I often share my thoughts on this blog and in the comments area of other blogs about the importance of large corporations taking the time to interact beyond their own communities and reaching out to smaller niche communities where conversations about their brands are also taking place.
Yesterday I decided to perform a little test to see if I could facilitate that reaction.
I placed a call to Walmart corporate and followed up with this email at 3:20pm:

Hello. My name is Angela Connor. I manage WRAL.com’s online community GOLO.com and recently spoke to Ashley Hardee in media relations who suggested that I use this email address.
It is not uncommon for our community of more than 10,000 members to share their experiences and there have been several instances where
Walmart has come up.
In one particular blog, which was posted today, the blogger is discussing poor customer service at one of your photo studios and will likely have great influence on other members with this account.
You can find the blog here.
It sounds to me as though there may have been a scheduling mix-up that caused the problem and I think if someone from your organization got involved in the conversation or issued a statement that I can post, it might serve you well.
I am sure it is not your practice to engage in all of the conversations taking place on the web, but this may be a good place to start.
Please let me know if I can help in any way. I do hope to hear from you.
Angela Connor

I received this response just 30 minutes later, at 3:50pm:

Good afternoon, Angela. Thanks for the e-mail.
Obviously, the experience detailed on your site isn’t one that meets our expectations. That said, the PictureMe Portrait studios are an independent business which leases space from Walmart in many of our stores (much like a McDonald’s or Subway do from the convenience dining aspect of our store experience). Your inquiry would be better directed to PictureMe, which is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based CPI Corp. (cpicorp.com).
I don’t have any contact info for their press office and it wasn’t readily available at their website, but I did find a name and number attached to one of their investor relations news releases:
Jane Nelson, CPI Corp.,
Hope this helps!
Dan Fogleman, Sr. Manager, Media Relations

I then posted a blog in the community titled: A response from Walmart sharing the e-mail response from Walmart.

It was greatly appreciated and now the community sees me as even more of an advocate for them, and appreciates the time I took to send it. I sent Walmart a link to that blog so they could see the feedback from the community but I also indicated that there was no need to respond a second time.

I think we’re on their radar.

I will do this more often, and I think you should too.

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