Kinga Polynczuk

Kinga Polynczuk

Participant in 2014
Work history COMMUNICATION ASSISTANT,
HELCOM (BALTIC MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMISSION) 2012-11 – 2013-11
- developed a social media strategy and compiled a media presence and image report, both presented at the staff meeting
- participated in the website implementation task force, managed and updated a new HELCOM website, making it more dynamic and modern
- established and managed the webpage of the EU‐funded “Baltic Impulse” Cluster, operational within the framework of EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR)
- designed and produced the Baltic Impulse Newsletter (September 2013), distributed internationally through major communication channels of EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region
- wrote numerous press releases and newsletter stories
- designed and edited various PR materials related to HELCOM activities, including the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 2013
- represented HELCOM at international conferences, also through running a HELCOM stand
- produced reports to be presented to the HELCOM highest authorities
- participated in the evaluation panel assessing proposals related to the communication activities to be carried out in Russia
Study history DOCTORAL PROGRAMME IN SOCIAL SCIENCES,
SUB-PROGRAMME: MEDIA AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATION,
UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
2014-01 TO PRESENT
Research topic: Creative input of consumers in the sustainability brand storytelling in social media

MASTER OF SOCIAL SCIENCES WITH SPECIALISATION ON MEDIA AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATION (FINAL GRADE: 4),
UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
2011-09–2013-04
Thesis: A million DIY projects. The Netnographic Study of Pinterest as a Creative Community for Women.
Grade: Eximia cum laude approbatur
Granted the Master’s Thesis award by the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences
Received International Student Grant in September 2011

BACHELOR OF JOURNALISM AND SOCIAL COMMUNICATION (FINAL GRADE: 4.5),
UNIVERSITY OF WARSAW
2008-10–2011‐07
Thesis: Daily Newspapers in Politics, Politics in Daily Newspapers. Study based on "Helsingin Sanomat" and "Turun Sanomat”.
Grade: 5
Received a scholarship for academic achievement throughout the year 2009-2010

Phd Projects

2014

Creative input of consumers in the sustainability brand storytelling in social media

A few decades of neoliberalism as a prevalent economic system have resulted in certain assumptions about consumption and status of the consumer. These can be summed up in the view of a passive consumer, whose sole fate is to make purchasing decisions motivated by somewhat obscure self-interest, through choosing among a variety of goods and services supplied to the market mainly by multinational corporations. In this context, advertising has been the essential tool in the competition between multinationals in profit maximisation, often occurring at the expense of the environment and social justice. Nowadays, these patterns have started to erode: consumers are becoming active and creative, thereby causing advertising, unable to accommodate for this shift, to give place to “brand storytelling” in social media, which allows consumers to more actively engage with a given brand. Simultaneously, the motivation behind consumption-related choices gradually more often exceeds the individual self-interest: consumers more eagerly engage with “sustainability brands”. I define sustainability brands as – usually – small businesses, operating in line with the principles of sustainable development.

These changes, thus far, rarely have been linked and studied together. The present research approaches them jointly through exploring the creative input of consumers in sustainability brand storytelling in social media. In so doing, the study primarily investigates the ways in which consumers contribute through creative acts to sustainability brand storytelling, as well as motivations driving these contributions. Concurrently, the research addresses the affordances of social media that enhance consumers’ creative engagement. Furthermore, the qualities of sustainability brands that can render them compelling to consumers are being investigated. At the same time, sustainability brands are studied critically as potentially paradoxical market-based solutions to the problems caused by the market in the first place.

The research analyses three sustainability brands: (1) Freecycle Network (established in the US, currently global in reach), (2) Costo (Finland), and (3) Pizca del Mundo (Poland). The brands represent respectively the domains of: (1) collaborative consumption, (2) zero waste, and (3) fair trade. In order to provide comprehensive data, the brands cut across both sectors and geographical locations.

To best achieve the objectives of the study, netnography has been chosen as a primary research method, with participant observation and qualitative in-depth interviews as the main methods of data collection. The research material, in turn, comprises mainly of the user-generated content retrieved from different social media communities formed around the analysed brands.

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