Customers

November 25, 2008

Since Deere and Company manufactures and sells such a wide variety of products they have an equally wide variety of customers or publics.

Anyone can be a customer of Deere and Company. They have a large commercial and residential market where they sell equipment and merchandise to individuals for their own personal use or to landscape companies or businesses.

They also sell a variety of merchandise that can be bought from a number of retailers. Many people who have probably never used any of the equipment made by the company wear their hats or t-shirts. Also available from John Deere are many home decor items. these include picture frames, blankets, and other collectibles just to name a few.

Children are also one of John Deere’s publics. They have many products available for children. Some of these include clothing, bedding, books, toy tractors and other equipment, and toy models of real equipment that children can ride. They also have a line of products based around the character “Johnny Deere” and his friends.

Another public of Deere and Company are those individuals who use products produced by the agricultural department. These products are produced for individuals who farm on a large scale. All the products in this line are made specifically for agricultural purposes and are marketed to the individuals who make their living farming.

Yet another public of Deere and Company is construction and Forestry. These branches of the company market specifically to people in the construction and forestry industries. These are both highly specialized industries and have a specific population. Most people don’t even know what most of this equipment is so the market for this type of equipment is very narrow.

Another large part of Deere and Company is the golf equipment they sell. Again this is a very specialized market. Only golf courses need to purchase this equipment.

Deere and Company also does business with the military and governmental agencies making those groups part of John Deere’s public.

Information taken from John Deere Website

PR Models

November 25, 2008

Based on the research I have done concerning Deere and Company I believe that they use either the two way asymmetric or symmetric model of communication. The company’s main website has plenty or opportunity to contact them. There are separate pages for investors seeking to contact someone or who is seeking general information about the company.

I was unable to find anyone from Deere and Company on Twitter or the contact information for anyone who works in the public relations department of Deere and Company. Based on the information I was able to find it is hard to say whether they operate under the two way symmetric or asymmetric model. Based on the core values that the company operates on if I had to make an educated guess I would say that they rely more on the two symmetric model. They not only receive information from their customers but they use that information to make necessary changes to their company.

Information taken from John Deere Website

History

November 25, 2008

1837 John Deere fashions a polished-steel plow that lets pioneer farmers cut clean furrows through sticky Midwest prairie soil.

1838 John Deere, blacksmith, evolves into John Deere, manufacturer. Later he remembers building 10 plows in 1839, 75 in 1841, and 100 in 1842.

1843 Deere and Leonard Andrus become “co-partners in the art and trade of blacksmithing, plow-making and all things thereto…”

1848 The growing plow business moves to Moline, 75 miles southwest of Grand Detour. Moline offers water power and transportation advantages. Deere chooses a new partner, Robert N. Tate, who moves to Moline and raises the rafters on their three-story blacksmith shop by July 28.

1852 Deere buys out his partners. For the next 16 years, the company is known variously as John Deere, John Deere & Company, Deere & Company, and Moline Plow Manufactory.
1858 The business totters during a nationwide financial panic. Maneuverings to avoid bankruptcy shuffle ownership and managerial arrangements. John Deere remains titular president, but managerial power passes to Charles Deere.

1859 Charles Deere takes over at age 21, and runs the company for 49 years.

1861 Civil War begins. Midwest farmers and their suppliers prosper during the war years as Army demand and European crop failures boost crop prices.

1868 After 31 years as a partnership or single proprietorship, the concern is incorporated under the name Deere & Company. There are four shareholders at first, six within a year. Charles and John Deere control 65 percent of the stock.

1876 Noting sagging business prospects and skyrocketing bad debts, the company institutes a ten-percent wage cut. A brief strike ends and workers return to work on the company’s terms. The “leaping deer” trademark appears.

1886 John Deere dies in Moline at 82.

1907 Charles Deere dies. William Butterworth, his son-in-law, becomes CEO. The company establishes a non-contributory pension plan for employees with 20 or more years of service who have passed age 65.

1912 The modern Deere & Company emerges. It consists of 11 manufacturing entities in the US and one in Canada, and 25 sales organizations—20 in the US, including an export department, and five in Canada. The company also operates a sawmill and owns 41,731 acres of timberland in Arkansas and Louisiana. Harvester Works built in East Moline.

1923 Deere launches the Model “D”. A success from the start and the first two-cylinder Waterloo-built tractor to bear the John Deere name, it would stay in the product line for 30 years.

1930 Consolidations leave only seven full-line farm equipment companies: John Deere, IH, Case, Oliver, Allis-Chalmers, Minneapolis-Moline, and Massey-Harris. Deere and IH dominate most product categories.

1932 The Great Depression hardens, forcing massive layoffs, pay and pension cuts, shortened hours, and a temporary end to paid vacations. A 1920s savings innovation, the Thrift Plan, eases the burden for some employees. John Deere continues group insurance for the unemployed, lowers rent in company housing, and starts “make work” projects.

1935 John Deere, strong in wheeled tractors, and Caterpillar, dominant in tracked tractors, join forces to sell each other’s products, especially in California. Strong at first, the link weakens with time, breaking finally in the mid-1960s.

1942 Charles Deere Wiman accepts a commission as an Army colonel. Burton Peek succeeds him as interim company president. Before returning to Deere in 1944, Wiman briefly directs the farm machinery and equipment division of the War Production Board.

1943 Deere makes military tractors, ammunition, aircraft parts, and cargo and mobile laundry units during the war. About 4,500 employees serve in the military, some in the “John Deere” Battalion, a specialized ordnance group that sees service in Europe.

1955 William A. Hewitt is elected president and later CEO following the death of
Charles Deere Wiman, his father-in-law. He will direct the company for the next 27 years, the last representative of the Deere family to do so.

1958 The John Deere Credit Company, financier of domestic purchases of John Deere equipment, begins operations.

1962 John Deere marks its 125th anniversary. Construction begins on a product-engineering center at Dubuque, Iowa. Company buys a majority interest in South African Cultivators, a farm implement firm near Johannesburg.

1964 The Deere & Company Administrative Center opens. Designed by Eero Saarinen, it will win many architectural awards. Goals of the company and the principles behind its basic policies and procedures are outlined in the “Green Bulletins”.

1971 “Nothing Runs Like a Deere” advertises snowmobiles, a new product of the
John Deere Horicon Works. The slogan lasts far longer than the snowmobile line, which is sold in 1984.

1979 Employment reaches an all-time high of 65,392. Sales top $5 billion, earnings $310 million, both records.

1981 The John Deere Tractor Works in Waterloo becomes fully operational. It wins an award for excellence in using computers in U.S. manufacturing.

1982 Robert A. Hanson succeeds retiring Chairman William A. Hewitt.

1985 John Deere Health Care, Inc. is formed. Its subsidiary, Heritage National Healthplan, grows by century’s end into a health-care provider for more than 700 employers and over 400,000 members in five states.

2000 Hans Becherer reaches retirement, and Robert W. Lane is elected CEO. Deere acquires Timberjack, a world-leading producer of forestry equipment. A new tractor plant is opened near Pune, India. Credit offices are established in Argentina and Brazil. Deere is granted banking license in Luxembourg, allowing John Deere Credit ability to finance equipment throughout Europe.

2007 Deere & Company stockholders approve a two-for-one stock split, increasing the number of common shares to 1,200 million shares. A new tractor manufacturing facility is acquired in Ningbo, China. Deere & Company completes its acquisition of LESCO, Inc., a leading supplier of lawn care, landscape, golf course and pest control products. John Deere is chosen by Ethisphere magazine for its list of the World’s 100 Most Ethical Companies.

Information taken from John Deere Time line

Company Overview

November 25, 2008

Deere and Company, better known today as John Deere, was founded in 1837. It was originally started as a one man blacksmith shop. John Deere has since grown into a worldwide corporation that employs approximately 52,000 employees worldwide. While Deere and Company has expanded greatly from its humble beginning it is still operated today with the same core values that the company was founded on back in 1837. Those core values are integrity, quality, commitment and innovation.

Deere and company is divided into four main departments. Those departments are agricultural equipment, commercial & consumer equipment, construction & forestry and credit. These departments along with the support operations of parts and power systems make up the John Deere family.

John Deere is the world’s leading manufacturer of farm equipment. The company offers a complete line of farming services and solutions with products primarily sold and serviced through the industry’s premier dealer network.

John Deere also produces and markets North America’s broadest line of lawn and garden tractors, mowers, golf course equipment, and other outdoor products. John Deere Landscapes provides irrigation equipment and nursery supplies to landscape-service professionals across the United States.

The construction and forestry division of John Deere is the world’s leading manufacturer of forestry equipment and is a major manufacturer of construction equipment in North America.

Finally, John Deere Credit is one of the largest equipment finance companies in the United States and has operations in 17 countries. It provides retail, wholesale and lease financing, and offers revolving credit and operating loans. John Deere serves customers in more than 110 countries, always abiding by World Trade Organization guidelines.

Information taken from John Deere’s Website

Blog 3: Groundswell

November 20, 2008

The Fortune 500 company that I have chosen for my project is Deere & Co., better known as John Deere. This company does use the Groundswell in some areas but could probably incorporate in more ways to make it more effective.

One area of the Groundswell that I found Deere & Co. to be using is “energizing.” I found a website called John Deere Fans. This is a website where one John Deere fan post “everything John Deere at one site.” People can read what this fan has to say about products and the company in general as well as post there own comments. Much to my surprise there are several blogs out there dedicated to the love of all things John Deere.

This represents energizing because it is an existing community much like the LUGNET society that is mentioned in the book. However as far as I can tell this is completely separate from Deere & Co.. They may want to consider a program like the Lego Ambassador program to encourage growth of this existing online community.

Another way that Deere and Co. could benefit by energizing existing communities is by having a presence on Facebook. There are over 20 pages worth of groups dedicated solely to John Deere. Most support the company but there are a few negative groups. Being aware of both of these types of groups could be beneficial to the company. I did find there to be several tweets on Deere & Co. corporate matters from several news sources on Twitter. I also found a Twitter name of JOHNDEERETRACT however, it had no followers and was following no one. I was unable to determine if they were actually from the company or just a fan.

GRPA

November 12, 2008

Last week I attended the Georgia Parks and Recreation Association (GRPA) conference in Athens, Ga. During this conference while attending a session on how the market athletic special events I was surprised to hear one of the pannelist mention Twitter. She mentioned it in passing and then asked how many people in the room used it or had even heard of it. In a room full of professional I was the only one who was familiar with Twitter. I found this to be very interesting. The speaker went on to talk about how Twitter can be used as a marketing tool. I was very excited to know what she was talking about!

GRPA, like other professional conferences I have attended was not very student friendly. There were only a few sessions that applied to me as a student and those I feel would have been more appropriate and beneficial to a student graduating from high school, not college. However, even though the sessions were some what lacking I did really enjoy getting the chance to interact with professionals in that setting. I was very surprised, but proud, with myself for taking the initiative to walk up to several professionals there and introduce myself and start a conversation. From those conversations I have 2 great contacts about possible internships.

I think maybe my favorite part of the conference was the opening session where we got to hear “Radio,” and his coach, Coach Jones, speak. Radio, if you haven’t seen the movie, is a guy who has some kind of mental disability but became part of a high school football team. I really enjoyed listening to Coach Jones share the story of how he and Radio met and have stayed friends for so long. I also really enjoyed when Radio spoke. I’m not really sure what he said but whatever it was he was excited about it. There was a smile on his face and the faces of everyone in the room.

Blog Review

November 3, 2008

The first blog I reviewed was relentlessPR. I really enjoyed the way this blog was written. I felt like I was having a conversation with the creator. Some other blogs I have seen I felt like I was reading an academic paper or I was reading the transcript of a lecture. This blog was easy to read and comprehend.  I also enjoyed the variety of the content. Everything I read pertained in some way to the Public Relations industry, but it was never boring or repetitive. It covered a wide variety of topics within the Public Relations industry. I also found that the lay out of this blog was inviting and easy to read. the colors and pictures made it fun and bright but they were not over done or distracting.

The second blog I reviewed was culpwrit. I found that this blog was especially interesting to me because it discusses building a career which is where I am in life right now. It gave several good tips about starting a career in Public Relations. I think that this is a blog site that anyone looking to start a career in the Public Relations industry could benefit from. I liked that not only did this site provide young professionals tips for finding a job but it also provided links to places where people looking for Public Relations jobs can go to search for something that suits their needs. Again, on this page I liked the variety of content. On this site I saw tips, links, and even question and answers. I also liked the layout of this page. It was clean, simple, and easy to read.

Article Review

October 23, 2008

The article I read and reviewed is from Public Relations Journal. The article is titled, “How Blogs and Social Media are Changing Public Relations and the Way it is Practiced.” The article was written by Donald K. Wright and Michelle D. Hinson.

Since we have been covering the topics of social media and blogging pretty heavily in class, most of the material was information I had been at least introduced to before. However, I did gain a new perspective on the topic. One thing that was mentioned in this article that was new to me was the idea of the new press release. The article discusses how with the traditional form of news releases only the media is able to see them. The public only has access to what the media chooses to share with them. With this new form of press release, which i assume is online, anyone and everyone has equal access to it. Another thing I learned about from this article was how social media is affecting and interacting with the more traditional mainstream sources of media.

I also learned about some of the ethical issues that can arise from employees blogging about their companies. The article posed the question of wheter or not it is ehical for an employee to blog negatively about the company they represent. It also asks the question of wheter or not it is ethical for the company to monitor what their employees are saying about the company.

I think what surprised me most about this article was the ethical issue. In all of our discussions in class I don’t think that this has ever come up. It is certainly not something that I had thought about. I thought your blog, no matter what the topic, was your blog and restrictions could not be put on it by anyone. But now that the issue of ethics has been brought to my attention it makes me wonder. Is it ethical for a company to monitor what an employee writes on his/her blog? Is is ethical for an employee to speak negatively about his/her company on a blog?

I think that it is ethical for employees to speak truthfully about the company they work for. If that means that occasionaly negative things appear then maybe the company should see that as an opportunity to make changes. As far as a company monitoring what thier employees write, I think they should. They should read and consider the feedback provided to them. I don’t however think that it is ethical for them to ask employees to change or remove any information.

However, my opinion seems to be inconsistent with the data in this article. In 2008, when professionals were asked if it was ethical for an employee speak negatively of his/her company only 25% agreed, 52% disagreed, and the remaining 22% were uncertain. On the topic of companies monitoring and disciplining emplyees for speakin negatively about their company in their blogs 44% agreed that these employees should be disciplined for this while only 32% disagreed, and 26% were uncertain.

After reading this article I would like to know more about the ethical issues that employees blogging brings about. I think it would be interesting to see if there have been any actual cases involving these issues. After reading this article I am also more interested in how social media and mainstream media are interacting.

Wright ,D.K., & Hinson, M.D. (2008). How Blogs and Social Media are Changing Public Relations and the Way it is Practiced. Public Relations Journal . 2, 1-21.

One Week of Twitter

September 30, 2008

Before taking this class I had never heard of Twitter, it was a completely foreign concept to me. Since being a member for such a brief time I have not had the chance to fully explore all the possibilities that it might have to offer. I think that in the future it could potentially benefit me to continue my membership on Twitter if I had the time to devote to it. I think the reason I have not been able to fully explore it during this assignment is simply a lack of time. With all the other assignments, classes, work, and extra-curricular activities I am involved in I simply have not had the time to “play” on Twitter and become familiar with the way it works and find people to follow who are of interest to me. Aside from the people in the class and those that professor Nixon recommended I have not sought out anyone to follow.

I find the set up some what confusing. It is hard for me to pay attention to what everyone is saying, especially when none of it is directed toward me. It seems like I am getting bits and pieces of a conversation. Again, I will admit that I have not spent much time on it but from what I have seen it seems to be more of a social scene than a professional networking site. For example, there was a person who was updating the Twitter world of his wife’s labor. I doubt that I will continue to maintain my Twitter account after this assignment, but it might possibly be something I come back to later in my career.