There is a lot of chatter about blogger and brand events, but there is an instance you should be aware of when you get approached by a brand. It is the hottest new marketing strategy that they are gravitating towards. The strategy is called House Parties.
Brands give you product to host a house party. Sometimes it is tons of free product for you & some goody bags for your attendees. (See my post here on the good and bad of house parties.) Sometimes it is a stipend for your time, maybe even a party budget, and product for your attendees. Whichever it is, social media mentions (tweets, posts and more) is expected before, during & after the party. No big deal really. It happens all the time at blogger/brand events. Yet, in these instances, it is just at your house.
Brands are loving this new social strategy. It creates a more casual, Mom-get together feel, with the punch of coordinated social media push. It creates the atomosphere of Moms getting together to create organic experiences with the powerhouse of their followers and fans watching.
So tell me. If one of your blogging buddies slips on your icy walkway up to your house for the brand party you are hosting, or causes an car accident because of the wine you served, does the brand “got your back”?
What does the contract say?
You don’t have a contract? They’ll help you though, right?
Well, no worries, you homeowner’s insurance will cover it!
Or will it?
You didn’t have some friends over for a wine & cheese party, my darling. Those tweets with the hashtag will give you away (and that stipend and party budget too.) You had a business event; chatting talking about product, with business associates talking about product.
Go call your insurance agent, and I’ll tell you what I already know. My homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover business events in my home. So if I held a brand event tomorrow, and someone got hurt, I definitely know that party budget, or free product, would not cover the legal fees. I also know the brand is not going to cover them for me either.
As @PhDinParenting stated, “Moms have a powerful voice. Use it to ask tough questions and demand answers, not just to get free stuff.” (11/07/12)
So, the next time a brand reaches out to you for “A wonderful opportunity to try new products and share your experience with your fellow bloggers in your home”, call your insurance agent. If you are a brand reading this? You may want to consider purchasing event insurance for the blogger if a house parties are an important part of your social media strategy. If you are not willing to pony up, don’t have it as part of your marketing plan. Why? The one thing about us lawyers, is that we often name a lot of people in lawsuit; including the company that instigated the event in the first place.
So bloggers and brands beware. House parties are fun, but they are a business event and the same protections should be afforded all parties.
Organically, of course.
Charlene is currently an attorney and is a former certified insurance service representative for 15 years. This post was not compensated. Charlene is also a Mom to a toddler and a four month old, which means she speaks in the third person and is sleep deprived. Thus, if you think this post is snarky, it probably is.