The Role and Ethics of Community-Building for Consumer Products and Services
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The Role and Ethics of Community-Building for Consumer Products and Services

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  • In a nutshell: questions raised = big questions / what the entire chapter is about!Kruckeberg and Starck argue that public relations is the attempt to restore and maintain the sense of community lost in contemporary society.
  • Here’s the problem…
  • BIG IDEA = responsibility. It’s PR practitioners’ job
  • At the end…In a nutshell: Today’s consumer communities go far beyond traditional marketing and advertising
  • This means that organizations’ responsibility to society is great, and PR practitioners’ responsibilities have also increased
  • #1 Basically they say that the history and definition of public relations is WRONG (inadequate)#1 Traditional view doesn’t account for larger social forces operating w/in our social environment (comm, transportation, globalism, multiculturalism, technology)
  • #1 Most people think of themselves belonging to one primary community – in actuality in today’s society most people belong to many diff. communities. #1 This ‘sense of community’ is evolving over time as ease of communication is greater due to technology#2 For this to happen, communication is required#2 An individual controls his or her membership in a community by how much they are involved in it
  • #3 This is very important today b/c of diversity and specialization of individuals’ roles in communities#3 People are in many communities, but usually think of one community as being their primary community#4 Not as true today b/c of communication technologies#4 New ways of communication actually result in a higher level of participation
  • #5 idea behind this is that a society’s institutions are the foundation upon which communities can be built#5 Institutions are essential to channel people’s actions to build communities (that themselves become institutions)#6 this means the cultural characteristics that distinguish community members from those outside their community (ex: Amish, hippies)#6 these cultural values can be spread outside community and adopted by the larger society
  • Mentioning these b/c they may be helpful in understanding the approach to consumer communities
  • Elitist and exclusionary = because members distinguish themselves from mass society through their use of the product or service
  • #1 community members + corporation nurture enthusiasm for the product or service#2 belief in product or service is almost religious / those who abandon the product or service (i.e. community) are heretics#3 members create and share their own meanings, symbols w/in community. Also shared values in relation to product or service#4 behavior as it relates to product or service is shared. Rules of behavior could be strict, might become rituals
  • #5 identity created w/in consumer community can be greater than in an individuals’ other communities #6 their power goes way beyond that of normal customers#7 self-explanatory#8 brands create bonds among those in the community who would otherwise not come into contact w/ one another
  • #1 question isn’t how PR distinguishes itself from marketing and advertising#1 instead, how does PR define itself to best serve the need of orgs and their stakeholders#2 to distinguish PR from marketing/advertising, must be looked at theoretically
  • #1 make sure members and orgs are aware of common interests#2 help individuals in community overcome personal alienation, make them feel welcome and included#3 help organizations assume the role of creating that sense of community#4 self-explanatory#5 this means self-fulfilling communication (persuasion, advocacy)#6 self-explanatory#7 self-explanatory#8 self-explanatory
  • #1 Consumerism, good or bad, Is here to stay.#2 this is part of an organization’s corporate social responsibility
  • #1 big issue is Elitism. Does being in one community detract from membership in others?#1 b/c membership is based on consumerism, a member could question their identity in this community#1 might compare value b/w consumer community and another that has greater value to society#2 yes – in societies w/ history of marketplace economics..#2 but in societies w/ new emerging markets, this can be dysfunctional#3 consumer communities are voluntary in their membership#3 the orgs creating product or service have lots of influence over their members#3 orgs SHOULD consider themselves simply another member of the community, not the ruler or leader
  • #1 encourage positive benefits#1 minimize or eliminate potential negative outcomes
  • Basically this chapter presents no new theories, just says that it’s necessary
  • Basically this chapter presents no new theories, just says that it’s necessary