Peter VanRysdam / Digital Marketing / July 16th, 2007

I'd Better Watch What I Say

So you’ve likely heard the story from last week about the Whole Foods CEO who posted anonymously on several sites about his competitor and what he felt was an inflated stock price.  If not, check it out here.  I’ll wait for you to finish.  Great.  Now his company is making a bid to buy Wild Oats, the very company that he worked to drive the price down on.

So what’s the lesson here?  If you said close all of your anonymous accounts on your competition’s forums and delete old newsgroup posts about them, you’re wrong.  Close, but wrong.  How about you focus on touting what is good about your company rather than what’s bad about theirs?  Sure, you’d be stupid to pass an opportunity to capitalize on a competitor’s blunder, but do it with some tact. 

As an example, Fresh Market (another Whole Foods competitor) shouldn’t run a campaign now about how unethical Whole Foods is.  Instead, why not talk about your company’s values and how good they are?  People will know what you’re referring to, and will appreciate the way you handled it.  Now how can we convince politicians to do the same?

OK, I’ve got to run now.  Got a lot of accounts to close and posts to erase.  What?  I didn’t say I was perfect!