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  • Mickelsson, Jacob (Hanken School of Economics, 2009-12-02)
    Activity systems are the cognitively linked groups of activities that consumers carry out as a part of their daily life. The aim of this paper is to investigate how consumers experience value through their activities, and how services fit into the context of activity systems. A new technique for illustrating consumers’ activity systems is introduced. The technique consists of identifying a consumer’s activities through an interview, then quantitatively measuring how the consumer evaluates the identified activities on three dimensions: Experienced benefits, sacrifices and frequency. This information is used to create a graphical representation of the consumer’s activity system, an “activityscape map”. Activity systems work as infrastructure for the individual consumer’s value experience. The paper contributes to value and service literature, where there currently are no clearly described standardized techniques for visually mapping out individual consumer activity. Existing approaches are service- or relationship focused, and are mostly used to identify activities, not to understand them. The activityscape representation provides an overview of consumers’ perceptions of their activity patterns and the position of one or several services in this pattern. Comparing different consumers’ activityscapes, it shows the differences between consumers' activity structures, and provides insight into how services are used to create value within them. The paper is conceptual; an empirical illustration is used to indicate the potential in further empirical studies. The technique can be used by businesses to understand contexts for service use, which may uncover potential for business reconfiguration and customer segmentation.
  • Mickelsson, Jacob (2009-11-24)
    Activity systems are the cognitively linked groups of activities that consumers carry out as a part of their daily life. The aim of this paper is to investigate how consumers experience value through their activities, and how services fit into the context of activity systems. A new technique for illustrating consumers’ activity systems is introduced. The technique consists of identifying a consumer’s activities through an interview, then quantitatively measuring how the consumer evaluates the identified activities on three dimensions: Experienced benefits, sacrifices and frequency. This information is used to create a graphical representation of the consumer’s activity system, an “activityscape map”. Activity systems work as infrastructure for the individual consumer’s value experience. The paper contributes to value and service literature, where there currently are no clearly described standardized techniques for visually mapping out individual consumer activity. Existing approaches are service- or relationship focused, and are mostly used to identify activities, not to understand them. The activityscape representation provides an overview of consumers’ perceptions of their activity patterns and the position of one or several services in this pattern. Comparing different consumers’ activityscapes, it shows the differences between consumers' activity structures, and provides insight into how services are used to create value within them. The paper is conceptual; an empirical illustration is used to indicate the potential in further empirical studies. The technique can be used by businesses to understand contexts for service use, which may uncover potential for business reconfiguration and customer segmentation.
  • Hampf, Anders; Lindberg-Repo, Kirsti (Hanken School of Economics, 2011-06-14)
    Branding, as any other concept, has evolved over time: from the days when sheep of one herd started to be branded to distinguish them from another herd to the current era when everything, from water and flowers to clothes and food, is branded. Throughout these times, there have been numerous theories to describe and understand the underlying nuances. This paper finds the relationships in previous literature and reveals how these theories see branding from various perspectives and how they can be integrated to form a coherent view. It is also discussed how branding and society affect each other. Based on the knowledge of how branding theories have been developed as dependent variables of each other and the society, we are able to form a better understanding of the past, the present, and the future of branding.
  • Vilppo, Tiina; Lindberg-Repo, Kirsti (Hanken School of Economics, 2011-06-14)
    Purpose – This research paper studies how the strategy of repositioning enables marketers to communicate CSR as their brand’s differentiating factor. It aims at understanding how consumer perceptions can be managed to generate brand value through corporate brand repositioning when CSR is the differentiating factor. The purpose of this paper is to answer the following research question: How can consumer perceptions be managed to generate brand value through corporate brand repositioning when CSR is the differentiating factor? The two research objectives were: 1. to build a model, which describes the different components of consumer perceptions involved in generation of brand value through repositioning when CSR is the differentiating factor, 2. to identify the most critical components in the context of the case company, IKEA for generation of brand value during the process of corporate brand repositioning Design/methodology/approach – This paper is based on the literature review covering the logic of brand value generation, repositioning strategy and consumer perceptions connected to CSR activities. A key concept of the positioning theory, the brand’s differentiating factor, was explored. Previous studies have concluded that desirability of the differentiating factor largely determines the level of brand value-creation for the target customers. The criterion of desirability is based on three dimensions: relevance, distinctiveness and believability. A model was built in terms of these desirability dimensions. This paper takes a case study approach where the predefined theoretical framework is tested using IKEA as the case company. When developing insights on the multifaceted nature of brand perceptions, personal interviews and individual probing are vital. They enable the interviewees to reflect on their feelings and perceptions with their own words. This is why the data collection was based on means-end type of questioning. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 consumers. Findings – The paper highlights five critical components that may determine whether IKEA will fail in its repositioning efforts. The majority of the critical components involved believability perceptions. Hence, according to the findings, establishing credibility and trustworthiness for the brand in the context of CSR seems primary. The most critical components identified of the believability aspect were: providing proof of responsible codes of conduct via conducting specific and concrete CSR actions, connecting the company’s products and the social cause, and building a linkage between the initial and new positioning while also weakening the old positioning. Originality/value – Marketers’ obligation is to prepare the company for future demands. Companies all over the globe have recognized the durable trend of responsibility and sustainability. Consumer´s worry about the environmental and social impact of modern lifestyles is growing. This is why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provides brands an important source of differentiation and strength in the future. The strategy of repositioning enables marketers to communicate CSR as their brand’s differentiating factor. This study aimed at understanding how consumer perceptions can be managed to generate brand value through corporate brand repositioning when CSR is the differentiating factor.
  • Voima, Päivi (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2000)
    Critical incidents have had an important role in service quality and service management research. The focus of critical-incident studies has gradually shifted from separate acts and episodes towards relationships, and even switching from one relationship to another. The Critical Incident Technique has mainly been used when studying the service sector, concentrating on the customer's perception of critical incidents. Although some studies have considered the perceptions of employees important, critical incidents have not been considered a tool for studying internal relationships to any larger extent. This paper takes a process approach and shifts the focus from an external to an internal setting. It puts forward a new technique for analysing internal relationships from a critical-incident perspective. The technique captures the dynamism in relationships through considering internal critical incidents as micro-processes affecting not only internal but also external relationships.
  • Ojasalo, Jukka (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2000)
    What is the nature of customer commitment in business-to-business relationships and what are its antecedents? What Key Account Management practices help to build customer commitment? Commitment is an important element of Key Account Management since customer relationships are built upon a the foundation of commitment. Building long-term key account relationships occurs by enhancing and maintaining their commitment. Customer commitment has various antecedents, and managing commitment involves focusing on these antecedents. This paper explains the nature of commitment and describes its antecedents. It also suggests how to manage each of these antecedents to strengthen customer commitment.
  • Heinonen, Kristina; Mickelsson, Jakob; Strandvik, Tore (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2010-08-09)
    All companies have a portfolio of customer relationships. From a managerial standpoint the value of these customer relationships is a key issue. The aim of the paper is to introduce a conceptual framework for customers’ energy towards a service provider. Customer energy is defined as the cognitive, affective and behavioural effort a customer puts into the purchase of an offering. It is based on two dimensions: life theme involvement and relationship commitment. Data from a survey study of 425 customers of an online gambling site was combined with data about their individual purchases and activity. Analysis showed that involvement and commitment influence both customer behaviour and attitudes. Customer involvement was found to be strongly related to overall spending within a consumption area, whereas relationship commitment is a better predictor of the amount of money spent at a particular company. Dividing the customers into four different involvement / commitment segments revealed differences in churn rates, word-of-mouth, brand attitude, switching propensity and the use of the service for socializing. The framework provides a tool for customer management by revealing differences in fundamental drivers of customer behaviour resulting in completely new customer portfolios. Knowledge of customer energy allows companies to manage their communication and offering development better and provides insight into the risk of losing a customer.
  • Strandvik, Tore; Holmlund, Maria; Edvardsson, Bo (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2008-04-30)
    Views on industrial service have conceptually progressed from the output of the provider’s production process to the result of an interaction process in which the customer also is involved. Although there are attempts to be customer-oriented, especially when the focus is on solutions, an industrial company’s offering combining goods and services is inherently seller-oriented. There is, however, a need to go beyond the current literature and company practices. We propose that what is needed is a genuinely customer-based parallel concept to offering that takes the customer’s view and put forward a new concept labelled customer needing. A needing is based on the customer’s mental model of their business and strategies which will affect priorities, decisions, and actions. A needing can be modelled as a configuration of three dimensions containing six functions that create realised value for the customer. These dimensions and functions can be used to describe needings which represent starting points for sellers’ creation of successful offerings. When offerings match needings over time the seller should have the potential to form and sustain successful buyer relationships.
  • Strandvik, Tore; Holmlund, Maria (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2000)
    Our paper can be seen as a supplement to Halinen-Kaila and Tähtinen' s (2000) review of different direct research approaches on the ending of exchange relationships. Our purpose is to illuminate the borderline between research explicitly focusing on ending and research implicitly considering ending of relationships. Another purpose is to give an overview of how researchers within the Nordic School of Service Management and Nordic School of Relationship Marketing have approached customer relationship ending. A third purpose is to put forward a managerial perspective and managerial issues related to relationship ending. Finally we present some conclusions regarding further research avenues concerning relationship ending.
  • Voima, Päivi; Heinonen, Kristina; Strandvik, Tore (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2010-08-04)
    This paper extends current discussions about value creation and proposes a customer dominant value perspective. A customer-dominant marketing logic positions the customer in the center, rather than the service provider/producer or the interaction or the system. The focus is shifted from the company´s service processes involving the customer, to the customer´s multi-contextual value formation, involving the company. It is argued that value is not always an active process of creation; instead value is embedded and formed in the highly dynamic and multi-contextual reality and life of the customer. This leads to a need to look beyond the current line of visibility where visible customer-company interactions are focused to the invisible and mental life of the customer. From this follows a need to extend the temporal scope, from exchange and use even further to accumulated experiences in the customer´s life. The aim of this paper is to explore value formation from a customer dominant logic perspective. This is done in three steps: first, value formation is contrasted to earlier views on the company’s role in value creation by using a broad ontologically driven framework discussing what, how, when, where and who. Next, implications of the proposed characteristics of value formation compared to earlier approaches are put forward. Finally, some tentative suggestions of how this perspective would affect marketing in service companies are presented. As value formation in a CDL perspective has a different focus and scope than earlier views on value it leads to posing questions about the customer that reveals earlier hidden aspects of the role of a service for the customer. This insight might be used in service development and innovation.
  • Wägar, Karolina; Björk, Peter; Ravald, Annika; West, Björn (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2007-10-17)
    Purpose - The purpose of the paper is to explore the practice of marketing in micro firms. Which are the challenges micro firms encounter and how do they handle them? Methodology - The research methodology is based on the theory-in-use approach (Zaltman, Heffring & LeMasters 1982) in order to inductively explore the practice of marketing in micro firms. The empirical findings rest on ten case studies, where data has been generated through repeated interactions with each case. Findings - The empirical findings show that micro firms handle their marketing challenges in a distinctive manner, by creatively using available resources and network relations. Marketing in micro firms is largely about a long-term, gradual development of a position on the market. This process we label germinal marketing. Two key dimensions of germinal marketing were identified: “earning your position” and “being your brand”. Research limitations and implications - The findings rest on an explorative study consisting of ten cases and the general applicability of the results need to be validated by further studies. These cases are however sufficient to illuminate the need for further research into the area. Value of the paper - The value of the paper is twofold. First, it expands the theory-in-use approach, and presents a research method for successful inductive empirical studies of small firm phenomena. Secondly, the paper widens our understanding of the marketing reality and practice of micro firms, identifying new dimensions of marketing and revealing the strategic implications of ordinary business activities.
  • Snellman, Kaisa (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2000)
    The purpose of this study was to deepen the understanding of market segmentation theory by studying the evolution of the concept and by identifying the antecedents and consequences of the theory. The research method was influenced by content analysis and meta-analysis. The evolution of market segmentation theory was studied as a reflection of evolution of marketing theory. According to this study, the theory of market segmentation has its roots in microeconomics and it has been influenced by different disciplines, such as motivation research and buyer behaviour theory. Furthermore, this study suggests that the evolution of market segmentation theory can be divided into four major eras: the era of foundations, development and blossoming, stillness and stagnation, and the era of re-emergence. Market segmentation theory emerged in the mid-1950’s and flourished during the period between mid-1950’s and the late 1970’s. During the 1980’s the theory lost its interest in the scientific community and no significant contributions were made. Now, towards the dawn of the new millennium, new approaches have emerged and market segmentation has gained new attention.
  • Kauppinen-Räisänen, Hannele; Grönroos, Christian; Gummerus, Johanna (2009-11-26)
    Scholarly research has produced conceptual knowledge that is based on real-life marketing phenomena. An initial aim of past research has been to produce marketing knowledge as a base for efficient business operation and for the improvement of productivity. Thus, an assumption has been that the knowledge would be applied by organisations. This study focuses on understanding the use of marketing knowledge within the field of service marketing. Hence, even if marketing knowledge about service-oriented principles and marketing of services is based on empirical research, there is a lack of knowledge on how this marketing knowledge is in fact applied by businesses. The study focuses on four essential concepts of services marketing knowledge, namely service quality, servicescape, internal marketing, and augmented service offering. The research involves four case companies. Data is based on in depth interviews and questionnaire-based surveys conducted with managers, employees, and customers of these companies. All organisations were currently developing in a service-oriented and customer-oriented direction. However, we found limitations, gaps, and barriers for the implementation of service-oriented and customer-oriented principles. Hence, we argue that the organisations involved in the study exploited conceptual knowledge symbolically and conceptually, but the instrumental use of knowledge was limited. Due to the shortcomings found, we also argue that the implementation of the various practices and processes that are related to becoming service-oriented and customer-oriented has not been fully successful. Further, we have come to the conclusion that the shortcomings detected were at least in some respect related to the fact that the understanding and utilisation of conceptual knowledge of service-oriented principles and marketing of services were somewhat limited.
  • Ojasalo, Jukka (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2000)
    What are the main elements of successful Key Account Management (KAM)? What is the nature of quality for the company and for the individual in business-to-business relationships? What kind of managerial practices are required at the company and individual level in Key Account Management? This paper focuses on these central aspects of KAM. It describes the main elements of KAM, which is a systematic marketing management approach in the business-to-business context with the objective to build profitable and long-lasting relationships with major accounts. Although paying customers in the business-to-business market are organizations, they are always represented by individuals. Thus, successful KAM requires appropriate handling of both the organizational and the individual levels. This paper describes the nature of quality for the company and for the individual in business-to-business relationships. As a synthesis, this paper suggests a framework for KAM practices deploying the main elements of KAM and the company and individual levels of business-to-business relationships. The weakness of the traditional quality management approach is that it pays little, if any, attention to customer importance. By providing similar quality to each customer, more important customers are penalized and less important customers are rewarded. This paper broadens the traditional quality management approach by introducing the concept of targeted quality based on customer importance.
  • Roos, Inger (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2000)
    Denna artikel diskuterar den metodutveckling inom marknadsföring som baseras på den allmänt och mycket frekvent använda kritisk-händelse metod som grundar sig på Flanagen (1954). Genom att forskningen inom nämnda område alltmer handlar om kundrelationer är det naturligt att även metoder som används anpassas till detta. Det finns emellertid flere frågetecken när man fokuserar på kritiska händelser och kundrelationer. Ett sådant är konsekvensen av den kritiska händelsen. Utan att kartlägga en verklig konsekvens av kritiska händelser som inträffat (verkligt beteende) är det emellertid svårt att utveckla metoder för framtida och kommande beteende. Därför diskuteras dessa frågor här i avsikt att föra utvecklingen mot en applicering av kritisk-händelse metoder i pågående kundrelationer.
  • Björk, Peter (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2000)
    Kundklubbar och lojalitetsprogram, marknadsföringsåtgärder som snabbt anammats inom de flesta branscher, utgör strategiska och taktiska åtaganden som direkt stöder en relationsmarknadsföringsansats i företag. Turistbranschen är inget undantag och idag ser vi hur även researrangörer utvecklat egna kundklubbar. Den frekvens med vilken finländska turister köper paketresor till "södern" per år ligger långt från den frekvens med vilken affärsresenärerna utnyttjar flygbolagens lojalitetsprogram. Trots det finns det ingen diskussion som belyser frågan hur väl relationsmarknadsföringsteorier utvecklade för marknader med hög köpfrekvens (flygbolagens lojalitetsprogram) är användbara på marknader där köpfrekvensen är lägre (t.ex. researrangörsbranschen). I denna artikel sammankopplas relationsmarknadsföringsteorier med teorier om lojalitetsprogram och kundklubbar. Artikeln syftar till att fördjupa förståelsen för lojalitetsprogrammens och kundklubbarnas relevans i en relationsmarknadsföringsansats. Ur diskussionen härleds forskningsfrågor som kan användas för att identifiera nya centrala forskningsområden. Artikeln fokuserar på den forskning som finner sin empiriska förankring i turistbranschen.
  • Grönroos, Christian; Voima, Päivi (Hanken School of Economics, 2012-01-18)
    In order to further develop the logic of service, value creation, value co-creation and value have to be formally and rigorously defined, so that the nature, content and locus of value and the roles of service providers and customers in value creation can be unambiguously assessed. In the present article, following the underpinning logic of value-in-use, it is demonstrated that in order to achieve this, value creation is best defined as the customer’s creation of value-in-use. The analysis shows that the firm’s and customer’s processes and activities can be divided into a provider sphere, closed for the customer, and a customer sphere, closed for the firm. Value creation occurs in the customer sphere, whereas firms in the provider sphere facilitate value creation by producing resources and processes which represent potential value or expected value-in use for their customers. By getting access to the closed customer sphere, firms can create a joint value sphere and engage in customers’ value creation as co-creators of value with them. This approach establishes a theoretically sound foundation for understanding value creation in service logic, and enables meaningful managerial implications, for example as to what is required for co-creation of value, and also further theoretical elaborations.
  • Grönroos, Christian; Ravald, Annika (Hanken School of Economics, 2009-08-28)
    The discussion of a service-dominant logic has made the findings of decades of service marketing research a topic of interest for marketing at large. Some fundamental aspects of the logic such as value creation and its marketing implications are more complex than they have been treated as so far and need to be further developed to serve marketing theory and practice well. Following the analysis in the present article it is argued that although customers are co-producers in service processes, according to the value-in-use notion adopted in the contemporary marketing and management literature they are fundamentally the creators of value for themselves. Furthermore, it is concluded that although by providing goods and services as input resources into customers’ consumption and value-generating processes firms are fundamentally value facilitators, interactions with customers that exist or can be created enable firms to engage themselves with their customers’ processes and thereby they become co-creators of value with their customers. As marketing implications it is observed that 1) the goal of marketing is to support customers’ value creation, 2) following a service logic and due to the existence of interactions where the firm’s and the customer’s processes merge into an integrated joint value creation process, the firm is not restricted to making value propositions only, but can directly and actively influence the customer’s value fulfilment as well and extend its marketing process to include activities during customer-firm interactions, and 3) although all goods and services are consumed as service, customers’ purchasing decisions can be expected to be dependant of whether they have the skills and interest to use a resource, such as a good, as service or want to buy extended market offerings including process-related elements. Finally, the analysis concludes with five service logic theses.
  • Helle, Pekka (2011-01-05)
    There is an urgent interest in marketing to move away from neo-classical value definitions suggesting that value creation is a process of exchanging goods for money. In the present paper, value creation is conceptualized as an integration of two distinct, yet closely coupled processes. First, actors co-create what this paper calls an underlying basis of value. This is done by interactively re-configuring resources. By relating and combining resources, activity sets, and risks across actor boundaries in novel ways actors create joint productivity gains – a concept very similar to density (Normann, 2001). Second, actors engage in a process of signification and evaluation. Signification implies co-constructing the meaning and worth of joint productivity gains co-created through interactive resource re-configuration, as well as sharing those gains through a pricing mechanism as value to involved actors. The conceptual framework highlights an all-important dynamics associated with ´value creation´ and ´value´ - a dynamics the paper claims has eluded past marketing research. The paper argues that the framework presented here is appropriate for the interactive service perspective, where value and value creation are not objectively given, but depend on the power of involved actors´ socially constructed frames to mobilize resources across actor boundaries in ways that ´enhance system well-being´ (Vargo et al., 2008). The paper contributes to research on Service Logic, Service-Dominant Logic, and Service Science.
  • Heinonen, Kristina; Strandvik, Tore; Mickelsson, Karl-Jacob; Edvardsson, Bo; Sundström, Erik; Andersson, Per (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2009-12-29)
    Purpose –This paper explores and expands the roles of customers and companies in creating value by introducing a new a customer-based approach to service. The customer’s logic is examined as being the foundation of a customer-based marketing and business logic. Design/methodology/approach – The authors argue that both goods-dominant logics and service-dominant logics are provider-dominant. Contrasting the customer-dominant logic with provider-dominant logics, the paper examines the creation of service value from the perspectives of value-in-use, the customer’s own context, and the customer’s experience of service. Findings –Moving from a provider-dominant logic to a customer-dominant logic uncovered five major challenges to service marketers: Company involvement, company control in co-creation, visibility of value creation, locus of customer experience, and character of customer experience. Research limitations/implications – The paper is exploratory. It presents and discusses a conceptual model and suggests implications for research and practice. Practical implications –Awareness of the mechanisms of customer logic will provide businesses with new perspectives on the role of the company in their customer’s lives. We propose that understanding the customer’s logic should represent the starting-point for the marketer’s business logic. Originality/value – The paper increases the understanding of how the customer’s logic underpins the customer-dominant business logic. By exploring consequences of applying a customer-dominant logic, we suggest further directions for theoretical and empirical research.