Today saw a huge uproar in the designer community. Moleskine, a company long known for classic note/sketchbooks, launched a “competition” for designers to design a new logo for their blog. Many of you may think, “so what?” The problem is that the design profession has been plagued by companies devaluing design and demanding “spec work.” Roughly defined, “spec work” is when a designer is asked to design without promise of compensation. Imagine if you were allowed to take home 50 cars, then only pay for one, but keep the rest. It’s exactly like that. Again, “so what?”
Moleskine successfully pissed off it’s primary audience (designers) by blatantly devaluing their profession. People are currently posting links to purchase competing journals. They’re pissed. They’re denouncing the product and brand. Judging by the 180+ comments on their facebook page as well as the buzz generated all over the internet, the damage is a PR nightmare. There’s a lesson to be learned here: Do not bite the hand that feeds.
In the restaurant world, every single customer is valuable with few exceptions. Just because one doesn’t spend 100s of dollars every visit doesn’t mean they’re less valuable. Our social reach has exponentially increased each person’s word of mouth impact. With one person being connected instantly to 1000’s others, when you make a mistake, the world will know. Sure, it’s not bad to make a simple mistake, but by being dishonest, covering up the mistake, or compounding it with an insult; you’re creating brand suicide the likes of which may not ever be able to be rectified. Like Moleskine.
Your brand is not “yours.” It is theirs; OURS. Anyone who tells you that your restaurant doesn’t need to worry about social media, new media or online media is a dinosaur who’s dangerously close to extinction and detrimental to your restaurant’s success.
Never bite the hand that feeds. Know them. Understand them. Converse with them and treat them like their humans, not a “target” or a “market.” Moleskine should have known better. Hopefully, others will learn from there mistakes.
Here is more info on the Moleskine debacle: http://antispec.com/hq/moleskine