We live in an information society with the internet at our fingertips though broadband, DSL and mobile phones. We also live in a society that is comprised of consumers that have the ability to publish their words, thoughts and ideas in seconds through websites, blogs, and web 2.0 resources including micro blogging platforms such as Twitter.

Understanding and realizing that our customers are more tuned in and wired in than just a year ago is vital to protecting our name brand as well as tapping into the evolving consumer base we are attempting to persuade.

Over the weekend a valuable lesson was learned by a Fortune 500 company, and will soon be adapted across all channels of business relationships.

You see on Friday November 14, 2008 several wired in mommy bloggers took offense to a video advertisement that was on the Motrin website. The ad was geared toward “Baby Wearing Moms” and was rather insensitive to say the least.

A viral ground swell of disgruntled opinion towards the advertisement was fueled on the Twitter Micro blogging network. The Tweets continued and bloggers voiced their opinions.

By Saturday Night and into Sunday AM, 100’s of blogs and 1000’s of twitter accounts were active in their dismay of the Motrin websites and it’s marketing message. A viral and virtual boycott was formed and the public perception of the Motrin Brand sank lower the President W’s approval ratings.

By Sunday night and into Monday afternoon, the Motrin website was taken off-line to attempt damage control.  As of this post the site is back up with a Public Apology.

The lesson that should be learned from this account, is the your consumers have public voices, and monoritoring your Keyword and Brand Name can stop a landslide of public disgruntled behavior.  If the people at Motrin had a Simple Google Alert for their Brand Name, or set up and monitored a Twitter Search for their keywords and brand name, they would have been aware of the firestorm that was headed their way.  Motrin took down the ad 4 days after the incident developed into a Butter Fly Effect.

By monitoring and reacting, the Tsunami of bad publicity could have been avoided and damage control could have been set in place earlier than Day 4.

The several lessions to be learned are:
Know your market
Understand your market
Keep tabs on your Public Images via Google Alerts / Twitter Searches via Brand Name Keywords
and above all, never underestimate the power of a mommy, her keyboard, and a internet connection!