Ambient communication (AC) is currently a widespread consolidated brand practice at the international level. However, a clear understanding of its conceptual boundaries is still missing, which may better orient branding strategies. Our study is aimed at providing a comprehensive picture of AC, attempting to cast light on its distinctive conceptual dimensions. The study is designed according to a focused ethnography approach based on 15 in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of agency professionals. Transcripts were analysed following a discursive technique that systematically explores the ways in which the interviewees conceived of and articulated the concept of AC. Findings show that, although explicitly recognized as a central element in branding strategies, AC is ambivalently represented by advertising professionals, which uncovered a fragile perception of its implicit value. This reveals a limited unfolding of its potential, which is due to a lack of adequate conceptualization that has thwarted the development of strategic guidelines on how to conceive of, approach, and appraise this type of communication. Moreover, this shows a lack of maturity on the part of agency professionals who are still in need of proving themselves in the eyes of their clients as strategic partners. This proves to be detrimental to the potential expression of AC. Based on our evidence, we put forth a conceptualization that views AC as a relational hub, which can trigger multiple patterns of interaction dynamics according to a fuzzy network-based logic. This conception points to AC as a media-neutral communication form, which is inherently and practically lived and experienced by consumers, encapsulating and activating different interaction modes.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)5-19
Numero di pagine15
RivistaJournal of Marketing Communications
Volume2015/Volume 21
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015


  • ambient communication
  • brand communication
  • discourse analysis


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