Cultural experiences entail a risk of disappointment linked to the specificity of the artistic production when consumers’ expectations are neglected. This risk is intimately linked to the importance of uncertainty and the apprehension about anticipated consequences. Hence, the interest for managers, if they want to decrease risk and enhance satisfaction, is to study how expectations are forged on a cognitive and emotional level based on visitors’ prior knowledge about the event. This research studies the role of information brochures as a vehicle of content knowledge among cultural service users. It aims to understand how providing consumers with knowledge about the content of a cultural service in advance shapes their expectations and primes anticipated emotions, which in turn affects consumers’ overall experience. We used theater plays as a context for this study. Using an exploratory qualitative and two quantitative field studies, our findings support that delivering content knowledge about a performance in advance has a direct influence on visitors’ cultural experience before (expectations, anticipated emotions, intention to attend the performance) and an indirect influence after the experience (affective reactions and satisfaction). Our results show that cognitive and affective expectations are forged differently. Due to the uniqueness of each performance, cognitive expectations are created based on the information gathered by individuals in advance, as no comparison standards exist, while affective expectations (i.e. anticipated emotions) are primed and risk reducing visitors’ satisfaction if these affective expectations are set too high. The study’s results provide support for the use of detailed information brochures to shape, guide and enhance consumers’ cultural experiences. Contrary to early research suggesting separating marketing approaches from cultural experiences, we show that consumers’ expectations and thus a customer-centric approach should not further be neglected.
|Effective start/end date||3/12/14 → …|