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Jayne Cravens

Great post! I address this subject as well: For Nonprofit Organizations: How to Handle Online Criticism; will definitely link this from my own resource (if I can figure out how -- blogs continue to confuse me).

Beth Kanter


Run into Prince Harry?

Thanks for stopping by and providing a pointer to your resource.

Do you have any immediate specific advice in this situation?

Paul Caplan

Heh, (design) wisdom of crowds. Sounds like a Chevvy Tahoe [] situation. Put the fonts, pictures etc out there and get the community remixing and mashing up the logo, the identity et al. Make clear that there is no guarantee any will be taken on as the official one but all will be left on the site available as open source, creative commons resources. Sure some may (Tahoe-like) critiques, possibly even against the brand, off message but heh there will (Tahoe-like) whole creative and passionate communities creating new ideas, connections and relationships with the organisation and its issue. What you might end up with is an even better (and cheaper) logo or not. What you will certainly end up with is mass-ownership, real stakeholder engagement. Open source design leading to stakeholder engagement.

Kivi Leroux MIller

I love this example! So much so that I just blogged my response here:

The basics: Respond with respect and humor. Offer to include them in a new design project. Tell staff to relax.


Embrace it! You will never ever please everyone. The best thing you can do is recognize the folks that disagree (that's 90% of what they want anyway - to be heard), and poke a little fun at yourself along the way to show that you don't take yourselves too seriously. I would write a blog post and display all the Safe For Work takes on the logo, explain a little about why we did what we did, and thank those who disagree for caring so much.

LaDonna Coy

Hi Beth - as a social change agent this post is thought-provoking, thank you. Here's my take on it.

First, take a step back and try to understand what has happened and is happening, and why?
Second, listen. Is there an underlying issue besides the logo itself?
Third, would an authentic apology and engaged conversation help to surface the best actions and renewed commitment to the goals each holds dear?

An example: A few months ago, the Hershey company came out with a new line of Icebreaker mints, packaged like street drugs. For drug-free coalitions and law enforcement all across the country - this was a huge issue. Many letters/emails written and met with the equivalent of the seagull image, until finally enough voices/pressure that Hershey opted to discontinue the product.

I thought how sad it came down to a stand off. I'm sure it cost them a lot to discontinue the product and yet how much more it could have cost in terms of customers. While there are many lessons, the one that seems most important here is that its all about engaging people early and often through social media.

Amy Sample Ward

Great job, Beth! I would respond to the group by starting a conversation about the process of re-branding and explain the steps that the org went through to come to the new logo/branding/etc. Then, as it should be a conversation, ask for feedback on the process (since you already have feedback enough on the result), and how this community of constituents would have liked to be involved in shaping what could have been a different end result. Then, tell the communications team roses and thorns from BOTH conversations, so there is something more constructive to discuss than just, "people don't like the logo!" And instead you have something like, "this community felt that there could have been an opportunity for voting or commenting on a variety of options earlier in the design process and doesn't particularly like the logo we have now -because of these reasons- but thinks a logo -with these attributes- would better fit an organization with a mission like ours." Isn't that an easier pill to swallow even though it's the same issue? I think so!

Jayne Cravens

Beth wrote me and ask to actually say what I would do. But as I look through the responses, I think Holly nails exactly what the response should be. It's realistic, it's sincere, it takes everyone into account, but asserts the organization going with its choice (if that is, indeed, what they want to do). At least a few volunteers get alienated by "their" organization when a policy or logo changes -- it happens frequently, just as for-profit businesses may lose some fans when they change a product or phase one out. Such is the nature of both sets of businesses.

I laughed though over re-reading "What do you do as the social networking manager?" I've never worked with an organization that had a "social networking manager." Many of the orgs I work with wouldn't know what such is. Another one of those jargon gaps between the tech savvy and a lot of nonprofits. That said, the response should most definitely NOT be just one person's to make; everyone at the organization that has anything to do with the public should participate in brainstorming how to respond and how to proceed.

Beth Kanter

Great response and thanks for the jargon detector ... I drink too much koolaid.

But you didn't answer the really big question . did you run into Prince Harry or have you left Afghanstann?

Jayne Cravens

I've long left Afghanistan (I left in August 2007). Now I know that while I have Beth's blog in *my* RSS reader, she doesn't have MINE in *hers*. (sniff)

Beth Kanter

Jayne: You're in my reader (along with 999 other blogs) one thing that I do sometimes is mark read - when I'm feeling overwhelmed - it doesn't mean that I don't love you!! Off to catch up on your blog!


Great post, Beth. And one of my all-time favorite, spot-on Flickr photos.

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