- Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett
Faculty of Business & Law,
School of Advertising, Marketing & PR
- Discipline *
- Marketing, Public Health and Health Services
- +61 7 3138 2894
- +61 7 3138 1811
- View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
- Identifiers and profiles
Doctor of Philosophy, Management (University of Queensland)
- Professional memberships
- Australian Marketing Institute
- Australian Association of Social Marketing
- Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy
- American Marketing Association Services Special Interest Group (SERVSIG)
social marketing, behaviour change, service design, consumer behaviour, health services, energy consumers
Background Rebekah is a professor in marketing and co-director of the Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society and Technology (BEST). She has an international reputation for research and industry relevance in the field of Social Marketing (using commercial marketing to address social problems such as alcohol consumption, chronic disease, water usage, electricity use, public transport and diet). Rebekah uses theories and frameworks from services marketing and social marketing to co-create innovative services and products that support people in their life, protect the planet and enable organisational success. Rebekah has attracted more than $20m in funding from the ARC, industry and government organisations which is evidence of the high impact of her research. She has supervised 43 research students to completion and is known internationally for her active mentorship of students through the creation of opportunities. Rebekah is a sought after keynote speaker due to her humour and ability to communicate scholarly evidence in a plain-English practical manner. For an example presentation see Rebekah present a project on empowering mature women to secure housing.
Rebekah’s recent successes are receiving the 2021 Robert Johnston award for the best paper in the Journal of Service Management (the number 1 service journal) and co-leading the successful bid for a $6.5m ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre on Behavioural Insights for Technology Adoption (BITA) – the first ARC ITTC in Australia from the social sciences/business fields.
Rebekah is immediate past National President of the Australian Association of Social Marketing (the peak industry body for social marketing in Australia). For details of Rebekah’s Real World Projects in Social Marketing visit her Linked In Profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebekahrussellbennett
Rebekah is also a leading educator in the field of marketing and is responsible for the development of the award-winning QUTopia role-play simulation at QUT. Rebekah holds a PhD in brand loyalty for the services sector, is the co-editor for the Journal of Services Marketing (A ranked Q1 journal) and has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles with more than 90 journal articles:
- Journal of Business Research
- Psychology and Marketing
- Journal of Service Management
- Journal of Service Theory and Practice
- European Journal of Marketing
- Journal of Marketing Management
- Industrial Marketing Management
- Journal of Brand Management
- Journal of Product and Brand Management
- Journal of Services Marketing
- Health Marketing Quarterly
Rebekah has worked with organisations across a variety of service industries in Australia including
- Australian Red Cross Blood Donation Service
- Australian Breastfeeding Association
- Brisbane Lions
- Citysmart (Brisbane City Council)
- Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (Commonwealth)
- Department of Education (Commonwealth)
- Department of Energy and the Environment (Commonwealth)
- Department of Housing and Communities (QLD)
- Department of Natural Resource, Minerals and Energy (QLD)
- Department of Transport and Main Roads (QLD)
- Energy Consumers Australia
- Essential Energy (NSW)
- Lions International
- Queensland Catholic Education Commission
- IP Australia
- Mission Australia
- Queensland Health
- Queensland Rail
- Yellow Pages Australia
- Behaviour change
- Health Services
- Energy efficiency
- Service Technology
- Service design
- Customers experiencing vulnerability
Rebekah has led over 45 social impact projects drawing on services thinking and social marketing. To view these project pages go to Service Thinking for Social Problems or the Behavioural Change and Social Marketing Program in the BEST Centre.
- 2021: Robert Johnston award for best paper (Journal of Service Management)
- 2019: Top Australian researcher in the field of marketing (The Australian September 2019)
- 2019: Highly commended award – Journal of Service Theory and Practice
- 2019: Best research paper award – World Social Marketing Conference, Edinburgh
- 2018: QUT Vice Chancellors Excellence Awards – Teaching (QUTopia)
- 2018: Highly commended best paper – American Marketing Association Services Special Interest Group Conference
- 2016 Best academic paper, best student paper, International Social Marketing Conference
- 2016 Winner – National Australian Institute of Marketing Awards – Best mobile.
- 2015 QUT Business school teaching and learning Innovation Challenge – Winner
- 2015: QUT Vice Chancellor’s Performance Fund Award (Research)
- 2014: Office of Teaching and Learning (OLT) Citation (national) for outstanding contribution to student learning
- 2010: QUT Vice Chancellor’s Performance Fund Award (Teaching)
- 2010: Best Paper Award, Social, Nonprofit and Political Marketing Track, Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (ANZMAC)
- 2008: Highly Commended Award, Emotions Network Conference, Fontaineblau, France
- 2008: Vice-Chancellors Award for Performance (Research)
- 2008: Vice-Chancellors Award for Performance (Teaching)
- 2006: Best Paper Award, Emotions Network Conference, Atlanta, USA
- 2006: Best Paper Award, e-marketing Track, Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (ANZMAC)
- 2001: Best Paper Award, Market Research Society of Australia National Conference
- 2000: Best Lecturer Award, Master of Technology Management Degree, Griffith University
- 1998: Lifetime membership conferred, Golden Key Honours Society for outstanding academic achievement.
2014 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, Federal Government Office of Learning and Teaching
Award received for stimulating marketing students’ active learning using role-play simulations and for building relationships between alumni, industry and current students to bridge the theory-practice gap (QUTopia). Details of Award: ttp://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/OLT_Citation_recipients_2014_0.pdf
- Innovation and designing new goods and services
- Social marketing
- Consumer behaviour
- Marketing management
Rebekah teaches the two marketing innovation units at QUT (AMN443 and AMB251) and has developed a unique gamified student engagement program for AMB251 called EduPrize. In both units there is a client who provides the opportunity for students to design an innovative good or service that will have social impact in the client’s industry. The best assignments are selected to do a live pitch at the end of semester and receive a prize.
Rebekah is responsible for inventing QUTopia, a non computer-based simulation for marketing students in the QUT Business School developed in 2005 which has run for sixteen semesters and has involved more than 400 local business donating products. This simulation is set in a fictitious town in Queensland called QUTopia and is part of AMB240 Marketing Planning and Management, a core unit in the marketing major. This unit emphasises real world skills and requires students to form businesses and invent a product which is sold to class members at two marketdays using QUTopia currency. Students then evaluate their marketing performance using reflective online videos via QUTopia TV and a written case study. The teaching staff adopt roles such as the mayor and ministers, and students from other faculties are also encouraged to volunteer in professional roles to gain real world experience. Students need to either provide their own products or source donations from industry, and approximately 40 local and national businesses every semester donate products. The unit uses multiple channels of communication such as blackboard, QUTopia TV Guide, facebook and twitter, each designed for a specific purpose. The pedagogy and design of QUTopia has been presented at international conferences and published in scholarly journals. A notable outcome of QUTopia is that student teams from AMB240 have won the Australian Marketing Institute Annual Student Marketing Plan Competition, twice in three years.
Rebekah has also taught Research Theory for the Faculty of Business research students to assist the development of a research topic, literature review, identification of theory gaps and development of research questions. As part of this course, Rebekah has developed a workshop on Reverse-Engineering a Journal Article’ to assist in the successful publication of research. This workshop is a sought-after presentation by Universities in Australia and Internationally.
Professor Russell-Bennett’s work is situated within the social marketing domain and in particular social services provided by government and non-profit organisations where she facilitates the design of innovative services to improve wellbeing, the environment and society. Her contribution to the field of social marketing has been recognised by being the inaugural elected National President of the Australian Association of Social Marketing (2009-2014) and service on editorial boards of key journals. Rebekah is a leader in shaping the debate and impact of social marketing in this country and extending innovating examples for other countries. She was recognised in 2019 by The Australian as the top Australian researcher in the field of marketing (most citations in the top 20 journals in the field). She is the coeditor of the Journal of Service Marketing where she has quadrupled the impact factor of the journal since 2014 when she took over.
Prof Russell-Bennett has made substantial research and translational impact in the field of social marketing (behaviour change). She improved electricity consumption in low-income households by 12.3% through a field experiment using gamification as part of a large-scale commonwealth government project (e.g., Journal of Business Research 106:377-387, Journal of Social Marketing 8:2-23, Psychology and Marketing, Vol 34: 394-409). She was an expert witness in two parliamentary enquiries on the use of technology in health programs and the development of a state health promotion agency in 2015 and 2016 where many of her recommendations were adopted (Qld parliamentary inquiry into the Health Promotion Interventions Using Telephone and Web-based Technologies, Qld parliamentary inquiry into the establishment of a Queensland Health Promotion Commission). She trialled a world-first two-way automated text service to support new mothers in breastfeeding with the Australian Breastfeeding Association resulting in an 8% improvement in exclusive breastfeeding compared to women in the control group. (BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 14:374-385). She worked with Breastscreen Queensland (Queensland Health) to increase the level of market (customer) orientation amongst radiographers to improve the screening rates of eligible women (ch. in Social Marketing: Why Should the Devil have all the Tunes? A few more tunes 2nd ed). She conducted multiple studies on blood donor/non-donor behaviour over several years and provided recommendations for improving marketing communication and service delivery to increase repeat donations (Service Industries Journal 37:657-660, Journal of Business Research 99: 157-166). She designed a gamified education program on moderate drinking for teenagers and in a randomised control trial funded by the ARC which improved alcohol knowledge and attitudes towards reduced drinking (Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Vol 27; 105-128 Journal of Business research 68: 2155-2163). She has also contributed internationally to the development of the social marketing field in her role as immediate past president of the Australian Association of Social Marketing
Russell-Bennett is a thought leader by being amongst the first to apply services thinking in the domain of social marketing and to introduce social marketing frameworks to the services marketing literature.
Rebekah co-led a project to empower mature women in maintaining secure housing after experiencing a change of circumstance (job, relationship or income). The prototype of the Women’s Butterfly Project was funded by the Department of Housing and Communities in 2020/21 and is in field as a pilot-test.
As one of two QUT researchers involved in a ground-breaking initiative led by CitySmart and funded by the Federal Government for $6.5 million Rebekah was successful in changing energy habits of 1000 energy usage behaviour of low-income earners through the use of technology. The project, Reduce Your Juice had outstanding success with a reduction in electricity use and bill size as well as receiving 11 industry and academic awards.
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has funded multiple projects on donor research to identify barriers for blood donation, service perceptions amongst donors and to test the use of technology for improving blood donation rates. See project page
Queensland Health funded multiple projects to identify barriers for women and men’s participation in cancer screening programs. Visit our project page and select Health Screening to filter the projects.
The Commonwealth Department of Education funded a project to use social marketing to widen participation in the tertiary education sector by disadvantaged groups. In this project, persona sets were developed for learners, teachers and parents with corresponding prototype designs for a digital portal that reflected the needs of each persona.
For details of Professor Russell-Bennett’s activities, visit her linked in profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebekahrussellbennett
For publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.
Awards and recognition
- Advisor/Consultant for Industry
- Reference year
- Invited to provide advice as a board member of the Non-profit organisation SPELD (Qld)