One amazing aspect of social media is how, within mere days it can help bring a 7 year-long open-ended court case to a prompt closure. Lassonde, a mega Quebec brand has just experienced this first hand.
In 2005 Lassonde sued a small Quebec-based soap company for using the word “Oasis” as their product line’s brand name, Olivia’s Oasis. Lassonde, having their own trademarked Oasis brand of juices, decided to take legal action to protect their trademark.
For 7 years, Deborah Kudzman, owner of the cosmetics line, has faced a frenzy of courtroom battles, lawyer expenses and much stress over this trademark battle, until finally the public caught wind of it over this past Easter weekend. Suddenly an avalanche of support towards the cosmetics brand took shape in the form of scrutinizing tweets and comments on Lassonde’s social media platforms.
The public openly expressed their disgust at Lassonde’s decision to put such a small business – and fellow Quebec entrepreneur to boot – through such hardship over a chosen name for her cosmetics line – which is an industry entirely unrelated to the Lassonde brand.
By the end of the weekend over 900 comments had been posted to Lassonde’s Facebook wall and the Twitter-sphere had exploded with attacks for the brand’s unruly actions.
The outcome of such a social media attack
By Sunday Kudzman found herself in an unforeseen situation – especially after a 7 year-long uphill battle – when Lassonde announced that they would compensate Kudzman for all her legal expenses incurred in the dispute. Although no official amounts have been released, Kudzman has incurred over $100,000 in legal costs throughout the years.
After receiving the news of the settlement, Kudzman took to her Facebook and Twitter accounts to thank her supporters for helping her bring this long-lasting nightmare to a final end.
“This settlement is a direct result of the tremendous support of Quebecers. My family and I will be forever grateful. I’m deeply touched by the support I’ve received.”
Lassonde’s vice-president of communications, Stefano Bertolli, also released a statement on behalf of the brand in response to the settlement:
“We are happy that our recent attempts to arrive at an agreement have been successful and that we now have an amicable settlement. […] We never intentionally wanted to harm another Quebec business. It is essential that we protect our trademarks to avoid the creation of any precedents.”
Lassonde faces an uphill battle of their own now
After 7 years of silent litigation pursuits, Lassonde found themselves in an unprecedented situation when the news finally went public and the public turned to their social media channels to come to Kudzman’s defense.
Although many are voicing their opinion and forgiveness towards the brand, many others have decided to boycott the brand’s many products, at least until an actual check has been issued to the small soap brand.
Either way, Lassonde faces some major scrutiny within their hometown and it will take a lot of effort, campaigning and relationship-building for the brand to regain it’s previous status within the local market.
Social media has a major impact
It’s amazing what social media can do! For 7 years this lady has faced an uphill and discouraging battle with a mega enterprise, and within mere days it has all come to a fascinating end due to the support she received by means of social media. What was a social media crisis for Lassonde was a social media salvation for the young entrepreneur!
Have you realized the power of social media and prepared your brand with a social media crisis plan? What are your thoughts on this particular crisis and the way Lassonde responded? Share your comments with me below!
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.