Nomen Est Omen: Formalizing Customer Labeling Theory

Plangger, K., Kietzmann, J. H., Pitt, L. F., Berthon, P., & Hannah, D. (2013). Nomen est omen: formalizing customer labeling theory. AMS review, 3(4), 193-204.

12 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2014

See all articles by Kirk Plangger

Kirk Plangger

King's College London

Jan Kietzmann

Simon Fraser University - Segal Graduate School of Business

Leyland Pitt

Simon Fraser University - Segal Graduate School of Business

Pierre R. Berthon

Bentley University

David R. Hannah

Simon Fraser University - Management and Organizational Studies Area

Date Written: December 17, 2013

Abstract

Organizations use a variety of labels to refer to their customers — the individuals who use their products and services. These labels (e.g., guests, students, clients, members, patients, users, etc.) suggest different meanings and connotations than being a simple customer. In this paper, we explore traditional labeling theory, and its roots in categorization and semiotic theories, to aid in the understanding of the customer-firm relationship. We then extend and formalize this to a customer labeling theory, in which we posit that a firm’s labels for its customers may shape consumer and organizational attitudes. Therefore, if customers become what marketers call them, then these labels shape the dialog between organizations and their customers. Thus, customer labels indirectly impact the success of firms’ customer relationship management efforts. We discuss customer labeling implications for firms and make suggestions for future academic research.

Keywords: Labeling theory, Customer labels, Customer relationship management, Expectations management, Customer service quality, Psychological contracts, Organizational communication

Suggested Citation

Plangger, Kirk and Kietzmann, Jan and Pitt, Leyland and Berthon, Pierre R. and Hannah, David R., Nomen Est Omen: Formalizing Customer Labeling Theory (December 17, 2013). Plangger, K., Kietzmann, J. H., Pitt, L. F., Berthon, P., & Hannah, D. (2013). Nomen est omen: formalizing customer labeling theory. AMS review, 3(4), 193-204., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2368695

Kirk Plangger (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

London, SE1 9NN
United Kingdom
442078484631 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/management/people/academic/Plangger.aspx

Jan Kietzmann

Simon Fraser University - Segal Graduate School of Business ( email )

Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://beedie.sfu.ca/profiles/JanKietzmann

Leyland Pitt

Simon Fraser University - Segal Graduate School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Pierre R. Berthon

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02145
United States

David R. Hannah

Simon Fraser University - Management and Organizational Studies Area ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Colombia V5A 1S6
Canada

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