Customer Engagement Goes To The Theatre: Building Customer Engagement in Danish theatres

Emma Arhnung Schou-Hanssen & Emilie Johanne Munch

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates how customer engagement can be built in the context of theatres. Danish theatres are experiencing increased levels of competition, due to changes in cultural consumption meaning that theatres are now also competing with other cultural activities, such as concerts, computer games and Netflix. This increased level of competition has led to a decrease in sold theatre tickets and theatres are now looking for new ways to attract and maintain audiences. However, there is currently no existing literature or research within the field of customer engagement that explicitly considers the distinct characteristics of the theatre. Through an exploratory case study, this social constructivist research has investigated the concept of customer engagement, why theatres should make use of it, and lastly how customer engagement can be applied to a theatre context. This has been done through a review of literature within the field of customer engagement, including the research by Kumar et al., (2010), van Doorn et al., (2010), Brodie et al., (2011), Vivek et al., (2012), Pansari and Kumar (2017) and Hollebeek et al., (2019). The knowledge created from this review has led to the application of the conceptual framework by Pansari and Kumar (2017) throughout the thesis. The research has been carried out through two studies; a theatre-manager study including three semistructured expert interviews with professionals from three Danish theatres and an audience member study including semi-structured interviews with nine audience members. Based on the two studies, a revision of the conceptual framework by Pansari and Kumar (2017) has been made, in which the distinct characteristics of the theatre context is taken into account. Lastly, this research contributes to the field of customer engagement by broadening its scope to include the theatre context. Unique to customer engagement in the theatre context is (1) the introduction of familiarity, recommendations and professional reviews as drivers for initial purchase, (2) emotions as a new antecedent for initial customer engagement along with satisfaction, (3) a follow-up loop of engagement, in which emotional bond is further included as an antecedent, (4) different relationships between antecedents and contributions of customer engagement and lastly, (5) a new moderator, aesthetic vs. service focus, for the relationships between contributions and antecedents.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages171
SupervisorsAd de Jong