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Lemon - Emotions in the life of a consumer

Lemon research project

Existing research on consumer emotions emphasizes the emotions a company and its products trigger. These, however, are only a fraction of the emotional experiences of a consumer. A majority of their emotions are born in their personal lives, as a result of different life courses and social relationships. For example, growing up, starting a family, losing a loved one, becoming employed, or retiring.

The LEMON research project focuses on the emotions triggered by life changes and the under-researched emotional needs a consumer has at different turbulent times in their life course. The theoretical starting points to the LEMON project are marketing and innovation management, but in order to understand this multifaceted phenomenon in depth, we work with multidisciplinary experts from psychology, cultural anthropology, philosophy, and medicine.

The project in a nutshell

Lifestyle changes in different life stages (2019-)

This multidisciplinary research focuses on the lifestyle changes made by individuals in different life stages while adopting a more physically active lifestyle. The focus is on moving from car usage to more sustainable transportation modes; walking and cycling. This transformative consumer research project analyses the motives, thought patterns and emotions underlying individuals' behavioural changes. The research is a sub-project of the Academy of Finland funded STN project: Healthy Lifestyles to Boost Sustainable Growth (STYLE).

The sub-project is led by D.Sc. Birgitta Sandberg. The project team includes D.Sc. Leila Hurmerinta, D.sc. Samuel Piha and Doctoral Candidate Henna Leino. Professors Rami Olkkonen and John Thøgersen (Aarhus University) act as experts.

Kulta: The Latent Bond-related Needs of Consumers (2017-2019)

Societal changes such as internationalisation, digitalisation of information flow, ego-centrism and longevity of populations alter the needs of individuals and experiences concerning the meaningfulness of life. Meaningfulness is considered to consist of different kinds of bonds, such as social, emotional, cognitive, functional and spiritual bonds which an individual can tie to people, places, items or actions, for instance. The experience of meaningfulness and thereby also bonds have an essential influence on an individual’s needs and wellbeing. Often these needs are unconscious. Understanding the consumers’ latent needs has been regarded as extremely challenging in business sciences. Yet, it is of the essence to understand these needs in order to gain a profound customer understanding. In this research project we study the bonds that an individual values highly and also the needs that arise from the existence of these bonds. Our goal is to develop solutions to recognize and meet such consumer needs that emerge from loosening or breaking of bonds. The research is funded by a projectgrant from Emil Aaltonen Foundation.

Opportunities in negative emotions (2014-2016)

The aim of the project is to clarify how the negative and conflicting emotions affecting the customer interface, and latent needs appearing in difficult stages of life can be recognized better in order to be able to respond to these emotions and needs by creating novel services or products. The goal is to create a theoretically grounded, yet a practically utilizable, model of the connection of negative and conflict emotions arising in the customer interface, and the innovation process of a company. Here innovation refers to new products, services and business models, bringing added value to both customers and the company.

The project is a part of NEMO – Business Value from Negative Emotions research project – funded by Tekes. Turku University of Applied Sciences and Tampere Technical University are also a part of the NEMO project with their related research projects.

Project team

Project experts

Leila Hurmerinta, University Lecturer (D.sc. in Econ. & Bus. Adm.), Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku. Areas of expertise: Emotions and customer experience, Innovations and marketing, methodological pluralism, entrepreneurial internationalization.

Birgitta Sandberg, Post Doctoral Research Fellow (D.Sc. in Econ. & Bus. Adm.), Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku. Areas of expertise: Emotions and customer experience, emotions in the development and adoption of innovations, radical innovation management, and commercialization of breakthroughs.

Henna Leino, Doctoral Candidate (M.Sc. in Econ. & Bus. Adm.), Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku. Areas of expertise: Emotions and customer needs, emotions and customer experience, care relationships, place marketing, public sector joint marketing, project management.

Samuel Piha, Senior Researcher (D.sc. in Econ. & Bus. Adm.), Marketing, University of Turku

Anna Haverinen, Researcher (Ph.D.), Cultural anthropology

Research partners

Arstila Valtteri, Post Doctoral Researcher  (D. Sc. in Philosophy), University of Turku

Kortekangas-Savolainen Outi, Docent (D.Sc. in Med.), University of Turku

Kurvinen Einari, Doctoral Candidate (M. Sc. in Philosophy and M. Sc. in Educational Sciences),  Department of Information Technology, University of Turku

Lowrey Tina, Professor (marketing), HEC Paris, France

Menzfeld Mira, Doctoral Student (Ethnology), University of Cologne, Germany

Sasaki Innan, Post Doctoral Researcher (D.Sc. in Econ. & Bus. Adm), Lancaster University, UK

Valli Katja, Post Doctoral Researcher (D. Sc. in Psychology), University of Turku

Scientific publications


Piha, Samuel, Hurmerinta, Leila, Järvinen, Elina, Räikkönen, Juulia, Sandberg, Birgitta (forthcoming in 2019) Escaping into sexual play: A consumer experience perspective. Leisure Sciences.

Hurmerinta, Leila, Arstila, Valtteri, Sandberg, Birgitta,  Leino, Henna, Kortekangas-Savolainen Outi (2019) Temporality in the conception of life after a diagnosis of severe illness affected by interactions in healthcare service. Proceedings of the QUIS16 Conference, 10-13 June, 2019. University of Karlstad, Sweden.


Piha, Samuel, Hurmerinta, Leila, Sandberg, Birgitta & Järvinen, Elina (2018) From filthy to healthy and beyond: Finding the boundaries of taboo destruction in sex toy buying. Journal of Marketing Management, Vol.34, No. 13-14, 1078-1104.


Leino, Henna M. (2017) "Secondary but significant: secondary customers’ existence, vulnerability and needs in care services", Journal of Services Marketing, 31 (7), 760-770.

Gerritsen, Niina - Hurmerinta, Leila - Sandberg, Birgitta - Kortekangas-Savolainen, Outi (2017): "Parents at the forefront of healthcare encounters - a child's severe illness and the involvement of parents at the encounters." Proceedings of the 50th Academy of Marketing Conference. University of Hull. UK.

Hurmerinta, Leila -  Sandberg, Birgitta -  Leino, Henna (2017) "Time-related experiences and construction of elderly care services". Proceedings of the QUIS15, International Research Symposium on Service Excellence in Management, June 12-15 2017, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Portugal.

Leino, Henna (2017) "Multidisciplinary view on the concept of customer unit in elderly care services". Proceedings of the QUIS15, International Research Symposium on Service Excellence in Management, June 12-15 2017, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Portugal.

Hurmerinta, Leila -  Sandberg, Birgitta -  Leino, Henna -  Menzfeld, Mira (2017) ”Who Lives Here? – Searching a Home-Like Nursing Home”. Proceedings of the 46th EMAC Annual Conference, 23-26 May, 2017. University of Groningen, Netherlands.

Gerritsen, Niina - Hurmerinta, Leila - Sandberg, Birgitta - Leino, Henna (2017) MYRSKYN SILMÄSSÄ - vakavasti sairastuneiden lasten vanhempien tunnekokemukset. Surukonferenssi, 27.-28.4.2017, Tampereen yliopisto.

Leino, Henna - Hurmerinta, Leila - Sandberg, Birgitta - Kortekangas-Savolainen, Outi (2017) ”PIDÄN AINA LÄHELLÄ, KULJEN MATKAN VIERELLÄ” – läheisten ja heidän tunteidensa merkitys vakavasti sairastuneille. Surukonferenssi, 27.-28.4.2017, Tampereen yliopisto.


Sandberg, Birgitta, Hurmerinta, Leila & Leino, Henna (2016) COLOURING OUTSIDE THE LINES: Incorporating incidental emotions into the concept of emotional value. Academy of Marketing Conference Proceedings 2016. Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, UK. AM 2016, Best Paper Award (Track: Consumer Behaviour).

Leino, Henna (2016) There’s more to it than meets the eye  – recognising the existence and needs of secondary customers of care services. Academy of Marketing Conference Proceedings 2016. Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, UK.

Hurmerinta, Leila - Lakkala, Hannamari - Sandberg, Birgitta (2016), Tunteet ja koti, Teoksessa: Negatiiviset tunteet – positiivinen bisnes, toim. H. Jalonen, M. Vuolle ja L. Heinonen, 48-84. Talentum: Hki.

Sandberg, Birgitta, Hurmerinta, Leila & Kortekangas-Savolainen, Outi (2016) Luopumisen keskellä – haavoittuvan asiakkaan tunnelähtöiset tarpeet. Surukonferenssi, 21.-22.4.2016, Tampereen yliopisto.
Hurmerinta, Leila & Sandberg, Birgitta (2016) Kun aika pysähtyy – ajan kokemuksellisuuden merkitys tarpeiden luojana. Surukonferenssi, 21.-22.4.2016, Tampereen yliopisto.

Leino, Henna (2016) Sekundäärinen muttei toisarvoinen  – Läheisten tunneperäiset tarpeet hoivapalveluja kohtaan. Surukonferenssi, 21.-22.4.2016, Tampereen yliopisto.


Sandberg, Birgitta & Hurmerinta, Leila (2015) “We want it to be special, because she was” – The value of memorial playgrounds. Proceedings of the EMAC 2015 Conference. Leuven, Belgium.
Sandberg, Birgitta & Hurmerinta, Leila (2015) Mitä se lounatuuli nauraa? Se nauraa, jos joku on iloinen – Surusta syntyneet leikkipuistot. Surukonferenssi, Tampere, 16.-17.4.2015

Hurmerinta, Leila – Sandberg, Birgitta (2015) Sadness Bright as Glass – The acceptance of emotionally sensitive radical innovation, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 31, Issue 9-10, 918-939.
Haavisto, Piia & Sandberg Birgitta (2015) “Man this frustrates me”: change of consumer emotions in online discussions, Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol.9, No.1, 70-87.

Hurmerinta, Leila & Peltomäki, Tuuli (2015), ”Who am I – How am I now?” – Dynamics and ‘self-related’ discrepancies of artist brand”. Proceedings of the 10th Global Brand Conference, Turku, Finland.

2014 and earlier

Hurmerinta, Leila & Sandberg, Birgitta (2014) Surun pukeminen muistomerkkiin. Surukonferenssi, Tampere, 10.-11.4.2014
Hurmerinta, L. & Sandberg, B. (2014) ”Many Faces of Sadness – The acceptance of radically different memorial stones”. Academy of Marketing Conference 2014. AMA 2014 Best Paper Award (Track: Marketing Case Studies).

Sandberg, B. (2013) “Igniting the Spark: Utilization of Positive Emotions in Developing Radical Innovators”, teoksessa Shavinina, L. (toim.) The International Handbook of Innovation Education, 534–544. Routledge, Oxon.

Sandberg, B. & Heinonen, L. (2013) “IN THE NAME OF LOVE? Emotional conflicts in the encounters between dog owners and providers of dog supplies and services”, Academy of Marketing Conference 2013.
Hurmerinta, L. & Sandberg, B. (2013) “Unbearable lightness of dying – Handling emotional ambivalence in marketing death-related innovation”, Academy of Marketing Conference 2013.

Sandberg, B., Aarikka-Stenroos, L. & Kettunen, I. (2013) “Emotional skills of a project manager in the front end of radical-innovation development”, Research and Development Management Conference 2013.
Haavisto, P. & Sandberg, B. (2013) “Emotions towards innovations in discussion forums – opportunity or threat?”, ISPIM Conference 2013.

Sandberg, B. (2009) “The Future of Innovation Gets Emotional”, teoksessa von Stamm, B & Trifilova, A. (toim.) The Future of Innovation. Gower, Surrey.

Sandberg, B. (2007) “Enthusiasm in the Development of Radical Innovations”, Creativity and Innovation Management, 16(3), 265–273.

Master's theses

Peltomäki, Tuuli, “BECAUSE OF HOW IT MAKES ME FEEL” - Vuorovaikutuksen muodot ja merkitys elämysten tuottamisessa ja kokemisessa live-konserteissa. Pro Gradu -opinnäyte 26.5.2015, 126 sivua.

Lakkala, Hannamari, ”Life-related negative customer emotions in real estate agent encounters”. Pro Gradu -opinnäyte 11.5.2015, 112 sivua.


Other publications

Publications in media

”Vanhusten asema yhteisöissä heikkenee” Vieraskynä. Helsingin Sanomat, 20.7.2018

”Voileipäsukupolvesta pitää huolehtia” Suomen Kuvalehti, 14.12.2018

"Joskus tärkeintä ei ole määränpää, vaan matka", Kauppalehti 28.5.2018.
Asuntokaupassa tunteet ovat aina läsnä – ”Hyvät päätökset syntyvät todennäköisemmin, kun myös tunne on mukana”. Radiohaastattelu, YLE Uutiset 29.4.2016.
NEMO-hankkeen blogi (03/2016): "Nuori - näkymätön asiakas?" http://nemohanke.blogspot.fi/2016/03/nuori-nakymaton-asiakas.html
Talouselämä (21/2015): "Häpeätahroja teknologian mekassa". http://www.talouselama.fi/tebatti/hapeatahroja-teknologian-mekassa-he-loistavat-poissaolollaan-3477109
NEMO-hankkeen blogi (06/2015): "Kone tietää tunteesi." http://nemohanke.blogspot.fi/2015/06/kone-tietaa-tunteesi.html
Myynti & Markkinointi -lehti (5/2015): "Tunneristiriitainen asiakas on käyttämätön mahdollisuus", sivut 34-35. http://lehti.mma.fi/tyo-ura/huomioi-tunteet-myyntityossa
Mercurius-lehti (2014): ”Can business potential be found in emotions in the future?”, sivut 14-15. http://issuu.com/turun_yliopisto/docs/mercurius-en-2014
NEMO-hankkeen blogi (06/2014): "Sekavat tunteet sekoittavat yrityksen pakkaa." http://nemohanke.blogspot.fi/2014/06/sekavat-tunteet-sekoittavat-yrityksen.html
NEMO-hankkeen blogi (03/2014): "Osta pelkosi pois! " http://nemohanke.blogspot.fi/2014/03/osta-pelkosi-pois.html
Aurora-lehti (2/2014): ”Miten negatiivisista tunteista voidaan luoda innovaatio?”, sivut 22-23. https://apps.utu.fi/media/nakoislehdet/aurora/2_2014/flash/index.html
Mercurius-lehti (4/2013): ”Löytyykö liiketoimintapotentiaali tulevaisuudessa tunteista?”, sivut 5-6.  http://issuu.com/turun_yliopisto/docs/mercurius_4_2013

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