My wife is a photographer. Maybe you’ve heard of her; if not, you will or at least should. Her name is Sarah and you can check out her website HERE.

About a year ago she had a picture go viral. This one…

Baby Angel Wings

When I say viral, I mean VIRAL! She posted it on here photography Facebook page on a Saturday night and when we woke up it had over 30,000 likes. Within a week it had reached over 15.13M people, received over 891,000 likes, had over 10,000 people comment on it, was shared over 43,000 times and her FB page fan likes went from 700 to over 10,000. It was amazing.

After that happened, she started getting messages from people telling her that other people and websites were using and posting her picture. Normally we would have welcomed the exposure, except for one thing. See that watermark at the top of the picture; people started cropping it out when they used it.

Every time Sarah received an email from someone telling her that her picture was posted without the watermark, she would contact the person that posted it. Most of those times people were pretty responsive and would either take it down, replace it with the watermarked image or at least post the link and credit my wife.  Even though most people were cooperative when Sarah would contact them, every so often she would encounter a person that was not. Most of the people who would give her a difficult time were private FB users or other medium-sized FB fan pages and in those situations, where they became difficult, she would just contact FB and that would typically resolve the problem.

Of course, she wasn’t able to address every instance; with over 15 million views, that would be impossible. Over the last year, those emails, from fans, have died down, but every once in a while, she’ll get one; which was the case last week.

Last week one of Sarah’s fans contacted her and told her that Inked Magazine had posted her picture, on their FB page, without the watermark. First off, INKED MAGAZINE?! Seriously cool. Second, how are you supposed to contend with a company that size? Their FB page has 6.6 million likes. So, my wife messaged them like she did every other time.

Honestly, when she told me I said, “What if they just brush you off? It isn’t like we can fight them over it and make them pay attention to us.” She didn’t have an answer, but messaged them anyway.

The response from the page moderator was pretty quick, super professional and completely understanding. They willingly replaced the picture, which had thousands of likes and shares, with the watermarked on and included the link to her blog. They also told her that they would rather build relationships with photographers than destroy them.

So what makes Inked Magazine stand out in this circumstance? The level of integrity they displayed in this situation. Undoubtedly they could have completely disregarded us or simply deleted the picture and left it at that. I mean, really, who are we? But instead they chose to showcase a level of integrity that few companies do.

To be clear, this isn’t about a “customer is always right” mentality. The customer isn’t ALWAYS right. Sometimes the customer is unreasonable and difficult and no matter what you do they are going to leave unsatisfied. In this case Inked Magazine decided that integrity in their service and building relationships is more important to them than a few “likes”.

Do you want a successful business? Make integrity a priority.

Bravo Inked Magazine!

What are some attributes that you’ve seen other companies display that made them successful?