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Social Media Marketing Magazine Guest Article: Tips for Addressing Brand Misuse While Mitigating PR Backlash
12/14/2011
David A. Bell

Perhaps you’ve heard about Chick-fil-A’s recent “oops” moment. The company fired off a cease and desist letter to a Vermont artist over his use of and trademark application for EAT MORE KALE. The chicken eatery sent the letter in an effort to protect its EAT MOR CHIKIN tagline, but the letter sparked an outcry throughout Facebook and the blogosphere. It also led to an anti Chick-fil-A petition that has already garnered tens of thousands of signatures and a CNN feature story mocking the company.

Marketing professionals know that protecting a brand can be vital to its continued success. Cease and desist letters aim to persuade someone to stop brand misuse, without having to resort to a lawsuit. In the past, letters might fall on the desks of just the recipients or their lawyers. Social media now spreads many of these letters like wildfire. One overly aggressive notice could land a full-page blog post, thousands of re-tweets, and negative publicity. In some cases, this is unavoidable, and a strongly-worded letter is simply needed. In others, the public relations risk should be more heavily weighed.

Excerpt from Social Media Marketing Magazine, Dec. 14, 2011. To view the full article, click here.