I’ll be the first to admit that I was slow to recognize the value of social media. I’m now a convert, for a variety of reasons, but a recent story drove home the necessity of a social media presence for a brand in today’s world.
According to USA Today, Walmart “featured an ad on its website early Monday offering a wig cap for sale in which the color was described as ‘n—r brown.’ The ad has since been removed and Walmart told the Huffington Post that it has determined that the product was sold by a third-party seller posing as a company out of the United Kingdom.”
Walmart was quick to respond on social media, and the company from the United Kingdom, Jagazi Naturals, also quickly posted the following statement:
We woke up this morning to the news that someone has used our name Jagazi to list an item. Please beware that we are reporting this to as many people as we can and trying to get all the listings pulled down. The real Jagazi is a 100% black company for black people. People have often used our brand name to try and sell their fake products. Please be aware. Very sorry for all the distress this has caused. We are feeling the pain here as well. Most shocking!
They’ll probably never find the piece of human garbage that abused Jagazi Naturals’ brand in such an ugly manner, and even if they found the culprit, legal remedies such as a trademark infringement suit or even a preliminary injunction obtained a few days later would have been cold and expensive comfort if Jagazi hadn’t used social media to immediately get its message out.
Jagazi probably never dreamed someone would do something so horrible, but in the digital age, we can expect the unexpected. The more robust your social media presence, the more effectively and inexpensively you can defend your brand against tarnishment by some anonymous internet abuser.
Talcott J. Franklin maintains a dual practice in intellectual asset protection and securitization litigation. He is the author of several legal treatises, including Protecting the Brand (Barricade Books 2003). He is the principal of Talcott Franklin P.C., a national law firm with attorneys licensed in DC, GA, KS, MD, MI, MO, NC, NY, TX, VA, and WV.