A Public Relations-Driven Evolution

Consumerism to Community Support

“Consumerism” has been, in some circles, a dirty word. A one-dimensional definition of the subject implies that people spend a lot of money on goods that do not provide any lasting satisfaction or happiness (Heath 2001). In today’s society, this definition labels “consumerism” negatively because people’s purchasing behavior presumably defines their self-identity; (1) planned and perceived obsolescence leads people to replace goods before needed (Utaka 2006); (2) consumerism leads to wasteful spending (Tilman 1999).

The negative label extends to the communications business as well. It implies that marketers and their communicators can manipulate the public into wanting ...

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