So a few weeks ago I read a blogpost from industry giant, wally-world… I mean, Walmart, which I thought offered a very refreshing way to fire back at one of its critics. The critic in this case was New York Times columnist, Timothy Egan. Mr. Egan published an article full of ‘facts’ that shed America’s number one retailer in a bad light. Instead of ignoring the article (albeit an article pressed on a leading newspaper) or responding to the allegations in a press release (who really does read press releases anymore?), Walmart’s director of corporate communications, David Tovar, literally took a ‘red pen’ approach and began correcting the inaccuracies posted by the columnist.
The ‘edited’ report was then published on Walmart’s corporate blog. I invite you to read both.
In the column, Egan calls Wal-Mart a “net drain on taxpayers, forcing employees into public assistance with its poverty-wage structure” and argues that Wal-Mart could afford to pay its employees more.
Tovar hits back, citing “We are the largest tax payer in America. Can we see your math?”
As I often sit back and analyze both consumer behavior and a company’s strategic management, Walmart’s response highlights a few excellent points that paint an accurate depiction of today’s consumers. One such point is that a huge conglomerate like Walmart can appeal to consumers by using the same media consumers now use to communicate (blogging).
It’s no secret that people like people that remind them of themselves. Often described as ‘mirroring’ – where one party copies the mannerisms of the other in an effort to build rapport and assimilate with the other party, Walmart appears to be doing just that. In today’s digital age, we (consumers) often share our gripes, concerns, happiness, etc. through social media or other online forums. By including a witty, comedic and insightful response on their company blog, Walmart not only stood up for itself and destroyed the writer’s previous article, but the company did it through ‘our’ preferred forum… a blog!
What can we take from this?
It may sound like common sense or wishful thinking, but I would suggest that as you continue to operate your day-to-day operations, analyze HOW your consumers/clients/employees communicate. How do your competitors communicate with their target market? How do YOU prefer to learn about products (newspapers, television, mobile devices, desktop computer, etc.)?
Taking a step back and understanding just how your target communicates will help you deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time.
What are your thoughts? How do YOU feel about press releases? How do YOU feel Walmart should’ve addressed the article?
Thanks for reading, liking, sharing, reblogging!