Jennifer Aaker

General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business

Biography

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Research Interests

  • Time, Money and Happiness
  • The Power of Story
  • Global Brand Building
  • Emotions, Goals and Health
  • The Psychology of Giving

Bio

Dr. Jennifer Aaker is a behavioral psychologist, author, and the General Atlantic Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her research focuses on the psychology of time, money and happiness — specifically how people choose to spend their time and money and how those choices drive lasting happiness. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for Consumer Psychology and the Stanford Distinguished Teaching Award. Noted for her early work on the dimensions of brand personality, Dr. Aaker’s current research focuses on the differences between happiness and meaning, the power of story in decision making, and how to build global brands across cultures. At Stanford, she teaches The Innovation Playbook, Power of StoryDesigning for VR/AR: Scaling Empathy in an Immersive World, and Rethinking Purpose. More recently, she has begun to teach Humor: Serious Business. Unanimously voted the least funny person in her family, she is definitely not teaching this class out of spite.

Dr. Aaker is widely published in the leading scholarly journals in psychology and marketing and her work has been featured in a variety of media including The Economist, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Forbes, NPR and Science. She has also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Consumer Psychology. She is the recipient of the two JCR Best Paper awards, Citibank Best Teacher Award, George Robbins Best Teacher Award, Robert K. Jaedicke Silver Apple Award, and has taught at UC Berkeley, UCLA and Columbia.

Aaker co-authored the award-winning book “The Dragonfly Effect” and serves as an advisor to early stage startups, family foundations, and companies from ADAY and Accompany to X. More personally, she also has a passion to make a dent in cancer. Toward that goal, she has been able to put the Dragonfly model when working with an group of Stanford students, with the goal to get over 100,000 people into the bone marrow registry. They surpassed that goal in one’s years time. She also enlists her kids as warriors in the battle to do social good, but is unclear how well that has gone. Nonetheless, she persists.

In terms of personal accomplishments, she counts winning a dance-off in the early 1980s among her most impressive feats, and cooks very poorly. Also, her persistence.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Marketing, PhD Minor in Psychology, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1995
  • BA in Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1989

Academic Appointments

  • The General Atlantic Professor, Stanford GSB, 2005-present
  • Full Professor, Stanford GSB, 2004-2005
  • Associate Professor, Stanford GSB, 2001-2004
  • Assistant Professor, Stanford GSB, 1999-2001
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Columbia Graduate School of Business, Fall 1998
  • Assistant Professor, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA, 1995-1999

Awards and Honors

  • Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, Society for Consumer Psychology, 2014
  • The Nautilus Literary Award, The Dragonfly Effect, 2011
  • A. Michael Spence Faculty Scholar, Stanford University, GSB, 2006
  • Early Career Award for Outstanding Research, Society of Consumer Psychology, 2003
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, MBA, Stanford University, GSB, 2000

Teaching

Degree Courses

2017-18

MKTG 346: Humor: Serious Business

YOU, oh fearless leader of the future (and maybe present). Are very important. You will make critical and far-reaching economic, political, and social decisions in your quest beyond Stanford to change lives, change organizations, and change the...

MKTG 574: Rethinking Purpose

We assume happiness is stable, an endpoint to achieve our goal to chase. It''s not. Recent behavioral research suggests that the meaning of happiness changes every 5-10 years, raising the question: how might we build organizations and lives that...

2016-17

MKTG 346: Humor: Serious Business

As children, we all possessed an innate understanding of the power of laughter, and most believed ourselves to be not just skilled in the craft of comedy, but uproariously funny. As we grew up, however, and particularly as we entered the world of...

MKTG 559: Designing for VR/AR

Put on a headset or glasses, and you will be transported to an entirely different world. You could be moving through a business room in China, following a girl through a Syrian refugee camp, or saving the world as a superhero. As a medium,...

MKTG 574: Rethinking Purpose

We assume happiness is stable, an endpoint to achieve our goal to chase. It''s not. Recent behavioral research suggests that the meaning of happiness changes every 5-10 years, raising the question: how might we build organizations and lives that...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

  • The Corporate Entrepreneur: Driving Innovation and New Ventures Learn how to translate ideas into action using strategic frameworks and design thinking; then put theory into practice with real innovation projects.
  • Customer-Focused Innovation Learn about cutting-edge social science frameworks and design thinking techniques in a unique partnership between Stanford GSB and d.school.
  • The Emerging CFO: Strategic Financial Leadership Program Guide your organization through growth with innovative CFO training that blends financial expertise, strategic thinking, and leadership skills.
  • Executive Program in Leadership: The Effective Use of Power Develop a leadership style and an action plan tailored to your personal objectives that inspire innovation in your team, your company, and the world.
  • Stanford Executive Program: Be a Leader Who Matters Learn to generate change, inspire innovation, and instill excellence at this six-week executive program.
  • Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Discover new ways of thinking and acting so that you can solve your biggest business challenges.
  • Stanford LEAD: Corporate Innovation Certificate Learn innovation and how to apply organizational change through a global, social, and virtual learning model with renowned Stanford GSB professors.

Other Teaching

  • Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship

In the Media

Humor in the Workplace

Gentry Magazine, September 2017

Science Has Found a Trick to Get the Most out of Positive Thinking

Business Insider, July 12, 2017

Chasing Happiness? Find Your Purpose Instead

NewCo Shift, March 16, 2017

In 2017, Pursue Meaning Instead of Happiness

New York Magazine, December 30, 2016

‘Signature stories’ advance brands more than people realize, Stanford expert says

Stanford News, May 13, 2016

The Power of Signature Stories

Brand Quarterly, May 2016

How to Find More Time

The New York Times, March 6, 2015

Two Easy Ways to Feel Like You Have More Time

Science of Us, February 25, 2015

Why Time Sometimes Seems To Stand Still, And Why It’s So Good For Us

The Huffington Post, February 10, 2015

Time is Money - When Goals Conflict

ORSM Discovery, February 6, 2015

New research by Ioannis Evangelidis of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and co-authors Jordan Etkin (Duke University) and Jennifer Aaker (Stanford University), shows interfering goals make customers feel time-constraint.

The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling

The Atlantic, November 2, 2014

Why, throughout human history, have people been so drawn to fiction?

Not Everyone Wants to Be Happy

Scientific American, October 28, 2014

Why Chasing Happiness May Leave you Feeling Unhappier Than Ever

Forbes, April 21, 2014

The Secret to a Successful Interview: Great Storytelling

U.S. News, April 17, 2014

Cultivating Happiness Often Misunderstood

ScienceDaily, April 15, 2014

Set Realistic Goals to be Happy

The Times of India, March 27, 2014

Why Storytelling is Charity's Best Weapon for Good

Deseret News, March 22, 2014

A Happy Life May Not Be a Meaningful Life

Scientific American, February 18, 2014

Stanford research: The meaningful life is a road worth traveling

Stanford News, January 1, 2014

Integral Options Cafe, November 21, 2013

Make Time for Awe

The Atlantic, December 18, 2013

Millennial Searchers

The York Times, November 30, 2013

Secrets of Happiness

Huffington Post, October 29, 2013

Seven Deadly Sins: Why do company stories come across as dry and flat?

The Economic Times, October 11, 2013

Re-evaluating how you spend time could make you happier

Chicago Tribune, September 2013

A Save-the-World Field Trip for Millionaire Tech Moguls

The New York Times, August 8, 2013

Secrets of America's Happiest Companies

Fast Company, January 10, 2013

There is more to Life than Being Happy

The Atlantic, January 9, 2013

How To Spend Time In Ways That Make You Happy

Yahoo! Finance, November 18, 2012

You May Have To Choose Between A Happy Life And A Meaningful Life

Business Insider, November 11, 2012

The Dragonfly Effect

Stanford Business Magazine, November 2012

The experience of awe can slow down perceived time in people's lives

The Washington Times, October 23, 2012

Social Media New Technology

Stanford Business Insider, October 2012

When Pronouns Get Personal, Brands Can Too According to Academic Research

Bulldog Reporter, July 27, 2012

Moments of Awe Affect Our Perception of Time

Business Wire, July 18, 2012

Smiling is good for you - and an area of scientific study by some seriously smart researchers

San Jose Mercury, February 5, 2012

Harnessing Social Media to Make a Difference

Forbes India, July 28, 2011

If Money Doesn't Make You Happy, Consider Time

Forbes India, June 10, 2011

What It Means To Be Happy Changes As Employees Age

Fast Company, April 21, 2011

Why The Revolution Has Been Tweeted: The Dragonfly Effect

Forbes, February 11, 2011

The power of storytelling: What nonprofits can teach the private sector about social media

McKinsey&Company, February 2011

Malcolm Gladwell: Twitter, Facebook, and social activism

The New Yorker, October 4, 2010

Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted

The New Yorker, October 4, 2010

A Stanford Graduate School of Business Course Harnesses Social Media to Make a Difference

Business Wire, February 24, 2010

Do Stereotypes Drive Consumer Purchases from for-Profit or Nonprofit Organizations?

ScienceDaily, February 17, 2010

20 Inspiring Women To Follow On Twitter

Forbes, February 8, 2010

Something for the weekend

Financial Times, February 5, 2010

An Almanac of Internet Emotion

Scientific American, January 26, 2010

Time Vs. Money Which Rules Buying Decisions?

Forbes, September 17, 2009

Why to Tie Marketing to Time, Not Money

Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2009

Emphasize Time Spent Rather than Money to Lure Customers

Business Wire, March 23, 2009

Charities Should Ask for Time Before Money, According to Stanford Business School Research

Business Wire, December 15, 2008

Mixed Feelings Not Remembered As Well As Happy Or Sad Ones

Science Daily, July 27, 2008

Videos

Courses Taught

Read about executive education

Cases

Bare Escentuals: Designing Story in a Digital World - The Innovation Playbook | M350 Jennifer Aaker, Stephany Yong, Jessica Dodson2016

eBay: Designing Culture Change - The Innovation Playbook | M364 Jennifer Aaker, Stephany Yong, Jessica Dodson, Tina Sharkey, Dane Howard2016

The Innovation Playbook: Land's End: Envisioning the Non-Obvious | M365 Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2016

How Stories Drive Growth: Brit + Co. | M348C Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014

How Stories Drive Growth: HSN | M348B Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014

How Stories Drive Growth: Skype | M348A Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014

Power of Stories to Fuel Growth: Avenues’ Use of Video to Communicate a Global Entrepreneurial Story | M352 Jennifer Aaker, Patricia Mason2014

Cirque Du Soleil: Cultivating Creativity and Designing to Delight | M353 Jennifer Aaker, Sarah Joyce2013

How to Cultivate Happiness in Companies Five Caselets | M346 Jennifer Aaker, Jake Poses, Debra Schifrin2013

BabyCenter Creating a Social Brand | M341 Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2012

How to Harness Stories in Business | M354 Jennifer Aaker, Maile Lesica, Barbara McCarthy, Tina Sharkey, Tamsin Smith2012

JetBlue Creating a Social Brand | M343 Jennifer L Aaker, Debra Schifrin2012

The Business Case for Happiness | M345 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Gaviser Leslie, Debra Schifrin2012

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation: Eradicating Cancer, One Cup at a Time | M331 Jennifer Aaker, Heidy Kwan, Sara Leslie2010

Amplifying Perceptions How JetBlue Uses Twitter to Drive Engagement and Satisfaction | M336 Jennifer Aaker, David Hoyt, Sara Leslie, David Rogier2010

Bonobos: Customer Intimacy Through Community Development | M337 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010

Deals @Delloutlet: How Dell Clears Inventory Through Twitter | M334 Jennifer Aaker, Ravdeep Chawla, Sara Leslie2010

Dispensing Happiness: How Coke Harnesses Video to Spread Happiness | M335 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie, David Rogier2010

Kiva.org and the Power of a Story | M325 Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2010

NIKE WE: Design Meets Social Good | M328 Jennifer Aaker, Ravdeep Chawla, Sara Leslie2010

NIKE WE: Design Meets Social Good | M328B Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010

The Psychology of Happiness | M330 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie, Carole Robin2010

Zappos: Happiness in a Box | M333 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010

How To Tell A Story (A) | M323A Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009

How To Tell A Story (B) | M323B Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009

Obama and the Power of Social Media and Technology | M321 Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009

Obama and the Power of Social Media and Technology (Condensed Version) | M321CV Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009

Using Social Media to Save Lives: HelpVinayAndSameer.org | M319 Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang, Robert Chatwani2009

Bare Escentuals: Designing Story in a Digital World - The Innovation Playbook | M350 Jennifer Aaker, Stephany Yong, Jessica Dodson2016

eBay: Designing Culture Change - The Innovation Playbook | M364 Jennifer Aaker, Stephany Yong, Jessica Dodson, Tina Sharkey, Dane Howard2016

The Innovation Playbook: Land's End: Envisioning the Non-Obvious | M365 Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2016

How Stories Drive Growth: Brit + Co. | M348C Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014

How Stories Drive Growth: HSN | M348B Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014

How Stories Drive Growth: Skype | M348A Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2014

Power of Stories to Fuel Growth: Avenues’ Use of Video to Communicate a Global Entrepreneurial Story | M352 Jennifer Aaker, Patricia Mason2014

Cirque Du Soleil: Cultivating Creativity and Designing to Delight | M353 Jennifer Aaker, Sarah Joyce2013

How to Cultivate Happiness in Companies Five Caselets | M346 Jennifer Aaker, Jake Poses, Debra Schifrin2013

BabyCenter Creating a Social Brand | M341 Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin2012

How to Harness Stories in Business | M354 Jennifer Aaker, Maile Lesica, Barbara McCarthy, Tina Sharkey, Tamsin Smith2012

JetBlue Creating a Social Brand | M343 Jennifer L Aaker, Debra Schifrin2012

The Business Case for Happiness | M345 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Gaviser Leslie, Debra Schifrin2012

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation: Eradicating Cancer, One Cup at a Time | M331 Jennifer Aaker, Heidy Kwan, Sara Leslie2010

Amplifying Perceptions How JetBlue Uses Twitter to Drive Engagement and Satisfaction | M336 Jennifer Aaker, David Hoyt, Sara Leslie, David Rogier2010

Bonobos: Customer Intimacy Through Community Development | M337 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010

Deals @Delloutlet: How Dell Clears Inventory Through Twitter | M334 Jennifer Aaker, Ravdeep Chawla, Sara Leslie2010

Dispensing Happiness: How Coke Harnesses Video to Spread Happiness | M335 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie, David Rogier2010

Kiva.org and the Power of a Story | M325 Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2010

NIKE WE: Design Meets Social Good | M328 Jennifer Aaker, Ravdeep Chawla, Sara Leslie2010

NIKE WE: Design Meets Social Good | M328B Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010

The Psychology of Happiness | M330 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie, Carole Robin2010

Zappos: Happiness in a Box | M333 Jennifer Aaker, Sara Leslie2010

How To Tell A Story (A) | M323A Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009

How To Tell A Story (B) | M323B Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009

Obama and the Power of Social Media and Technology | M321 Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009

Obama and the Power of Social Media and Technology (Condensed Version) | M321CV Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang2009

Using Social Media to Save Lives: HelpVinayAndSameer.org | M319 Jennifer Aaker, Victoria Chang, Robert Chatwani2009

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