Babblesoft founder Aruni Gunasegaram found herself in a position that any company would dread. She had launched a new product that she had hoped would be well-received by her target audience, mothers who breastfeed their children. Unfortunately, the product was immediately reviewed, and shredded, by Jennifer Laycock, a very popular mommy-blogger who blogs at The Lactivist. What happened next is a great lesson for companies wanting to handle crisis-management in the blogosphere.
Here's what Jennifer said about the software program, Baby Insights:
don't know about you, but the last time a family member had the gall to
ask me "what did you do all day" they got a talking to that made it
clear they were never, ever EVER to ask that question again. At least
not until our children were old enough to have children of their own.
Besides, when was the last time your friends and family members sat
down with you so that you could "proudly and confidently" show them
just how much time you spent feeding your baby in the last few days?
Am I the only one that wonders if this is a gag?
Understandably, Aruni was in a state of almost panic upon seeing
this. But what Aruni, and Jennifer did next, is a great lesson for
companies that want to interact with and respond to bloggers.
First, Aruni didn't get defensive and lash out at Jennifer. That
would have made a potentially bad situation a four-alarm disaster.
Instead, she contacted Connie Reece at Every Dot Connects, who was
handling her PR, to seek Connie's advice. Connie explains that
her credit, Aruni not only asked for advice, she followed it. She did
not respond in anger, but did her homework and learned something about
Jennifer, her blog, and her readers. When Aruni did add a comment to
The Lactivist, it was well received. She and Jennifer also exchanged
e-mails, establishing the basis for a relationship.
Aruni left a comment to Jennifer's post
and graciously accepted the feedback from Jennifer and her readers, and
calmly stated her reasoning for creating the product. That was the
perfect response as it made Aruni look like she was confident in her
But also notice how Jennifer reacted. In the comments section, while
some of her community agreed with her on the product's potential
utility, some thought she was being too hard on the software, and added
that they could see themselves using it.
Take the first step (it's free).
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