Sneak preview into forthcoming book by Cova and Caru on Customer Experience Marketing (CEM)

To be published in Caru, A. and Cova, B., eds. (forthcoming) Consuming Experiences London, Routledge


Marketing theory and practice have been marked since the early 2000s by the rise of so-called called experiential approaches, whose roots go back more than 20 years. These approaches have provided a timely response to the major changes affecting consumption in our Western societies and forcing companies in turn to revisit their marketing efforts. In reaction to this evolution, some observers have started to espouse the idea of a new marketing panacea they call experiential marketing, or the marketing of experiences. Unfortunately, and as has far too often been the case in the field of marketing, this new panacea tends to reduce the notion of experience to something that is simple and can be readily managed by firms. This is because it focuses more on the modalities by which companies create experiences, and less on trying to understand complex nature of consumers’ actual consumption experiences and/or how they interact with the corporate product offers generating such experiences.

Faced with this state of affairs and bolstered by a whole group of Euro-Mediterranean researchers who all share the same critical analysis (one based on a postmodern approach to consumption and marketing), we have designed a book project offering an overview of the consumption experience. This vision is broader and more comprehensive than the one conveyed by experiential marketing, without neglecting the marketing dimensions involved. In other words, this is neither a book about consumers’ experiential behaviour nor a manual on experiential marketing, but a work that tries to embrace all of the modulations that can exist between a consumer and a company during the production of a consumption experience. In short, this book is written in such a way as to be accessible and didactic without falling prey to a ‘how to do’ approach.

Since the very beginning of this project, we have tried to promote research involving French and Italian institutions. Studies in these fields have rarely been translated into English, despite their important contribution to knowledge about the consumption experiences. To only mention a few of the most prolific institutions in consumption experience research: in France, IAE in Dijon (tied to the University of Burgundy), ESCP-EAP (Paris) and Euromed (Marseilles); and in Italy, Bocconi University (Milan) and the University of Pisa’s Economics Department. Nine of the authors are Italian, and eight French. This should not construed as meaning that the book is trying to push, come what may, some sort of Euro-Mediterranean consumption experience model in opposition to a North American one. Three of its authors, and fairly significant ones at that, come from North America (one from Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, one from Schulich School of Business in Toronto and one from the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in Tucson, Arizona). Moreover, the chapter bibliographies are largely filled with Anglo-American contributions to this subject.

Lastly, this project could never have taken shape with the very constructive input received from Routledge’s Francesca Heslop; the help of our translators Mike Hammersley and Alan Sitkin; and the kind support of our colleagues, notably the ESRC Seminar Series on Critical Marketing’s six founding members (Miriam Catterall, Christina Goulding, Pauline Maclaran, Richard Elliott, Mike Saren, Avi Shankar), plus Annamma Joy and Michael Gibbert, to whom we extend our most heartfelt thanks.

*> ===========TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1: “Consuming Experiences: An Introduction”
Antonella Carù & Bernard Cova
Chapter 2: “Agents in Paradise: Experiential Co-Creation through Emplacement, Ritualization, and Community"
John F. Sherry Jr., Robert V. Kozinets and Stefania Borghini
Chapter 3: “Consumer Immersion in an Experiential Context”
Antonella Carù & Bernard Cova
Chapter 4: “I Feel Good – Who Needs the Market? Struggling and Having Fun with Consumer-Driven Experiences”
Véronique Cova & Eric Rémy
Chapter 5: “Consumption Experiences and Product Meanings. Pasta for Young Italian Consumers:”
Daniele Dalli & Simona Romani
Chapter 6: “The Blandness and Delights of a Daily Object”
Benoît Heilbrunn
Chapter 7: “Consumption Experience, Self-Narrative and Self-Identity: The Example of Trekking”
Richard Ladwein
Chapter 8: “The Drivers of Hedonic Consumption Experience: A Semiotic Analysis of Rock Concerts”
Chiara Santoro & Gabriele Troilo
Chapter 9: “Fashion as the Ultimate Experiential Object: the Case of Issey Miyake’s A-POC Brand”
Patrick Hetzel
Chapter 10: “Converging Industries through Experience: Lessons from Edutainment”
Stefano Podestà & Michela Addis
Chapter 11: “How Value-Based Brands Create Valuable Experiences: the Case of Sports Brands”
Vanni Codeluppi
Chapter 12: “Reenchantment of Retailing: Towards Utopian Islands”
Olivier Badot & Marc Filser
Chapter 13: “Consuming Experiences: Retrospect and Prospects”
Eric Arnould


Yann Gourvennec
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