"It makes things so much easier" - Exploring brand experience in a digital health context

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Arina auditorium (TA105)

Topic of the dissertation

"It makes things so much easier" - Exploring brand experience in a digital health context

Doctoral candidate

Master of Arts Milka Väinämö

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Oulu Business School, Department of marketing, management, and international business

Subject of study



Professor Johanna Gummerus, Hanken School of Economics


Professor Saila Saraniemi, University of Oulu

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"It makes things so much easier" - Brand experience in a digital health context

Due to the growing influence of digitalization in the contemporary society, the ways in which customers construct experiences with brands are changing. One significant transformation is the way in which interactions with brands take increasingly place on mobile devices and in non-commercial locations, such as customers’ homes. By challenging the dominant way of understanding brand experience as a phenomenon actively created by companies and passively received by customers, Milka Väinämö’s doctoral dissertation offers a new perspective to brand experience research. By approaching the concept from a customer-centric perspective, Väinämö creates an understanding of how customers themselves actively construct experiences with a brand in their everyday lives.

The empirical material of the study has been collected from diabetics who routinely rely on a certain brand of digital technology to measure their blood glucose levels. Therefore, the dissertation connects contextually to current discussions about digital health technology.

The results of Väinämö’s qualitative study show that brand experience is constructed through repeated customer-initiated interactions that take place between the customer and the brand in the customer’s lifeworld. The study finds that due to the customer-initiated nature of these interactions, customers can actively construct their brand experience into something that meets their individual needs. While the study identifies common themes associated with the construction of brand experience, such as the customizability of the experience and the possibility of making things “so much easier” through interactions with the brand, at the end of the day, brand experience should be regarded as subjective. Consequently, it is not possible to identify a single “correct” brand experience. Instead, the empirical material points towards a set of individual experiences with shared characteristics. Interestingly, the results of the study also show that although the construction of brand experience is subjective, community participation, such as sharing stories about one’s own brand experience online, has the potential to influence the construction of individual experiences, for instance, by providing tools to enhance interactions with the brand. Additionally, through community participation, customers can access peer support by understanding that they are not alone with their experiences.

Overall, Väinämö’s study expands the narrow theoretical understanding of brand experience. On a practical level it helps companies to understand how customers interact with brands in situations beyond company control. Finally, the findings of the study regarding the intermingling of digital health technology with the daily life of customers can prove to be meaningful for companies involved with digital health technology, for healthcare professionals, and for other relevant parties.
Last updated: 23.1.2024