NEMO – Business Value from Negative Emotions

Positive emotions, such as pleasure and happiness, are clearly related to business performance. Based on everyday experience as well as on research, it is known that positive customer experience strengthens loyalty and brings the customer back. Significantly less we know about the business value of contradictory and negative emotions. Contradictory emotions are understudied, whereas the analysis of negative emotions has been confined to customer dissatisfaction and complaining behaviour. Traditionally, contradictory and negative emotions have been seen as something that should be avoided and whose consequences should be minimised. In the NEMO project, contradictory and negative emotions are seen as underutilised resources. The research problem of the project is: how contradictory and negative emotions can ethically and sustainably be used as sources not merely for improving customer experience and working climate but also for growth, innovation and new business models? The multidisciplinary NEMO project contributes to both theory and practice of the business value potential related to contradictory and negative emotions.

The NEMO project will be carried out during 2014–2015 in partnership with Turku School of Economics (TSE), Tampere University of Technology (TUT) and Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS). The project consists of several case studies conducted in three sub-projects as follows:

“Opportunities in Tears” (TSE), Research question: How to transform customers’ negative and contradictory emotions into new business opportunities?
”Intangible Liabilities or Assets?” (TUT) Research question: How negative and contradictory emotions influence intangible assets of the firm?
“Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!” (TUAS), Research question: How negatively biased discussions in social media can be used in improving customer experience and as a source for product and service development?

The NEMO project is based on several theoretical foundations such as complexity thinking, knowledge management, intellectual capital, user-driven and open innovation, service science, communication technology, psychology of emotions, sociology of emotions and customer behaviour analysis.

The project involves around twenty firms including SMEs and large companies from food industry, grocer’s shop, financial services, insurance and banking, construction industry, pharmaceutical industry, consulting business, health services, communication, information technology and industrial design.

The total budget of the project is EUR 1 000 000. The project is funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (60%), research organisations (31.8%) and participating firms (8.2%).

The NEMO project in a nutshell

TUT Researchers:
Dr. Maiju Vuolle
Researcher Henna Salonius
Researcher Virpi Sillanpää