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Article

Tiina-Kaisa Kuuru and Elina Närvänen

This paper aims to study the embodied nature of service employees’ work in human touch contexts.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study the embodied nature of service employees’ work in human touch contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts the practice theory as its interpretive approach, using focus group interviews with service employees from different industries.

Findings

The study identifies four practice bundles related to the embodied dimension of service employees’ work: orienting, attuning, connecting and wrapping up. The findings illustrate how employees’ knowledge, skills and capabilities are used via the body.

Practical implications

The study provides guidance for managers to use an embodied perspective in the management of service employees.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the discussion on embodiment in service encounters by highlighting the embodied nature of service employees’ work.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

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Article

Sonja Lahtinen and Elina Närvänen

The purpose of this research is to explore how consumers co-create sustainable corporate brands (SCBs) by framing brands with a newly adopted sustainability orientation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to explore how consumers co-create sustainable corporate brands (SCBs) by framing brands with a newly adopted sustainability orientation.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative data were generated from four focus groups consisting of altogether 25 Finnish millennial consumers. The data were analysed using thematic analysis, and the resulting themes were classified as different framings.

Findings

The findings indicate three ways of framing SCBs: as signs of corporate hypocrite, as threats that increase societal fragmentation and as signs of corporate enlightenment. These framings are based on two components: the perceived attributes and activities of the corporate brand.

Practical implications

The role of corporate brands is expanding from the business sphere towards actively influencing society. Yet, sustainability activities can be risky if consumers, as primary stakeholders, deem them unacceptable, unethical or untrustworthy. This research supports brand managers to succeed in co-creating SCBs as contributors to societal and environmental well-being, at a time when multiple stakeholders consider this a worthwhile endeavour.

Originality/value

The theoretical contribution is twofold: firstly, the paper extends the sustainable corporate branding literature by demonstrating how SCBs are co-created through an interactive framing process between the corporation and primary stakeholders, and, secondly, it contributes to the constitutive approach to corporate social responsibility communication (CSRC) research by showing how millennial consumers frame corporate brands that communicate corporations' newly adopted sustainability orientation.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Content available
Article

Elina Närvänen, Hannu Kuusela, Heli Paavola and Noora Sirola

This paper's purpose is to develop a meaning-based framework for customer loyalty by examining how consumers make sense of customer loyalty through meanings and metaphors.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper's purpose is to develop a meaning-based framework for customer loyalty by examining how consumers make sense of customer loyalty through meanings and metaphors.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study based on in-depth interviews and focus group data in the retail context was conducted with Finnish customers. The data were analysed with qualitative data analysis techniques such as the constant comparative technique.

Findings

The empirical findings comprise eight loyalty meanings characterised by two dimensions. The first dimension is reflexive vs. routinised, and the second dimension is private vs. social. The loyalty types are dimensionalised through four metaphors: loyalty as freedom of choice; as being conventional and binding; and as belongingness.

Practical implications

The findings improve the way customer loyalty currently is understood in the retail setting. The paper proposes that customer insight that utilises thick data can be used to grasp loyalty meanings. These data are rich in context and detail, and they take into account customers' everyday lives. Utilising thick data in the form of storytelling fuels customers' meaning-making related to customer loyalty, potentially enriching their relationship with the retailer.

Originality/value

Customer loyalty has been driven largely by a transactional and company-centric perspective. This article presents an alternative view of customer loyalty that accounts for the variety of meanings that customers may assign to their loyalty-related thoughts and behaviours.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 48 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

Keywords

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Article

Elina Närvänen and Christina Goulding

The purpose of the paper is to build a sociocultural perspective of brand revitalization. Maintaining brands and bringing them back to life in the market has received much…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to build a sociocultural perspective of brand revitalization. Maintaining brands and bringing them back to life in the market has received much less interest than their creation. Moreover, the existing literature is dominated by the marketing management paradigm where the company’s role is emphasized. This paper addresses the phenomenon of brand revitalization from a sociocultural perspective and examines the role of consumer collectives in the process.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a data-driven approach, the study builds on the case of a consumer brand of footwear that has risen to unprecedented popularity without traditional marketing campaigns. Data were generated using an inductive theory building approach utilizing multiple methods, including interviews, participant observation and cultural materials.

Findings

The paper presents a conceptual model of cultural brand revitalization that has four stages: sleeping brand, spontaneous appropriation, diffusion and convergence.

Practical implications

Implications for companies in consumer markets are discussed, suggesting ways to facilitate the process of sociocultural brand revitalization.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature first by offering a sociocultural brand revitalization scenario that highlights the interplay between the actions of consumers and the company, second, by examining the interaction between the symbolic meanings associated with the brand and the practices used by consumers and, third, by offering insights into the relevance of national identity in creating brand meaning.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 50 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article

Evert Gummesson, Hannu Kuusela and Elina Närvänen

– The purpose of this paper is to propose that the recasting of supplier and customer roles reconfigures the role of marketing.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose that the recasting of supplier and customer roles reconfigures the role of marketing.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual paper that suggests the need to rethink the role of marketing in the strategic decision making of companies. The study accesses recent theories of marketing, service and value and provides illustrative case examples.

Findings

Consumers are progressively more active and the traditional supplier role of controlling consumers is less viable. The case examples show the variety of ways in which companies may adopt a new role in relation to customers and the market. The paper argues that adapting to this role change needs to take place at the highest level in the company and is the way to reinvent marketing strategy. This also necessitates marketing employing unconventional methodologies and relevant theory to address the complexity and ambiguity of current markets.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is a conceptual paper restricted to supplier and customer roles, albeit set in a broader context of stakeholders.

Practical implications

The marketing-oriented supplier of the future can design service systems and exert a certain control at the same time adapting to and supporting consumer initiatives through interaction in networks of stakeholder relationships.

Originality/value

Stressing the new roles of consumers and suppliers; reinventing the role of marketing, breaking with conventional marketing research methodology.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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Article

Hannu Kuusela, Elina Närvänen, Hannu Saarijärvi and Mika Yrjölä

– The purpose of the article is to identify and analyze the challenges of business-to-business (B2B) research relevance from the point of view of top executives.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the article is to identify and analyze the challenges of business-to-business (B2B) research relevance from the point of view of top executives.

Design/methodology/approach

Ten in-depth interviews with top executives from different B2B industries were conducted and analyzed by using Arndt’s (1985) elements of a healthy discipline, i.e. knowledge, problems and instruments.

Findings

The findings reveal 12 challenges that characterize contemporary B2B research relevance from a top executive perspective.

Research limitations/implications

The research offers genuine top executive insight. More research from different perspectives is needed to broaden the understanding of B2B research relevance.

Originality/value

Reflecting B2B research with the identified challenges can contribute to better research designs, narrowing the gap between B2B scholars and practitioners. Altogether, it contributes to the health of the B2B discipline. The study also introduces a new approach to analyzing research relevance by using the elements of scientific balance.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 29 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article

Kari Neilimo, Hannu Kuusela, Elina Närvänen and Hannu Saarijärvi

The vision should ignite and facilitate strategic change as well as help a company to transform and reinvent itself in the face of competition. Too often executives use…

Abstract

Purpose

The vision should ignite and facilitate strategic change as well as help a company to transform and reinvent itself in the face of competition. Too often executives use vision as a mere slogan without real relevance. The purpose of this study is to show how the vision guides strategic change.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study from a successful multi-format, multi-industry service business is used to illustrate the role of vision in strategic change management.

Findings

The article illustrates how the vision was used in practice in guiding the strategic transformation process of the case organization. The study presents four focal tasks of the vision and concludes with five practical guidelines for executives.

Originality/value

The article highlights the role of vision as an important tool for managing strategic change.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 43 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Keywords

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Article

Hannu Saarijärvi, Hannu Kuusela, Kari Neilimo and Elina Närvänen

Despite the fact that customer orientation is increasingly used as a strategic guideline to ensure companies’ long-term success, it is too often left at conceptual level…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the fact that customer orientation is increasingly used as a strategic guideline to ensure companies’ long-term success, it is too often left at conceptual level without any managerial or executive translation. To address this practical gap, the purpose of the paper is to build an executive perspective on customer orientation through the mechanism of customer value dimensions.

Design/methodology/approach

An intensive case study from a successful retail service business is used to illustrate how customer orientation is applied in actual strategic decision making at the executive level. The case business is a multi-sector service business that took a strategic turn toward customer orientation in the 2000s. As a result, the company has been able to increase their market share to become the market leader as well as stay ahead of the competition and increase customer loyalty.

Findings

The study provides a practical tool of disentangling customer orientation into four customer value dimensions and linking them with appropriate executive level strategic decision making.

Practical implications

The study helps executives uncover the inner meaning of customer orientation, move beyond traditional conceptualization of customer orientation, and adopt customer value orientation. This necessitates not only understanding customer value criteria, but also linking the diverse criteria to executive level strategic decision making.

Originality/value

The study concretizes and uncovers how customer orientation can be implemented by incorporating both economic, functional, emotional, and symbolic customer value dimensions into executive level strategic decision making.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

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Article

Elina Närvänen, Evert Gummesson and Hannu Kuusela

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a network perspective to the study of collective consumption. The authors examine the characteristics of heterogeneous…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a network perspective to the study of collective consumption. The authors examine the characteristics of heterogeneous consumption collectives formed around a Finnish footwear brand. The case is both theoretically and practically relevant. It differs from previous research by featuring consumer grassroot activities, face-to-face interaction and strong pre-existing social relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative case study research was conducted with different methods of data generation including interviews, participant observation and cultural materials such as newspaper articles and photos.

Findings

A new concept of collective consumption network is introduced. Five kinds of consumption collectives are identified, including place focussed, brand focussed, activity focussed, idea focussed and social relations focussed consumption collectives. The strength of ties as well as the role of the brand varies within the collectives.

Practical implications

Suppliers should find an appropriate network position, where they can enable and support shared value creation. Developing skills to identify and cultivate weak links as well as mobilize resources are important.

Originality/value

The findings illustrate the heterogeneity and complexity of collective consumption. In particular, the paper discusses the way self-organizing and emergent consumption collectives and the supplier interact and integrate resources within the network.

Details

Managing Service Quality, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 43 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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