If you don’t feel like you’ve ever been a citizen-actor yourself, explore one of these examples instead: Barneys accused of racism; Chick-Fil-A accused of homophobia; SeaWorld accused of animal cruelty. How is the company using Public Relations to address the accusations? Are their actions sufficient?

When I teach Principles of Marketing, I make a point of discussing the importance of “citizen-action publics,” which your text calls “consumer internet activists.” Like any public, they affect a company’s ability to do business. Whether motivated by dissatisfaction with a company, or simply a sense of justice or fairness, citizen-action publics have become adept at using the power of social media to spread information and organize public opinion. When a company is judged to have acted poorly, the result can lead to unfavorable impressions and even sustained boycotts of the company.
This week, I’d like you to tell us your story. Are you now, or have you ever participated in a consumer boycott? Is there a company you consider to be so unethical or harmful that you choose not to spend your money there–and encourage others not to as well? Briefly tell us the details and your reasoning. Then explore how that company is using (or maybe not using) its Public Relations efforts to address the issue. Are their actions sufficient?

If you don’t feel like you’ve ever been a citizen-actor yourself, explore one of these examples instead: Barneys accused of racism; Chick-Fil-A accused of homophobia; SeaWorld accused of animal cruelty. How is the company using Public Relations to address the accusations? Are their actions sufficient?

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