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Hanken School of Economics Working Papers, Hanken School of Economics

No 547:
Silent Communication - A Challenge to Established Marketing Communication Practice

Tore Strandvik () and Åke Finne ()

Abstract: Purpose The paper examines the concept of silent communication and its implications in marketing communication. It defines silent communication and proposes an analytic framework enabling an expanded view of marketing communication. Design/methodology/approach By explicitly adopting a customer-oriented perspective, combined with insights from service marketing and relationship communication, the paper extends current models of marketing communication. Findings The paper identifies different types of silent communication and presents new perspectives on marketing communication. The authors outline a framework for understanding how the company can/cannot control different forms of marketing communication and discuss the implications of this. Research implications/limitations The paper concentrates on a conceptual analysis, offering a number of empirical illustrations. The conceptual development creates new research issues that should lead to a deeper understanding of customers’ meaning creation, actions and reactions. Practical implications Silent communication constitutes a managerial challenge as it is often invisible to the management. The paper points to the need to develop methods to reveal the effects of silent communication as well as create guidelines for managerially handling silent communication. Originality/value The customer-based perspective and the focus on silent communication provide a completely new approach to analysing and understanding marketing communication. The paper contributes to service marketing and marketing communication research by introducing conceptualisations of silent communication that have an interest for both academic research and practitioners.

Keywords: silent communication; marketing communication; relationship communication; service-dominant logic; brand management; (follow links to similar papers)

27 pages, December 30, 2009

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