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Consumer relations is often confused with marketing, and in fact it is important that the public relations professional work with the marketing professional when developing goals for a consumer relations program.

However, consumer relations differs from marketing in that the goals of the program are to develop positive relationships with consumers rather than to sell a certain number of a product.  It is necessary to note, however that the assumption is that more positive relationships with customers will result in higher sales.



Build a Home America
Maxwell House Coffee Company with Ketchum

When community-based coffee bars began emerging across the United States, Maxwell House saw a need to develop a plan to improve customer relations an re-establish itself as a "community-oriented" coffee company.

The plan developed into a nationwide campaign to build 100 homes with 100 families in 100 weeks.  The company pledged $2 million to Habitat for Humanity to begin the project.

Donations were then accepted to match the amount.  A 37-city building tour was planned and assistance was provided to Habitat workers who needed help.

In addition, a huge groundbreaking ceremony to begin the tour was planned.  The new homeowners would be presented with the property as well as one of the walls of the home after it had been built.  The ceremonies were often emotional an continued to generate media coverage throughout the campaign.

The plan was an overwhelming success.  Consumer surveys showed that Maxwell House had more than succeeded at touching emotions with consumers and motivating more than 70,000 volunteers to assist with the buildings.  In addition, Maxwell House succeeded at improving it market share.

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