not a typical community psychology topic, but I wonder what you think
about the latest opportunity for psychologists - branding.
We've got used to psychologists working in the media, fronting PR
research, or even becoming celebrities in their own right. But I
recently heard from a colleague who's been told about how
psychologists can get involved with brandnames (and presumably make
money into the bargain).
For example, you can sign up to be the resident psychologist for a
phone company, supermarket or similar. I've attached a newsletter by
one psychologist who is doing branding work (you'll need to scroll
about half way down to see the examples of products/branding). I'm
not including this newsletter as a dig at this particular
psychologist, but wanted to use it as an example of what I'm talking
about. (btw I was given this in confidence, it's okay to pass on, but
perhaps better if kept within this discussion list).
I guess my question for those of us working in community/critical
psychology, is whether being associated with brands is okay or not?
Many of us may be linked to charities, advice websites, or similar -
which sometimes could be blurred with promoting a product (for
example, when I give online advice for a magazine technically I could
also be promoting that magazine as a product).
But this feels different from deliberately working with companies as
their 'resident' psychologist. I guess I'm concerned about the image
this gives to psychology, the impact it could have on
research/practice, and what ideas it gives the public? Given they
rely on psychologists for advice or information, could that be eroded
by appearing to be sponsored by a company or product?
I'm not one for suggesting we go for objectivity in research, but
surely working for brand names must involve some conflict of interest?
Anyway, this is something that I've not really heard about until now,
but thought it might be worthy of discussion. If nothing else it
could inform a christmas debate where we could decide to argue for or
against psychologists as brand ambassadors.
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