When Pete Wiltjer offered me a front-row seat to the rebranding of his company, I didn't realize it would also be a front-row seat to a catfight. But that's what seems to have broken out in the wake of his crowdsourced logo project.
Since Wiltjer chose his new design last week, our blog comments have seen more sniping than the last 20 minutes of Full Metal Jacket. It's come in all shapes and sizes, mostly from people who are put off by the process or who just flat-out don't like the design. He's more than happy with the results either way, but seeing the backlash has given him yet another chance to show his clients he's willing to take his own advice."This goes to taking my own medicine," he says. "If somebody wants to write a nasty letter about you, but they don't want to identify themselves, then you don't have any choice but to ignore it. It's like negotiating with Nurse Ratched--you're just going to end up angry and frustrated and nothing good is going to come from it."
Wiltjer says he'll use his blog to further reflect on the crowdsourcing experience. His blog is also where clients can keep up with him for the next few weeks as he builds his company's new website. It's one of several Web 2.0 stop-gaps he's putting in place that will also be a big part of the finished site. He's opened a fan page on Facebook, a company profile on LinkedIn and started a company Twitter account to go along with his personal one. It's also part of his long-term strategy to educate clients about using social networking tools in their businesses.
As he ratchets up his social networking presence to keep himself in the loop, Wiltjer's spending plenty of time at the other end of the spectrum while he waits for his new site to go live, which should happen in about three weeks. His new logo now adorns a paper (paper!) newsletter, and he's been spending plenty of time working the phone and taking coffee meetings. "It's almost like a bit of freedom because I don't have to worry about [the website] right now because it's not there," he says.
For a guy who refers to e-mail as "old-school," being stuck on the shoulder of the information superhighway with his keys locked in the car is tough to stomach. But for some of his clients, it's a welcome reprieve he doesn't want them to get used to.
"One of my clients was saying, 'What's wrong with e-mail?'" he says. "But now you have to pile on all this other stuff. Whether they're reluctant to get involved or not, they're doing themselves a disservice at this point if they're not."
As he goes forward with his website redesign, Wiltjer's also found an intriguing way to show off his green side. He's always been the guy who turns off the lights every time he leaves the office, but now he's taking it a step further, using darker colors in his site design because they tend to use less energy.