Strategic creation of experiences at Shanghai World Expo: A practice of communification
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The purpose of this paper is to contribute to our understanding of the underlying rationale for why companies participate in mega-events in general, and in mega-events in emerging economies – such as the 2010 Shanghai Expo – in particular. Of particular interest are the ways that companies use an event to advance their own purposes, and how experiences are created that use aspects of an event setting such as Expo 2010. The study is based on a participatory, ethnographic and longitudinal field study focusing on the VIP section of the Swedish Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, using additional data from other national pavilions and respondents with insight into Expo 2010 and its organization. The study indicates that even though companies operationally used the World Expo and the VIP section in many different ways, an underlying element appears to be to use the event for the “practice of communification”. The study provides practitioners with a conceptual framework and tools to manage the co-creation process of experiences at events. This is done by supplying an empirical example from World Expo 2010 and the VIP area of the Swedish pavilion. This is a needed addition to the current knowledge on how customers engage in co-creation of experiences and how companies manage the co-creation process. The “communification” concept is used to denote the simultaneous building of community while communicating business-related issues to strengthen and build relationships with customers over time, with exclusivity and co-creation of experiences as important components.
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