Last week, bloggers from around the world rolled into Park City, Utah, for this year’s Evolution of Women in Social Media conference, otherwise known as evo ’11
One of the event’s co-sponsors, beauty product maker Aveda, rolled out of Park City with some lumps.
During a session last Friday morning, titled “Working with Brands
,” Aveda’s director of global communications, Evan Miller, joined representatives from Edelman Digital and McDonald’s to discuss how companies and bloggers have worked together.
Miller sparked controversy when he explained Aveda’s position on blogger compensation: It doesn’t pay bloggers in cash for promoting the brand. A bold move, considering he was in a room of bloggers.
Here’s what one attendee had to say about it
One thing you do not tell a room full of bloggers is that you don't believe in PAYING them for the hard work they do promoting YOUR Company! Big No No! There was certainly a hush in the room until [attendee] Ted Rubin spoke up to defend the blogging process with regards to promoting brands and their products. Thank you Ted for being our voice. Needless to say, the incident spread like ... well, like a social media wildfire. And remember that manicure I got in the McDonalds suite? The manicurists were from an Aveda salon ... and they specifically took OFF their Aveda shirts after this happened. Hmmm ... what does THAT tell you?
Nathan Burgess, a PR pro and co-founder of PRBreakfastClub
blog, reached out to Miller, asking him to clarify his remarks at the conference. Miller told Burgess:
Since Aveda began working with bloggers in a PR capacity it has abstained from compensating them with cash payments. Aveda has offered bloggers compensation in the form of Aveda.com gift cards, product, and salon/spa services. Aveda's digital marketing team has conducted, on occasion, more extensive campaigns with bloggers in which it has compensated via monetary payment.
When Miller explained the company’s position to conference attendees, he was merely restating the company’s position. In that case, Burgess wonders, why would Miller bother to mention it at evo, where it was sure to spark controversy?
I was asked by evo organizers to talk about best practices for bloggers when working with brands. Since it's something Aveda has always practiced, and other brands seem to follow suit for product review-type/one-off blog posts, I felt it apropos to mention that bloggers shouldn't always expect monetary compensation from a brand, although some type of compensation can be requested. Some brands do it, some don't. Aveda is one that doesn't compensate with money for PR purposes but does provide in-kind compensation. But I believe it's something that—especially a newer blogger—should be aware of.”
Should brands pay bloggers to write about their brands? It’s an important question, which Burgess tackles on PRBreakfastClub
Read his post here.