Designing transformative consumer experiences (and inspiring research journeys)

I believe each research project takes you into a journey - you will read on new topics, perhaps visit new places for fieldwork or see old familiar places with a new perspective... You may meet all sorts of interesting people, and connect to some of them at a deep level. In addition to developing academic knowledge, you will learn something that can make you a better researcher, scholar, and person. When my lon-term co-author Bernardo Figueiredo and I started a research project with Italian Marketing scholars Fulvio Fortezza and Giacomo DelChiappa, the journey wasn't clearly mapped out ahead of us. I had plans to visit the wonderful Calabria and learn first hand about the value-creating practices of Mediterranean communities. But alas, 2020 hit us with a pandemic, and our learning journey happened entirely online. 

It was a great journey, though, and alike the one our research participants experienced, it inspired transformation for me. You can read the outcome of our project, which examines how hybrid organizations (those that mix market logics with other types of logics) might manage multiple logics to design experiences that may prompt consumer transformation. We studied the case of Home4Creativity, an accommodation business guided by a blend of market, family and community logics. To give you a summary, we found that the business promotes the interplay among logics through three strategies (substitution, alternation and integration) in order to suspend habitual experiences, redirect consumer attention and invite consumer identification. 

We hope our research can help deepen the ongoing, and still limited, scientific debate about the transformational power of hybrid organisations. We see the management of logic multiplicity as an opportunity for change, and we demonstrate that multiple logics can inspire consumer transformation. We show the role of service design and human interaction in leading to transformative value, and demonstrate how Home4Creativity uses logic multiplicity to create immersive, multifunctional and compartmentalised spaces that act as liminal spaces to help incite consumers to break with recurrent patterns of behaviour and engage in self-transformation.

The takeaway for hybrid organisations that intend to promote consumer transformation is that they should actively embrace logic multiplicity. Use the recombinant strategies of substitution, alternation and integration to support the design of experiences! These strategies should be at the backdrop of creating, planning and implementing business models and servicescape design. 

For example, service organisations focused on promoting change in consumer behaviour, such as nutrition counselling, may want to disrupt consumers’ routinised undesirable practices by reframing things in a different logic. Activities normally coordinated by market logics (e.g., consumer gets a meal plan from nutrition expert and goes on their own to buy groceries and prepare meals) can be reframed as guided by community logics (e.g. families or communities are informed on how to get together to plan, prepare and eat healthier meals). This would not also break negative social patterns associated to harmful eating (e.g., shame leading to binge eating).

You can read the full paper "Managing Multiple Logics to Facilitate Consumer Transformation" at the Journal of Business Research