Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Goin’ Postal Company’s Response a Good PR Lesson

I recently posted about my dismay that someone would name their company, Goin’ Postal. A couple of days after I sent my letter, I got a response by e-mail. They could have said: "We’re sorry you got offended. We didn’t mean to. We were just trying to be clever."

But they didn’t.

The full response is below. (I did check with them before blogging this. Sorry it’s so long, but there’s good reason to share the whole response.)

Dear Christie,
Hello!

Thank you for taking the time to write to us. The name “Goin’ Postal” describes what we do, as we offer a variety of shipping and mailing options to customers.

To date, we have received 14 correspondences from folks who felt our name might be deemed offensive, but we explained that quite the opposite is true. We are firm believers in karma/the golden rule and the power of positive thought. If you believe in your heart that you can change negative conditions, and if you are willing to expend the energy to effect that metamorphosis …that positive change will make the world a far better place. We hope that Goin’ Postal will soon become a household name that is synonymous with family values, low prices and old-fashioned customer service, and that the former, negative connotations associated with that phrase will be shed and long forgotten.

Our chain is a family oriented network of locally owned and operated stores, and GPFC trains all franchisees not only to participate in their existing community activities, but also to create new community events for the benefit of the people and pets residing in those cities and towns nationwide. Our stores make a positive difference in every local community where a Goin’ Postal store exists. In short, our stores are focused on working diligently to provide low-cost shipping AND to making every community a better place in which to live though the owners’ and staff members’ active participation in areas of interest to them.

Goin’ Postal Franchise Corporation is also committed to making the dream of owning a successful business a concrete reality, especially for those folks who don’t have the high dollar savings required for the expensive franchises out there. Our store owners are former homemakers, teachers, military personnel, folks who were downsized in their former corporate careers, civil servants, and regular folks from all walks of life. Speaking of civil servants…many of our stores are owned by current and past postal workers, and the United States Postal Service is signing up our stores as Approved
Shippers almost as fast as we can open them, so the USPS is obviously not offended by the name. Many of the customers at every store are also postal workers, especially at Christmastime when they need to ship gifts to their friends and families. We often receive thank you notes and letters from postal employees who are pleased that a once negative phrase is swiftly becoming a positive phrase, due in part to the new association between the phrase and our chain’s high caliber of customer care, community involvement, and low prices.

A little known fact is that the USPS (United States Postal Service) also owns several trademarks to the phrase “Go Postal”, and the USPS has registered to use this phrase on a line of merchandise to be sold in Post Offices. Please take a peek at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (http://www.uspto.gov/) listings
at http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=tjqull.4.2
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=tjqull.4.3
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=tjqull.4.7

While we get an occasional email from someone who is temporarily upset by the name (14 correspondences in 4 years), those folks usually understand that we are attempting to put a positive spin on something that was once only known as terribly negative. Also, the USPS obviously doesn’t think the name is a bad one since the USPS wants to sell merchandise with a very similar name on it (Go Postal), and we feel that the USPS should be applauded for working to turn the phrase into something positive, just as we are.

While our first store opened 4 years ago in Zephyrhills (Florida), which is just outside Tampa, we have only been franchising for 31 months. In just 31 months, our chain has grown to over 205 stores strong, and is growing daily. We seem to be a big hit across the entire country…with our franchisees, their customers, the carriers, and vendors.

We hope that you will stop by to visit with the friendly family that owns your local Goin’ Postal store, to perhaps join them at their local events (low-cost spay and neuter clinics, child safety and i.d. events, bike rodeos, family sing-a-longs, and more) to help them to make your community a better place to live…and to join them in rendering the global community a more positive place for all.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to us, and to ask more about our company. We hope that we will have the good fortune of serving you as one of our customers in the near future.

Warm Regards,
Dr. M.J. Price
Vice President, Goin' Postal Franchise Corporation

What an excellent example of public relations as shown by the company clearly being genuine and honest. They were obviously prepared for questions like mine. But more importantly, they had a clear vision in mind before choosing the name of their company – a vision that was both tied to and bigger than their specific business goals.

This response demonstrates:
• There was careful thought before choosing the company name.
• There is deliberate intention for good – rather than being gimmicky.
• There is buy-in from the very people who could most be offended by the name.
• The company is monitoring responses about the company name.
• The company is taking specific actions in communities to remove the negative connotations associated with the phrase, Goin’ Postal.

I am still tremendously concerned about insensitivity in the marketplace and entertainment industry.

But from what I’ve learned about the company, Goin’ Postal, and the response I received, I have turned from a critic to a fan in this case.

1 comment:

Jake said...

I'm apart of the Goin' Postal Family of Franchisees & I can assure you that the comments from our HQ is genuine...wacky name to some, but a great & unique business for customers & small business owners!

I have to pinch myself every now and again, because they are so nice, giving and helpful to everyone.