Robert Morais

Robert J. Morais is a business anthropologist with experience in advertising and market researchand a Lecturer in the Marketing Division at Columbia Business School. He is currently focused on advancing the application of anthropology in business through writing, teaching, and mentoring, and educating business students on the value of qualitative research.

Morais began his career at Grey Advertising and spent 25 years with advertising agencies, rising to Chief Strategic Officer. He then served for 11 years as a Principal and co-owner of the market research firm Weinman Schnee Morais. He has worked with Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, WD-40, Coca-Cola, Post Foods, Danone, Hain Celestial, Safeway, Sabra, Pinnacle Foods, Star-Kist, Prestige Brands, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Dentsply Sirona, Wyeth (now Pfizer), Boehringer-Ingelheim, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Freshpet, Benjamin Moore, and the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel hotel group, among many other corporations.

His publications include five books and 50+ articles and book chapters. His books are: The Language of Branding: Theory, Strategies, and Tactics (co-author); Ethics in the Anthropology of Business: Explorations in Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy (co-editor); Advertising and Anthropology: Ethnographic Practice and Cultural Perspectives, (co-author); Refocusing Focus Groups: A Practical Guide (author); and Social Relations in a Philippine Town (author). His research articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in Forbes, Huffington Post, Advertising Age, Medium, American Anthropologist, Human Organization, Culture and Organization, Journal of Business Anthropology, and Philippine Studies, among others.

Morais holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and a certificate from a program for humanities and social science PhDs at NYU’s Stern School of Business. He was a Fulbright Scholar, National Science Foundation Grantee, Mellon Fellow, and co-winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant. A Fellow of The Society for Applied Anthropology, he is a founder of the Business Anthropology Community ( Morais has been interviewed by The New York Times, CBS Radio, Adweek, Brandweek, American Marketing Association, Bloomberg, and Advertising & Society Quarterly. His specializations include market research, ethnography, mixed methods, consumer insights, advertising and marketing strategy, product innovation, the production of creativity, and business ethics.