Social Reflection Series: Reflection in Social Marketing


This is the first in a five part series on reflection that will be released every Friday for the next 5 weeks. Friday is the perfect day for reflection and provides (perhaps) lighter reading than during the week!

Ok, so what does reflection have to do with social marketing? Well, as marketers we are highly involved in the process this is often lead to emotive responses and often increasing when people react in ways we do not like (and emotions should be involved to an extent in order to be human).



In this sense working in social marketing execution is difficult.  On the one hand you must use your social skills in only positive ways (which is not natural for anyone, as we all experience negativity to an extent), but also direct your social communication in a ways that meets a client’s objectives.  While at the same time you must also come across as human and real.  These are often contradictory influences.

As a result we will often find ourselves in situations that make us feel uncomfortable, deal with people we might not be used to and have to communicate in a way that is not in our nature.  This is fine, as again, we are all human.  What we need to be able to do however is find strategies of coping with emotion and frankly evaluating the social situations we are working in through reflection.  Essentially to ‘come to terms’ with how the interactions went, our response and how we felt about the situation.

This has great value in being effective as a social marketer and done well will help us manage the social dialogue being produced and become more effective at managing relationships with people.

This week we will be looking at the theories surrounding the practice of reflection.  Then over the next few weeks we will look at specific theories and how these are able to help us manage the reflective process and become more understanding of our place in the social sphere.

Introduction to reflection theory:

Theories of reflection seem sparser than in other research fields (excluding personality tests which do not focus specifically on reflection itself, but rather categorise or personality), especially considering that the topic of reflection is dealing with the personal construction of knowledge rather being a subject of knowledge.  This is because personal development research, in my view should take precedent.

Surely this warrants more investigation by theorists, as it may shed light on how knowledge, derived from theories, literature and other people is processed and applied.  Not only this, but it is at least as important to understand how people react and assimilate knowledge of the world, than it is a piece of knowledge itself.  Perhaps it is the apparent large scope of this that is a barrier to vigorous theoretical development?

Understanding the importance of this area is a valuable reflection in itself, as it is such a natural human skill that it is likely that many people are unaware of how it occurs or what benefit it is to us.  Furthermore an attempt at trying to conceptualise the process of reflection as part of ‘experiential learning’, may allow us to structure our reflection and its application both personally and for the work environment, as suggested in my initial thoughts on reflection.

Related Articles:

The Reflection in Social Marketing Series;

Part 1 – Reflection in Social Marketing

Part 2 – The Myers Briggs Indicator

Part 3 – Kolb and Fry’s (1975) reflection model

Part 4 – Johns (2000) model of reflection

Part 5 – Jarvis (1994) and Conclusions

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