Defence and trial lecture: Birgit Andrine Apenes Solem

PhD Defense

8 March 2016 12:52

(updated: 19 May 2016 13:18)

Defence and trial lecture: Birgit Andrine Apenes Solem

On Friday 18 March 2016 Birgit Andrine Apenes Solem will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend her thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.

Car sales, clothing stores, interior design-all of these are a perfectly fit for social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Followers and customers readily share the enticing and colorful photos, likes and comments with thousands of others and give these firms plenty of free advertising. Effective use of social media is necessary for businesses in their brand building in today's marketplace, and social media use is inexpensive and effective compared to other advertising.

But how can the less flashy service industries, such as insurance brands, encourage customers' engagement in social media?

In this thesis, based on a literature review and four articles comprising nine empirical studies, Solem develops a conceptual and theoretical understanding of customer brand engagement that is useful for service firms struggling to provide the "right" brand messages to different customer groups in interactive contexts.

The four articles (1) provide an understanding of why people use social media in relation to brands, (2) theoretically conceptualizes customer brand engagement (3) adapts and develops a practically useful scale for measuring the phenomenon in interactive contexts, and (4) finds that customers who actively participates and involves with the brand becomes more engaged, and further, that this engagement leads to positive brand experience, as well as brand loyalty through brand satisfaction.

In the fourth article, Solem is testing what an insurance brand should post to social media to engage their customers. She found that just counting followers, reach and behavioral likes provides a narrow view of what customer brand engagement is all about. While a promotion-oriented activity post containing a reward may arouse positive feelings among eager customers, a prevention-oriented message may awaken vigilant and passive customers' common cognitive sense, without resulting in behavior.

Solem concludes that customer brand engagement consists of multidimensional processes. Service managers may use social media to shift attention away from the intangible and abstract service and focus on prevention and utilitarian values as a part of their brand building. Depending on the service firm's communication strategy towards eager and vigilant customers, the communication can affect emotions, cognitions, intentions and behavior beyond exchange.

Title of the thesis

"The process of customer brand engagement in interactive contexts: Prerequisites, conceptual foundations, antecedents, and outcomes"

Time and venue

Friday 18 March 2016, 10:15 in Jebsen Centre, NHH

Members of the evaluation committee

Chair: Professor Herbjørn Nysveen, Norwegian School of Economics
Professor Veronica Liljander, Hanken School of Economics, Finland
Professor Håvard Hansen, UiS Business School

Supervising committee:

Professor Per Egil Pedersen, principal supervisor, Norwegian School of Economics

About the candidate

Birgit Andrine Apenes Solem (1972) have been fellow at Department of Strategy and Management and CSI at NHH. Her education is from University College Center of Vestfold, NTNU and University College of Buskerud, where she graduated in Marketing in 1998. Solem is today Lecturer at the Business School at University College of Southern Norway.

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