Business Briefs: Attractiveness and Entrepreneurship; No Pain, No Gain; & Social Media’s Importance

Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Are Entrepreneurs Good-Looking?

There are lots of studies on the relationship between effective leadership and appearance: It evidently helps to be good-looking. The authors of a study published in the January 2022 edition of Leadership Quarterly have a slightly different question: Is there a relationship between appearance and entrepreneurship?

Because even it they’re not leading a giant company, entrepreneurs still need leadership skills. Afterall, they have to convince others to support their projects, and they have to execute those projects. So, the question is: Do entrepreneurs have a “look” and does having the right look influence performance?

Researchers used Crunchbase to collect pictures of 3032 entrepreneurs and 3787 non-entrepreneurs. Then they applied software to assess three features: facial width-to-height ratio, cheekbone prominence, and facial symmetry. Figures in the first ratio have been found to be correlated with leader effectiveness, while cheekbones and symmetry are associated with attractiveness. 

The first thing researchers found was that the features associated with attractiveness did predict whether someone was an entrepreneur. They tend to have features viewed as attractive.

But…when researchers tested the connection between the same features and entrepreneurial success (through company revenue, funding, and valuation), there didn’t seem to be much of a relationship. 

That is, being attractive didn’t seem to help when it comes down to delivering on promises. 

Read more here

What’s in a Face? Facial Appearance Associated with Emergence but Not Success in Entrepreneurship – Dimosthenis Stefanidis, Nicos Nicolaou, Sylvia P. Charitonos, George Pallis & Marios Dikaiakos, Leadership Quarterly

No Pain No Gain

In general, it seems wisest to promote the pleasurable aspects of any product. Who wants to buy pain?

Well, you might be surprised. 

In an analytical review piece, investigators reviewed literature across the business and psychology spectrum to assess the role pain plays in our culture, as well as how we experience it. The pertinent question: Does pain have a place in marketing campaigns?

To kick things off, the team tried to narrow down a definition of pain, noting that severity, duration, and type of pain can lead to lots of divergent understandings about it.

Regardless, the authors point out that pain is leveraged to sell things a great deal more than we might think: Consider horror movies, spicy foods, and the terror of roller coasters.  Or (per our title above) consider fitness mantras such as No Pain, No Gain: The pain of exercise is sold as a means to achieve worthwhile results.  

The authors therefore suggest pain could be effectively leveraged as a status symbol for luxury goods: The painfully high price might just lead to the incredible cathartic joy of ownership…

Read more here

Pain (and Pleasure) in Marketing and Consumption: An Integrative Literature Review and Directions for Future Research – Minas N. Kastanakis, Solon Magrizos & Katerina Kampouri, The Journal of Business Research

Social Media

Conventional wisdom says that social media is important for business survival. As nice as “conventional wisdom” is, it’s even nicer when there’s data to support it. 

So a researcher conducted a survey on the impact of social media on consumers. The survey ultimately collected 413 responses. Participants had to meet three requirements: They had to follow a brand on social media, they had to be at least 18 years old, and they had to read English. Based on the responses, the  brand platforms represented were Facebook (29%), Twitter (24%), Instagram (21%), YouTube (18%), and other stuff (8%).

The survey asked for levels of agreement on statements such as ”Using x-brand’s social media is fun” and “Content in x-Brands social media is interesting.” The results suggested that positive social media sentiments were associated with  improved brand experience, improved consumer attitude and improved purchase intentions. More plainly, good social media content probably inspires customers to buy more stuff. 

And the survey indicated this was especially true for millennial responders. 

Read more here

Do Brands’ Social Media Marketing Activities Matter? A Moderation Analysis – Imran Khan, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services