• Julie Drustrup Larsen
The thesis has its origin in my internship at Aalborg Congress and Culture Centre (ACCC), where I worked in the communications department for six months in the fall of 2008. When I first became interested in the Centre and wanted to apply for an internship, I did what many others would do, I googled them. I expected to find a sparkling, interesting and engaging website as this was the image I had of ACCC in my mind. To my disappointment, these expectations were not met. I found the website to be dull and uneventful, which to me was the exact opposite of my personal experience of ACCC. This discrepancy sparked my interest and became the starting point for my work. During my internship the process of creating a new website began, and I was involved in doing research for the project, which among other things entailed different kinds of user-centred research. At the end of my six months I decided to continue the project. By then it was clear to me, that the two focal points are to create a website that embodies ACCC in a more credible and accurate way and that meets the expectations of the consumers today. In the early years of marketing and advertising, consumers were considered to be passive recipients of a message created by the marketing department of a company. The company set the tone. Times have change, and now consumers are becoming co-creators in the communication process. It is the age of experience economy, word of mouth, online networking and user-controlled communication. Consumers today are active, critical consumers who talk to each other and expect to be entertained, just as I did, when I first visited the ACCC website. Some theorists say that the experience, the word of mouth and the communication is created solely by the consumers. This thesis argues that the company is still an important and active part of the communication as well. It also argues that in order to become an active part, companies need adapt and respond to the demands and expectations of the active consumers. This will help them gain acceptance and respect, and be heard in a world where possibilities are countless and the information overload is massive. On that basis, the purpose of this master’s thesis is to investigate how ACCC can incorporate experience economy and word of mouth marketing into their new website while taking the active consumer into account. In order to investigate this, the thesis will consist of both theoretical and empirical studies. My theoretical studies will contain two parts, which will be combined in the process of the analysis. The first part deals with experience economy and includes discussion and reflections of both earlier work such as Rolf Jensens The Dream Society and Pine and Gilmores The Experience Economy as well as more recent articles from the books Oplevelsesøkonomi. Vinkler på forbrug and Oplevelsesøkonomi -produktion, forbrug, kultur among others. The second part of the theoretical investigation focuses on different theoretical approaches to word of mouth marketing and discusses theories primarily from George Silverman, Andy Sernovitz, Kelly Lois and Emanuel Rosen. The empirical studies contain a large questionnaire survey, observations from six usability tests and four focus groups, which in all gives a large amount of data concerning the active consumers, their behaviour, needs, wants and wishes. The studies also include an investigation into ACCC, their organisation, working habits and traditions which show the internal challenges involved in incorporating experience economy and word of mouth marketing into the company website. The theoretical and empirical findings will be combined in an analytical discussion, which will include the role of both ACCC and the consumer in the process as well as the combination of the two theoretical points of view regarding subjects such as experience design, branding and different kinds of experiences on the website as well as storytelling and consumer expectations. By combining word of mouth marketing and experience economy in accordance with the consumers’ expectations, needs, wishes etc., this thesis will achieve an understanding and increased knowledge about how a company can become an active player in the user-centred communication world of today.
SprogDansk
Udgivelsesdato2009
Antal sider80
Udgivende institutionAAU
ID: 17989003