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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral thesis on intercultural brand communication

MA Lisa Hackinger’s doctoral thesis in German Language and Literature will be put forth for public defence at the Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled Semantische Frames in interkultureller Markenkommunikation.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on Friday, 17 November2023 at 1PM in the Armfelt auditorium, Arken-building, Tehtaankatu 2, Turku. Professor Nina Janich, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany will serve as opponent and Professors Christopher Schmidt, Åbo Akademi University, as custos.


According to the identity-based brand management approach, a strong brand is characterised by a clearly defined brand identity. Relevant literature suggests that a brand has an unmistakable and unchanging core which should be consistently communicated in brand communication. This ultimately contributes to a uniform brand identity and increases recognition among recipients. However, these assumptions are generally based on brand strategy in one national culture, and so far, little research has been done to determine to what extent this also applies to intercultural brand communication. In this dissertation, a detailed comparison of how brands position themselves through communication and how they are perceived by consumers in three different national cultures was conducted, to illustrate different strategies established brands use to operate cross-culturally. 

For the investigation of brand communication as well as brand perception, I chose a frame-semantic analysis approach. With the help of frame theory, non-verbalised prior knowledge, which is necessary for comprehension but semantically not included in the sentence, can be captured. Brand communication frequently involves statements which are not explicitly formulated, and which have to be cognitively developed by the recipient. Furthermore, the perceived brand image is composed of associations, emotions, and prior knowledge about the brand, among other things. In the case of brand communication, this prior knowledge is fictional and artificially created – therefore, one important research question was how default values that occur within a frame can be communicated as “brand default values”. In modern frame research, little research has been done on where default values come from. It is assumed that default values are contained in the recipient’s knowledge of the world and can, among other things, be experience-related, which led me to the question of whether “experience-related” can also mean “brand-related” (in the sense of: experience with brands). Through my analysis on brand perception, I was able to show that the supported and un-supported associative knowledge of consumers reflects many implicitly communicated statements of brands in the form of brand default values. This leads to the conclusion that a person’s world knowledge can also be shaped and expanded by strategic, artificially generated influences such as brand communication. 

Lisa Hackinger was born in 1993 in Hutthurm, Germany. She can be reached by email lisa.hackinger@outlook.de.

A summary of the doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive.