Ambient Communication (AC) is a widespread brand practice. However, it lacks a clear understanding that may better orient its use. We aim at providing a comprehensive picture of AC to cast light on its distinctive conceptual dimensions. We designed a focused ethnography approach based on depth interviews with a purposive sample of agency professionals, analysed following a discursive perspective. Although explicitly recognized as a central element in branding, AC is depicted through an ambivalent representation, uncovering a fragile perception of its value at the implicit level. This reveals a limited unfolding of its potential due to a lack in its conceptualization that proves unable to provide guidelines on how to approach and appraise it. This shows a scarce maturity of agency professionals who are in need for self-legitimating in their clients’ eyes as partners. That proves detrimental to AC expression. Based on our evidence we frame AC as a relational hub which triggers multiple patterns of interaction dynamics according to a fuzzy network-based logic. That points at AC as a media-neutral communication form which in itself and in the way it is experienced by consumers, encapsulates and activates different interaction modes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Marketing Science Annual Conference
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAcademy of Marketing Science - Indianapolis
Duration: 21 May 201423 May 2014


ConferenceAcademy of Marketing Science


  • ambient communication
  • unconventional communication


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