According to CNET News, the company Coach Leatherware has seen a virtual outcry of negative feedback along with some shocking images posted by online visitors for using animal fur in some of their products. The website article reports that the wave of comments from anti-fur advocates was most likely part of a campaign started by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to try to convince the company to stop using fur in their products completely. Previous PETA campaigns that were designed to encourage a change in behavior have been successful in the past, but Coach has not given in to the protests.
Coach is handling the protest by not arguing with the PETA posts. They removed any inflammatory or upsetting photos that where included in protesters posts, however, they let comments that were “negative” stand (“negative” meaning anti-fur comments that told Coach to stop using real fur). The company set their Facebook wall to “Coach posts” only, but they did not get defensive and try to defend their decision to use live fur. Instead, they allowed their community (Coach has over 1.2 million “likes”) who loves them to come out and support their brand with messages back to PETA right on the page. All in all, Coach stayed somewhat out of the fray and their fans had their back.
“The strategy behind this will vary based upon a variety of factors,” said Marketing Maverick Caroline Melberg. “If you have a great product or service that people love and you’ve built a community, then that community can come out in support of you when one aspect of your product is attacked. This is another reason why having a presence on social media is so critical. If you are a business owner, make sure to start building your community now before you need it and it’s too late!”
Learn from Coach’s virtual situation and put your brand’s social media to work for you!