June 2013.
  7. Honors and Recognition. 2013. Stanford University. Retrieved on 15 June 2013.
  8. Aaker CV at Stanford Graduate School of Business. January, 2013. Stanford University.
  9. Aaker, Jennifer (August 1997). Dimensions of Brand Personality. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  10. The Dragonfly Effect. 2013. Official Website. Retrieved on 16 June 2013.
  11. David, Avril. Names You Need to Know. May 17, 2011. Forbes. Retrieved on 16 June 2013.
  12. The Power of Stores. Amazon. Retrieved on 16 June 2013.
  13. Past Challenges (Get Involved). Haas Center for Public Service. Retrieved on 13 July 2013.
  14. Jennifer Aaker: Pursuit of Happiness. November 27, 2011. Ink Talks. Retrieved on 19 June 2013.
  15. Beth Kanter Katie Delahaye Paine, Katie Delahaye Paine (2012). Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World. New York: Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-13760-4. 
  16. The Dragonfly Effect. October 2011. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved on 16 June 2013.
  17. Staff Writer. 100k Cheeks and Blood Center to Host Marrow Drive. February 1, 2011. Stanford Daily. Retrieved on 16 June 2013.
  18. Aaker, Jennifer Lynn; Smith, Andy (2010). The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change (book). Carlye Adler. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 9780470614150. OCLC 460061966. 
  19. Jennifer Aaker at Stanford Graduate School of Business. 2013. Stanford. Retrieved on 15 June 2013.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Jennifer Aaker, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Citobun Search for "Jennifer Aaker" on Google
View Wikipedia's deletion log of "Jennifer Aaker"