UK prof receives grant from The National Research Foundation of Korea

Tae Hyun Baek
Tae Hyun Baek

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 18, 2017) — The National Research Foundation of Korea awarded Tae Hyun Baek, an assistant professor in the Department of Integrated Strategic Communication in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information, a $138,840 grant for a two-year research project on Culture and Sustainability Advertising.

The purpose of this research project is to examine the persuasive impact of pro-environmental message features and the socio-cultural characteristics of the audience on sustainable consumption behaviors such as saving water and recycling. This project can help corporations, governments and nonprofit organizations successfully implement green advertising campaigns that will effectively capture their target audiences from different cultures.

The National Research Foundation of Korea recognizes that there are cross-cultural differences in the perception of persuasive message strategies, and many global advertisers are often challenged when implementing certain communication strategies to promote sustainable practices. The research also aims to determine whether people from Eastern cultures and people from Western cultures differ in the way they react to pro-environmental advertising campaigns.

“We are trying to keep up with the fast-changing green advertising industry,” said Baek. He said he is inspired by all industry issues, including those on a global level. “I want to help advertising practitioners and students to solve these environmental issues for the betterment of society,” he added.

These problems include the challenge of targeting multiple cultures.

The Culture and Sustainability Advertising project is a collaboration among five investigators from Korea and America. Baek is one of the co-investigators on the project. The principal investigator is Yeonshin Kim, a professor in the Department of Business Administration at Myongji University in Korea.

Baek is also an external research fellow on the project.

“My primary research focuses on how and why consumers respond to advertising that promotes socially and environmentally responsible behaviors and the role of digital/mobile/social media in advertising,” he said.

His role as an external research fellow will be to collect, analyze and report data in the United States, a role he is very proud to perform, considering he is Korean-born and currently living in the U.S.

“Research is the most rewarding experience of my life,” he said.

The project seeks to make important academic and real-world contributions by extending prior work on advertising, marketing, persuasive communications and social/environmental/cross-cultural psychology. Several pilot studies are planned and experimental studies will be conducted. Baek and his fellow investigators are planning to publish manuscripts based on their research findings from a series of experimental studies in top-tier international advertising and marketing journals.

This will not be the first time Baek’s work has been recognized and rewarded. He is the only person to win the “Best Paper Award” twice from the American Academy of Advertising conference.  Additionally, Baek received the 2016-2017 Faculty Research Award from the UK College of Communication and Information.

Baek said he wants to take a step toward contributing knowledge and practices to the advertising field.

“I’ve learned many things from other researchers and practitioners, so it’s my turn to give applied research back.”

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