Wednesday, 5 November 2008

What Not to Do

You’ve probably heard of What Not to Wear, the show where Stacy and Clinton outfit an unsuspecting fashion victim with a fresh new look that not only transforms their physical presence but boosts their self-esteem. Well, when I read this story from Julie Power at Internet Marketing Report I immediately thought of a new show one might call What Not to Do, for companies in need of a fresh new outlook on how to do business and connect with customers in an increasingly social media-driven world, hosted by Common Sense and Get With The Program.

Julie recently wrote that executives at Jack Daniels shut down a web site that Dave Child, one of their fans, had launched called because they thought it infringed on their trademark. The site - a Jack Daniels love fest - had built up quite a following and garnered more visits than any of Jack Daniels’ corporate web properties.

Scratching your head? I think Julie said it best: “Were they crazy? Doesn't every company want advocates like these? These are the rare handful of people who'll go to great lengths to tell the world how much they love your product or service.”

I understand the need to protect a brand and corporate image, but blocking the people who are passionate about helping promote that brand? Your customers and fans? Seems counterproductive to say the least.

Julie goes on to share an excerpt from Dave Child’s new blog, Added Bytes:

Still love Jack Daniel's? Umm. I know it should taste the same - they've not changed the recipe after all. Yet for some reason, I find myself drawn to alternatives...

Not a surprising conclusion to this story, but probably not the end result Jack Daniels really wanted. With the adoption of social media tools on the rise, and the power those tools provide to consumers allowing them to publicly share and influence, I think companies would be wise to join the conversation and help foster community instead of proceed down a path that disenfranchises the people with whom they want to connect. Somewhat akin to Stacy and Clinton telling you it’s time to dress age appropriate.

What do you think? Is your company wearing the wrong outlook?

No comments: