Marketing Letters

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 361–374 | Cite as

The role of emotions in decision-making on employer brands: insights from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

  • Linn Viktoria Rampl
  • Christian Opitz
  • Isabell M. Welpe
  • Peter Kenning


Branding is a key concept in marketing for which extensive research has provided valuable insights into how to attract and retain customers. However, far less is known about how to use branding to attract and retain employees. The work presented here aims to narrow this research gap by drawing on dual-process theories from research on decision-making. First, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we show that decision-making for employer first-choice brands (as compared to less attractive employer brands) is associated with increased activation in brain areas linked to emotions and with decreased activation in areas linked to working memory and reasoning. Second, our region-of-interest (ROI) analyses reveal that neural processing of employer brands differs from the processing of consumer brands. Results support our theorizing on dual-processing regarding the role of emotions in decision-making on employer brands and, further, they indicate that decision processes differ between employer and consumer brands.


Employer branding Branding First-choice brand (FCB) Employer of choice Emotion Dual-process theory Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) Region-of-interest (ROI) analysis Neuroscience 



This study was funded by Schindler Parent, Meersburg, Germany, which is greatly appreciated. We thank Raphael Hilgenstock and Jens Sommer for their great support regarding data collection. The comments on earlier versions of the paper of the reviewers and participants of the Academy of Marketing Science World Marketing Congress (WMC, 2011), of the NeuroPsycoEconomics Conference (NPE, 2011), as well as the European Marketing Academy Conference (EMAC, 2011) were greatly appreciated. The authors thank the co-editor Frank Kardes and two anonymous reviewers for their comments to improve the paper as well as Deborah C. Nester for copy editing. An earlier version of this manuscript is part of the dissertation of the author Linn Viktoria Rampl.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linn Viktoria Rampl
    • 1
  • Christian Opitz
    • 1
  • Isabell M. Welpe
    • 2
  • Peter Kenning
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Corporate Management & EconomicsZeppelin UniversitätFriedrichshafenGermany
  2. 2.TUM School of ManagementTechnische Universität MünchenMünchenGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Business Administration & EconomicsHeinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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