Memo to blogger relations PR folk: Follow the example of Crocs
Living in Boulder, Colorado, I am surrounded by entrepreneurs and startups, but we don't have a lot of national brands based in our small town. There are two that you've heard of, however: Celestial Seasonings and Crocs.
The former makes tea. Really good tea. The latter? They make those ubiquitous rubber shoes with the holes punched in 'em, and a whole lot more.
As far as I know, Celestial Seasonings has zero presence in the social media world, but Crocs has George. George Smith, Jr., the head of its social media work (actually, I don't know his exact title).
A while ago George asked me if I was interested in receiving any of the new shoe lines that Crocs had introduced in the last few months and I said "yes". He sent them, shoes for my children as well as myself, I thanked him, and I also added the following postscript:
Now, tell me, George, what can I do for you/Crocs as a thank you for your generous gift of shoes to my family?
His response is one that modern public relations professionals should study and seek to emulate:
As far as doing something for me/Crocs - that's up to you. I didn't give you the shoes expecting anything in return. But if you feel there is a way that you can still be Dave Taylor and do something with us, let me know and we can work it out. Our objectives, for the most part, are really about showing everyone that we're not just that one shoe anymore. It's starting to tip toward that - so it's a good thing. Any way you feel you can help that is awesome! And if you need anything more from me to do that, just ask. But - don't feel obligated to do anything.
He continued with an interesting observation about a charity effort that the company is developing:
We do have our SolesUnited campaign that is about donating shoes to people in need domestically and worldwide. Still developing our rebranding of that - but if that's something you're interested in working on as well - that could work too.
And seriously - don't worry about anything. I'd rather have you feel inspired with a great idea than me offering up the boring things I think of. And if you never get that inspiration - so be it, at least you have shoes.
I have to again compliment George and Crocs on this response. It's straightforward, candid, and professional.
To be frank, there is a nuanced and implied contract between companies that offer up products for review and the independent reviewers, one that can easily subtly bias the reviewer to be more positive about the product than they would if they'd spent their own money on it. I've written about it before, actually. See: Pay me to blog about your products, for example, so I won't readdress the point here.
I will simply say nice job.
Posted by Dave Taylor at April 15, 2009 11:31 AM
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