Department of Management, Society and Communication

Associate professor

Room: DH.V.2.06
E-mail: vs.msc@cbs.dk

“My focus is the power that words exert over human minds and multimodal persuasive communication processes – and how to handle these responsibly.”

Stated less simply: I investigate the communicative and psychological mechanisms through which words and language in combination with other carriers of communicative content (pictures, symbols, colours, shapes, tastes) not only reflect, but shape the world around us and the way we see and deal with it.

Over the years, I have pursued this research interests both in cross-disciplinary theoretical work and applied to  goal-driven endeavours that range from the clash and convergence of legal cultures to the creation, marketing, and fair presentation of innovative products (particularly food and drink) and sustainable tourism development.

Unlike more management(-strategy) oriented approaches to communication, my focus also includes observing such processes as they unfold in real time, for example, during physical/online shopping or when visiting a tourism sight. To this end, I draw also on experimental methods and psychophysiological measurement techniques, particularly eye-tracking, using, inter alia, in MSC’s cognitive experimental facility Cog Lab.

Current Projects:
I am currently working on the EU Horizon 2020 innovation project INCULTUM. Visiting the Margins (2021-2024) which applies participatory bottom-up approaches to developing sustainable cultural tourism in 10 peripheral places across Europe. A follow-up project has recently been granted under the EU Horizon Europe Programme; that project is entitled SECreTour (2024-2027) and aims at enabling sustainable, engaging, and creative tourism as a driver for a better future in rural and remote areas.

Another ongoing project is a win-win collaboration with Varefakta which integrates several CBS Master and Bachelor Thesis projects. Here the overarching focus is to create a better knowledge base and new communicative tools for exploiting and developing the potential of the Varefakta label as a cross-cutting benchmark for reliable product information in an ever-increasing signpost-labelling jungle. That includes meeting the urgent demands of the green transition and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Previous Projects:
I have been the leader of and/or a participant in several larger and smaller collaborative projects. That includes the strategic research alliance ‘Spin or Fair Speak – When Foods Talk’ funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research (now merged with Innovation Fund Denmark) and three follow-up projects (2007-2016). The aim was to create a new shared frame of reference for business, society, and authorities for assessing the fairness and potential misleadingness of concrete food labelling solutions on empirical grounds. The work was led by the FairSpeak Group at CBS and carried out in collaboration with CBS, DTU, KU, and Lund University as well as a group of business and NGO partners and the Danish food authorities (the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration). Read more about the FairSpeak Group's continued work and recently published new results here.

Projects in Pipeline:
A major research initiative is presently in preparations with the working title ‘Food for Thought: Can Sustainable Alternatives to Traditional Food Products become Mainstream through Multimodal Naming and Framing?’ The aim is to support the green transition in Danish society by strengthening the research basis for naming and framing plant-based alternatives to traditionally meat-based food products in a way that goes beyond presenting them as sheer “substitutes”, e.g. Chili-sin-Carne and Beyond Burger. We see that as a precondition for achieving a long-lasting and sustainable effect on the habitual consumption patterns of the rising generations.

Primary research areas
  • Multimodal Persuasive Communication
  • Naming & Framing
  • Product innovation for green transition, responsible product-to-consumer communication, fair product labelling
  • Sustainable tourism development
  • Low- versus high-budget route place branding
  • Cognitive Language Theory, Psycholinguistics, Decision-Making Theory
  • The Law-Language Interface
Administrative tasks

Throughout my affiliation to CBS, I have been a member of a number of executive organs, study boards, research  groups, think tanks, clusters, etc. and headed some of them.

I am currently leader of the Fair Speak Group and the Consumers in Markets Research Group under the COG Cluster and member of the CBS Agrifood Network under Green Transition at CBS . For external affiliations and networks, see links below.

I have led and/or participated in larger externally funded project (see above) as well as smaller, locally funded projects (e.g. pilot project on the perception of Danish organic products across cultures, SugarTexts, Russian Legal and Police Language).

Link to this homepage

During my time at CBS, I have developed, coordinated, and taught a wide range of courses at a number of Master and Bachelor level programmes. I have also developed and taught courses and arranged workshops and seminars for companies, external stakeholders, summer schools etc.

I am currently the coordinator of the CBS Summer (ISUP) course Persuasive Business Communication and teach the HA-MAK course Communicating Complex Data and Knowledge and the HA-MAK course Communication Theory. I am furthermore responsible for the elective course Naming & Framing: Mastering the Power of Words.  A new micro-credential course on locals’ and visitors’ contributions to sustainable tourism is presently under development for the CBS Summer (ISUP) season 2024. 


I offer thesis supervision at the PhD, Master, and Bachelor levels (60+ Master theses so far) as well as of various BA and MA semester projects, Internship reports, etc.

I have furthermore contributed to the initiative ‘Students included in research’ (SIiR) under CBS CareerGate where students are invited to write their Master or Bachelor theses in integration with an ongoing CBS research project and/or in collaboration with selected external stakeholders. That has yielded 4 Master theses and 5 Bachelor theses so far.

Other teaching activities

I have organized and run courses, workshops, and seminars for a variety of external stakeholders beyond academia (e.g. Varefakta, Danfoss, Lego, Danish Veterinary & Food Administration) and participated as invited speaker and panel member in branch-specific and public fora organized by e.g. the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Danish Industry, and NGOs such as Green Future. I have likewise  occasionally taught at other universities (KU, DTU, MGLU/Moscow) and Summer Schools on issues from food innovation to the European cultural and legal convergence. 

Selected publications

Academic publications (indicative):

Smith, V., Barratt, D., & Nielsen, S. F. (in review).  Don’t (just) show it, say it: An exploratory eyetracking study of the effect of front-of-pack sensory descriptions on consumers’ choices of wine, cheese, and olives. Appetite.

Smith, V. & Block, M. (2024). Local identity and place branding at marginal tourism destinations. In: Borowiecki,, K. J., Civantos,  J.M. M., Fresa, A., & Mitchell, S. Innovative Cultural Tourism in European Peripheries. London & New York: Routledge (in preparation).

Smith, V. & Block, M. (2023). Naming and framing a marginal tourism destination close to an urban tourism hub: The case of Campina de Faro. Paper presented at 62nd ERSA Congress, 2023.

Block, M. Humlebæk, C. J. Qwarnström, S. M., Raad, C. A., & Smith, V. (2022).  Visiting the Margins: Innovative Cultural Tourism in European Peripheries. Stakeholder Map. Granada: University of Granada.

Smith, V., Barratt, D., Møgelvang-Hansen, P., & Andersen, A. U. W (2022). Misleading marketing communication: Assessing the impact of potentially deceptive food labelling on consumer behaviour. London: Springer Nature/Palgrave Macmillan.

Smith, V. (2021). Naming & framing: Understanding the power of words across disciplines, domains, and modalities. New York: Routledge.

Smith, V.(2018). Taste the difference – and say it!: The role of sensory language in the multimodal semiotic cocktails of food labelling and web-store presentations. Paper presented at Branding Nations, Products, and Sensory Experiences. Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, October 2018.

Clement, J., Smith, V., Zlatev, J., Gidlöf, K., & Van de Weijer, J. (2017). Assessing information on food packages. European Journal of Marketing51(1), 219-237.

Smith, V., Barratt, D., & Selsøe Sørensen, H. (2015). Do natural pictures mean natural tastes? Assessing visual semantics experimentally. Cognitive Semiotics8(1), 53-86.

Smith, V., Barratt, D., & Zlatev, J. (2014). Unpacking noun-noun compounds: Interpreting novel and conventional food names in isolation and on food labels. Cognitive Linguistics, 25(1), 99-147.

Smith, V. (2014). The semiotic cocktail of food labelling : Mixed and consumed. Paper presented at  The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS-2014), Lund, September 2014.

Smith, V., Green-Petersen, D., Møgelvang-Hansen, P., Christensen, R. H. B., Qvistgaard, F., & Hyldig, G. (2013). What’s (in) a real smoothie. A division of linguistic labour in consumers’ acceptance of name–product combinations? Appetite63, 129-140.

Durst-Andersen P., Smith, V., & Nedergaard Thomsen, O. (2013). Towards a cognitive-semiotic typology of motion verbs. In: C. Paradis et al., eds., The construal of spatial meaning: Windows into conceptual space (pp. 118-143). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Smith, V., Clement, J.; Møgelvang-Hansen, P.; & Selsøe Sørensen, H. (2011). Assessing in-store food-to-consumer communication from a fairness perspective: An integrated approach. International Journal of Specialized Communication, 33(1-2), 84-106.

Smith, V., Møgelvang-Hansen, P., & Hyldig, G. (2010). Spin versus fair speak in food labelling: A matter of taste? Food Quality and Preference21(8), 1016-1025.

Micklitz, H.-W.; Smith, V.; & Rørdam, M., eds. (2010). New challenges for the assessment of fairness in a common market. Florence: European University Institute Press.

Smith, V. (2010). Lexical semantics negotiated : Assessing the fairness and misleading potential of established and novel food names. In: I. Korzen & E. Cresti, eds., Language, cognition and identity: Extensions of the endocentric/exocentric language typology (pp. 191-209). Firenze : Florence: Firenze University Press.

Zlatev, J.; Smith, V.,; Weijer, J. van de; & Skydsgaard, C. (2010). Noun-noun compounds for fictive food products: Experimenting in the borderzone of semantics and pragmatics. Journal of Pragmatics, 42(10), 2799-2813.

Smith, V. (2007). Linguistic Diversity Versus Legal Unity in Europe: Getting Beyond the Chicken-and-Egg Discussions. Journal of Comparative Law, 2(1), 120ff.

Titles targeting Business and Society beyond Academia (indicative examples):
Smith, V. (2022). Ordets magt: Sproget er et slagkraftigt værktøj, når man mestrer ’naming’ og ’framing’. Videnskab.dk, 19. jul. 2022 (link here).

Smith, V. (2022). Ordets magt: Hvem bestemmer, hvad ord betyder? Videnskab.dk, 26. jul. 2022 (link here).

Smith, V. (2022). Ordets Magt: Sådan sætter man dagsordenen med ’de rigtige’ ord. Videnskab.dk, 2. aug. 2022 (link here).  

Smith, V. (2021). Mærkning set og følt af levende mennesker: Hvordan påvirkes forbrugerne af anprisninger, farver, billeder og symboler i købssituationen? Merfa Årsmøde. Teknologisk Institut, november 2021.

Smith, V. (2019). Legal versus psychological grey zones in the assessment of fair food labelling. Nordic Seminar on Misleading Food Labelling, Copenhagen, November 2019. Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

Smith, V. (2019). Fair snak på fødevareemballager: Ikke-vildledende mærkning af fødevarer … også ud over lovens krav? Workshop, Varefakta, maj 2019.

Smith, V. (2018). Hvad blev der af smags- og spiseoplevelsen på danske fødevareemballager (og i net-butikken)? – og kan der laves om på det. [Møde i Danske Havne med deltagelse af CBS, DTU, Dansk Sprognævn, Hanstholm Havn, Fish Lab og Public Affairs Group. Danske Havne, København, Danmark, april 2018].

Smith, V. (2019) Ikke-vildledende mærkning af fødevarer …også ud over lovens krav?. Workshop at Varefakta, May 2019.

Forbrugerrådet Tænk & FairSpeak-Gruppen (2015). Fair snak på fødevareemballage: 11 dogmer til fødevareproducenter og butikker for kommunikation via fødevareemballager. URL: http://dokumentation.taenk.dk/dokumentation/taler-og-indlaeg/fair-snak-paa-foedevareemballage

Smith, V., Selsøe Sørensen, H., Clement, J., & Møgelvang-Hansen, P. (2015). Fair snak på fødevareemballager: 84 fairnesspreincipper. Copenhagen: Ex Tuto.

Clement, J., Selsøe Sørensen, H. & Smith, V. (2010). SMV-rapport: Ærlig kommunikation gennem innovativ design af emballage til nye fødevarer. Copenhagen: FairSpeak.

Smith, V. Ohm Søndergaard, M., Clement, J., Møgelvang-Hansen, P., Selsøe Sørensen, H., & Gabrielsen, G. (2009).  Fair Speak : Scenarier for vildledning på det danske fødevaremarked. Copenhagen: Ex Tuto.

Publications sorted by:
Viktor Smith; Maximilian Block / Naming and Framing a Marginal Tourism Destination Close to an Urban Tourism Hub : The Case of Campina de Faro.
Abstract from 62nd ERSA Congress, 2023
Conference abstract for conference > peer review
Viktor Smith; Maximilian Block / Naming, Framing, and Finding Campina de Faro : Report From a Pilot Study.
Paper presented at COG Seminar, 2023
Paper > peer review
Carsten Humlebæk; Viktor Smith; Caroline Agha Raad; Maximilian Block; Livia Gavelli / Mid-term Plan for the Impact, Evaluation and Exploitation of Results
Granada : Incultum 2022, 23 p. (INCULTUM Project Deliverables, No. D7.2)
Report > peer review
Viktor Smith; Daniel Barratt; Peter Møgelvang-Hansen; Alexander U. Wedel Andersen / Misleading Marketing Communication : Assessing the Impact of Potentially Deceptive Food Labelling on Consumer Behaviour.
Cham : Palgrave Macmillan 2022, 164 p.
Book > peer review
Maximilian Block; Carsten Humlebæk; Sarah Mariane Qwarnström; Caroline Agha Raad; Viktor Smith / Visiting the Margins : Innovative Cultural Tourism in European Peripheries: Stakeholder map.
Granada : Incultum 2022, 32 p. (INCULTUM Project Deliverables, No. D7.1)
Report > peer review
Viktor Smith / Naming and Framing : Understanding the Power of Words across Disciplines, Domains, and Modalities.
New York : Routledge 2021, 109 p. (Routledge Studies in Multimodality)
Book > peer review
Viktor Smith; Daniel Barratt / Varefakta-mærket fra forbrugertillid til købsbeslutning. : Diagnostisk eyetracking-test af forbrugeres inddragelse af Varefakta-mærket i købsbeslutninger under simuleret e-handel.
København : Copenhagen Business School, CBS 2020, 29 p.
Viktor Smith / Hvad blev der af smags- og spiseoplevelsen på danske fødevareemballager (og i net-butikken)? - og kan der laves om på det
Poster session presented at Fælles IFD-projektansøgning, 2018, 18 p.
Viktor Smith / Naming and Framing : Understanding the Power of Words.
Paper presented at Ordenes magt og konsekvenser for samfund, politik og business, 2018
Viktor Smith / Taste the Difference – and Say It! : The Role of Sensory Language in the Multimodal Semiotic Cocktails of Food Labelling and Web-store Presentations.
Paper presented at Branding Nations, Products, and Sensory Experiences, 2018
Paper > peer review
More results... (total 66 results)
Academic Interests

Business in Society, Private-Public collaboration in practice, Responsible Communication, Multimodal Communication, Cognitive Semiotics.

Also occasional consulting, lecturing, training, etc. for external stakeholders in line with my academic interests.

Research Projects
Outside activities

Currently no outside activities