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How fast can you respond to word of mouth?

Sometimes word of mouth just happens — and happens big — when you’re least expecting it.  Are you ready to respond?

Example: Michelle Obama was on Letterman, and she mentioned that her outfit was from J. Crew.  A priceless PR moment for them.  They had this page up almost instantly:


And Google ads were up the same day:


Lesson: Are you ready to respond when people start talking about you?

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  1. Grant Simmons November 16, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    How quick was that page up?
    You mention the Google Adwords PPC was up the same day.
    Those timeframes are speedy to say the least, in fact I find it incredible that they could move so fast and are actively monitoring *every* TV show.
    I am almost certain, given the speed with which the J Crew team moved that the moment was planned, anticipated or was at least preceded by a tip off.
    No disrespect to the J Crew team, I am somewhat skeptical of large companies having that nimbleness, oversight and quick legal / merchandising authority.

  2. Torley November 17, 2008 at 8:11 am #

    It’s not hard to monitor what’s being said about you and/or your company if you have dedicated, rabid people focusing on it as their job (as opposed to an afterthought). Even 1-2 people in a large company should/would be able to spot something of key importance in their radar and escalate it!

  3. El Gaffney November 17, 2008 at 10:54 am #

    This is great. Especially compared to how Motrin is currently dealing with the mommy mess it created with its own advertising. It’s important to recognize that brand doesn’t stop existing when you leave the office at 5pm on Friday. And it’s good to see a company realizing speed matters for seizing opportunities whether in a proactive or reactive way.

  4. Laura Roeder November 17, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    I hadn’t heard about this, fantastic example of how it pays to be nimble!
    @Grant – who knows what the situation was but there’s absolutely no reason they couldn’t get it up by the time Letterman was over. They already had the images of the clothes, they simply arranged them on a white background and added basic text. That graphic would not take more than 10 minutes to create. Make it into an image map, upload it – maybe half an hour tops. Things take forever when there’s a long chain of red tape (art director has to approve, head copywriter has to edit and approve, creative director has to throw their two cents in and approve, etc). This is a huge advantage of small companies, clearly J. Crew has figured out to circumvent that chain of command when the situation calls for it. Kudos to them.

  5. Jen Zingsheim November 18, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    Letterman tapes his show earlier in the day, before a live audience. There’s plenty of time for someone to get wind of the mention, escalate it, and turn it around.
    I worked for a furniture retailer that would occasionally get mentioned on Oprah’s show when Nate would do decorating segments, and stores would usually get some kind of email from corporate saying “hey, get ready for questions about x product.”
    Impressive, yes, but there is time to react.

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