The Social Deconstruction of a Paradox: Using Social Theory to Succeed within a Niche Market.

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Authors
Letzmann, Andrea
Issue Date
2002
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en_US
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When a new business tries to introduce a combination of ideas that seem conflicting, deconstructing the social meaning of those concepts is necessary to the ultimate goal of creating a more full public understanding. Innovative businesses might need to destroy the social meaning of some of their components in order to be defined in new and more cooperative terms. Business, until now, has continued on with its innovations without the supplement of theoretical explanations of social acceptance. Working businesses often ascribe success and failure to random factors, unaware of the social processes at work. It seems logical to apply social theory to business concepts in order to enrich marketing plans with consideration for the patterns of society. I will apply these theories to a business, Ope’s healthy fast food, for the purpose of providing an example for the enhancement of a marketing perspective. Ope’s is a new restaurant that is pioneering the blend of traditional notions of fast food, with health food and vegetarian practice. There is a dilemma in presenting this idea to the public. The phrase “fast food” combined with either the word healthy, or vegetarian, is a paradox in the minds of modern Americans. All of those terms in one concept is almost paralyzing to consumers. In order for the public to accept the establishment, the paradox would need to be logically reconciled. Social theorists Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann introduce reality as an objective construction of human knowledge. Reality is a social construction with parts that must be maintained by the collective society. The responsibility of maintaining social reality is broken down into roles by which people are identified. Role identities, even stereotypes are important to the project because these social expectations and definitions are powerful limiting factors when introducing a new concept to the public. Role identities tie in the sociological notion of systems of meaning, psychological theory of cognitive typification and business practices of niche marketing. People have certain associations with different kinds of people, political practices, or types of environments and do not necessarily possess the capacity to overlap those categories. This mentality is unforgiving, though widespread, and if not approached in the correct manner, could be the destruction of an innovation.
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