From selfies to space


4 minute read

Dr Toni Eagar is a Lecturer of Marketing at the ANU College of Business and Economics’ (CBE’s) Research School of Management. 

Toni’s research centres on the relationships between consumers, culture and the marketplace. She is particularly interested in how social, critical and literary theories can illuminate the connections between market actors – customers, distributors, facilitators – as well as branding and market structures. 

With a focus on human branding, a practice when well-known personalities are the key subject of marketing communications, Toni has previously used the contexts of singer-songwriter David Bowie to understand the limitations of celebrity within marketplaces. She has also employed human branding as a lens to understand peoples’ selfie behaviour and desire to become "insta-famous".

The findings of these and other studies have appeared in internationally recognised journals including European Journal of Marketing and Journal of Marketing Management.

Toni marks a trip to the Malay Archipelago in 2000, as a fourth-year business student, as the start of her academic career. 

“As a part of my Bachelors at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), I did my project on e-business opportunities for a remote tribe of Borneo. At that time, I asked one of my lecturers to look at my project, and he was so impressed that he offered me a job as a tutor which then led to research assistant opportunities,” she shares.

After graduating from UTS and gaining a few years of industry experience, Toni commenced her CBE journey in 2004 to pursue her PhD. She is now a Lecturer at the College, where she teaches Consumer Behaviour and Marketing and Stakeholder Communications to undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts. She has also previously taught courses on marketing research and international marketing at CBE.

Explaining how her research informs her teaching, Toni says that she uses an applied approach to critical social theory in her courses, which helps student probe their own consumption as a system of behaviours, rather than just focusing on the what people buy and why. 

“This approach involves getting students to reflect on their own consumption behaviours through journaling and then analysing it through the lens of different consumption theories,” she adds.

As an early-career researcher at CBE, Toni is grateful for the opportunities to travel before COVID-19, both in Australia and overseas, and engage with other researchers in her field. 

“The connections I have built over a number of years through attending various conferences and workshops helped me establish a personal and professional support network that I could lean on when the COVID-19 pandemic broke.  I can reach out to them if I need help with how to teach something remotely, whether in regards to assignment modifications and access to resources, or to discuss research projects,” she explains. 

Reflecting on the pandemic, Toni’s advice to her fellow academics is simple: Be kind to yourself and others. 

The College is always keen to explore research collaborations with the public and private sector and to reconnect with alumni. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about partnering with us.