The power of publicity (both online and in the press) for aiding business was demonstrated almost poignantly in last week’s papers.
Walsh Family Foods founder, Maurice Walsh, invented (and patented) the Spice Burger over fifty years ago. The family sold the company in 2000 but not before the uniquely Irish fare had become an intrinsic part of chipper repertoires nationwide and beyond.
The company came upon hard times recently and had to be placed in receivership. The announcement in the Irish Times last week of the cultural and culinary loss of what appeared to be one of the many tragedies the recession has wrought created a massive public reaction.
Boards.ie, Ireland’s largest discussion forum, featured many popular threads with thousands of readers publicly demonstrating their grief on the loss of the company’s most (in)famous product.
Blogger’s wrote gastric obituaries and one even published a spice burger recipe for mourners. Radio stations were plagued with phone calls and the press produced pages of commentary.
The net result of this joint crusade between citizen and professional journalist alike is that the spice burger has earned a reprieve two weeks after its departure was announced. Orders flooded in and Walsh’s receiver allowed to company to re-open on a limited basis to capitalise on the coverage and support in a last ditch attempt to return the business to viability.
The lessons of this are clear to any struggling business. Brands that were fostered and managed over time may one day save a business, and coverage in the widest sense can boost sales dramatically. Recognition online and in the media at large saved the spice burger from its final fry.