University of Oulu

Meanings for a shopping center brand : a case study

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Author: Turunen, Vilja1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Pages: 78
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : V. Turunen, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-06-25
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Ulkuniemi, Pauliina
Reviewer: Ulkuniemi, Pauliina
Saraniemi, Saila


The purpose of this research is to build comprehensive understanding of the meanings consumers attach to a shopping center brand and how brand meanings are formed, as well as develop a model for the formation of shopping center brand meanings.

The theoretical framework of this research is composed of two parts. The first addresses the formation of brand meanings in general in individual, social and marketing environments through communication and knowledge. The latter part considers the special characteristics of the shopping center brand. Prior research suggests that the place brand, brand portfolio and customer value evaluated through the needs of the individual are factors that influence the shopping center brand.

The empirical research is conducted as a qualitative research and as an instrumental, intensive and explanatory case study. The subject of the case study is a traditional medium size shopping center located in a large city in Finland. A projective method, The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET), in which pictures play an important part, is utilized in gathering the empirical data. The research target group consist of a diversified sample of seven participants living in the same city that the case shopping center is located in and who could be determined to be familiar with it. In-depth one-on-one interviews were organized with the participants. Abductive reasoning guides the empirical analysis and the data is analyzed with categorizing it to relevant themes.

The findings of this research identified eight central themes of brand meanings attached to a shopping center brand and 23 sub-constructs of meanings. The eight central constructs are togetherness, me-time, convenience, hedonism, merchandise, sense of community, inspiration and culture. Hedonism surfaced as one of the most significant of these and the role of me-time and inspiration were also novel to the field. The model constructed for the formation of shopping center brand meanings was perceived useful and the empirical findings complemented it. Brand meanings were identified to develop in individual, social and marketing environments through communication and knowledge. The role of the individual is a more mediating one whereas the social and marketing environments are more contextual and contributing to the knowledge.

The research findings provide further understanding about the formation of brand meanings in the shopping center context. Based on the empirical findings, theory was developed further. Although the research was conducted as an intensive case study of one shopping center, the empirical findings of meanings consumers attach to a shopping center brand can be extended and applied to other similar cases. Knowledge gained can be used in the future as the basis for further research and utilized managerially by shopping center professionals and brand management.

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Copyright information: © Vilja Turunen, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.