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Dissertation: Dissertation: 10 Apr 2015 The development over time of students’ brand relationships with JAMK University of Applied Sciences (Pyykkönen)


10.4.2015 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki, Vanha juhlasali, S212

Ritva Pyykkönen.Lic.Sc. (Econ) Ritva Pyykkönen defends her doctoral dissertation in Marketing ”Opiskelijan brändisuhteen kehittyminen Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakouluun”. Opponent Professor Tore Strandvik (Hanken) and custos Professor Outi Uusitalo (University of Jyväskylä). The event is in Finnish.

The purpose of this study is to increase the understanding of how customer brand relationships are built over time within the educational environment from the student’s viewpoint; it will use concepts derived from service marketing, relationship marketing, and consumer-based brand marketing as its theoretical framework. A customer brand relationship is defined as the customer’s dynamic, over time changing, and holistic experience of the brand. It is formed before, during, and after the customer relationship and is linked with the customer’s commitment, trust, feelings, and value experiences that are acquired during the brand relationship.

The study’s data consist of 124 narratives written by BBA and MBA students taking two successive degrees or by students at different stages of their studies. The students described their perceptions and experiences of the brand relationship with their place of study. The chosen research approach was abductive, and the research made use of both empirical findings and the theoretical framework. The theoretical framework, which concerned brand relationships, relationship interaction levels, and brand relationship experiences, offered a base for the qualitative analysis.

The findings describe in great detail the perceptions and experiences that students have of the institutional brand before, during, and after their studies. The school brand relationship starts from the first contact with the school at any stage of the student’s life. The findings even propose the existence of a lifelong brand relationship with the place of study. Factors affecting the students’ brand relationships were brand image heritage, service offering, and the school brand. The student also plays an independent role in the development of his or her personal brand relationship with the school. The students’ positive and negative commitment, trust, feeling, and value experiences have an impact on the shape taken by their brand life cycles. The experiences that caused changes in students’ brand relationships were individual incidents (e.g., with other students or teachers), episodes consisting of separate incidents (e.g., an academic year or a course) and sequences of several episodes (e.g., a bachelor’s or master’s degree).

The study attempts to contribute both theoretically and empirically to brand relationship research by increasing knowledge of the development of customer-based brand relationships over time. The development of a brand relationship is closely related to the customer’s perceptions and experiences of the brand. The study can also offer new insights based on empirical findings regarding brand relationship typologies, brand relationship experiences, and brand relationship life cycles. Some practical uses of the results are also suggested. Further information on the building of a brand relationship can be acquired through a better and wider understanding of the customer’s way of thinking and knowledge of his or her life.

Key words: brand, brand relationship, development of a customer-based brand relationship

The dissertation is published in the series of Jyväskylä Studies in Business and Economics, number 157, Jyväskylä 2015, ISBN:978-951-39-6131-2 ISBN 978-951-39-6131-2 (PDF), ISBN 978-951-39-6130-5, ISSN 1457-1986. It is available at the University Library’s Publications Unit, tel. +358 40 805 3825,

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Ritva Pyykkönen