Debbie Bolduc of Franklin Savings Bank first brought this story to my attention back in October 2009, and it quickly made its way into our presentations as a powerful example of how building a dedicated tribe through social media has tremendous, far-reaching, and even unexpected benefits.
Short summary: In September of 2009, Vermont’s Rock Art Brewery got a cease-and-desist letter from Monster Energy Drinks (subsidiary of the multi-billion-dollar Hansen’s Natural Beverages). They wanted Rock Art to stop using “The Vermonster” as the name of one of its microbrewed beers. Rock Art found out they could fight it in court and have a good chance to win, but it would likely bankrupt the comparatively small-pocketed company in the process.
A month and a half after receiving the C&D letter, thanks to thousands of people joining a Monster boycott movement on Facebook and nearly 2 million tweets on Twitter about it (which also got the attention of one of their US Senators), Monster dropped the case. Or, as CNN succinctly puts it, “Matt [Nadeau, Rock Art's owner] used social media to publicize his plight and settled the dispute amicably.”
Yes, that’s right – this social media groundswell also led to television coverage on major news outlets, including this piece last week on CNN. And the best news – as you’ll hear at the end of the report – is that Nadeau leveraged the power of his tribe to create real change in how small businesses like his, yours, and ours can protect their trademarks.
And if the embedding isn’t showing you the video wherever you may be reading this, here’s the link to watch directly at CNN.com.
So…what do you want social media to do for your business today?