Jack Daniel's: The Alcohol Company Bringing Politeness Back Into Business


Respect and politeness are rare - but incredibly valuable - commodities in the business world of 2012. Whether this spawned out of the influence of our generation's upbringing or whether the values were simply swept out with the changing tides of the market are up to debate.

Yet, now more than ever, being respectful and polite in all forms of interaction are critical for success in any industry, especially since these values are in such low supply but such high demand. Jack Daniel's, the infamous industry-leading alcohol company, is leading this front by making respect and politeness a golden rule throughout the corporation.

Here is a interesting story from Jack Daniels itself, providing a case study for the ways in which politeness can make or break your success:

The Tennessee whiskey maker recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to independent book publisher Lazy Fascist Press and author Patrick Wensink, informing them that the Jack Daniel’s-themed cover of Wensink’s novel, Broken Piano for President, violated its trademark.

But instead of asking Wensink to immediately change the cover, the company said it was “flattered” by the imitation and asked only that a new cover be commissioned if the book is reprinted. “If you would be willing to change the design sooner than that,” Jack Daniel’s wrote in its letter, “we would be willing to contribute a reasonable amount toward the cost of doing so.”

It is worthwhile to note that companies rarely treat trademark violators this kindly. David Gooder, managing director of the chief trademark counsel for Jack Daniel’s and its parent company Brown-Forman, recently spoke about the company’s good ol’ fashioned Southern hospitality, even in tough situations.

Why are you so nice?

Are infringements like this common?

Are most violations innocent, like this one?

And yet you still treat the person with respect? 

Does this tactic ever backfire?

Have you heard from the author? Is he going to change his book?

Why aren’t more companies as polite as Jack Daniel’s?