In Public Relations, there is something referred to as the “Government Model” and it is for this, that companies should have an Integrated Public Relations professional tracking and being aware of what is being said about their company. In the “old days” this was done with clipping services. Nowadays one can use a monitoring agency and /or searching online to find out what and who is saying “what” about your company. This is done by searching the Internet, Blogs, Forums, and of course Twitter and Yelp as a start.
This is important because if you don’t take control of the beginning of what could turn into a rampant negative public relations mess, you will have a nightmare that may turn Freddy Krueger-esque and later morph into having a life of its own, with serious legal consequences for your company.
A friend of mine, who is an independent artist and someone from who I have purchased art from, posted this story about artist Stevie K and her company, Tru.Che and her United / World of Love line, who recently posted a blog entited, “Not Cool Urban Outfitters, Not Cool.” It has gone viral.
Check out Amber’s blog post (My Aim is True) entitled “Anatomy of a trending topic: How Twitter & the crafting community put the smackdown on Urban Outfitters.” She provides a map of how the tweets went viral, and at the point of her blog post, where it was already being picked up.
Case in point — Social Media may be great for companies who want to engage and connect to their customers, but the use of Social Media by consumers can force companies to be more responsible by forcing transparency regarding possible and actual breaches of ethics.
Urban Outfitters has posted their response here: http://blog.urbanoutfitters.com/blog/urban_outfitters_responds_to_false_allegations_by_necklace_designer
Where ever the truth is for Urban Outfitters, I cannot help but think about how things would have gone down for Engineer Robert Kearns and his stolen invention of the automatic intermittent windshield wiper, had Social Media been in play, or other countless inventors who experienced intellectual property theft. We’re not in Kansas anymore and this can be a good thing.
Last but certainly not least, check out this article of Regretsy about the many other Etsy artists who have sold similiar pendants. It gives one room for pause…