This post is about brand principles and morality and standing up for what you believe in, rather than selling your soul for greater blog traffic and likes. It also discusses what we consider to be animal abuse.
What is HARO?
HARO stands for Help A Reporter. This means that reporters & journalists send in requests for information on upcoming stories and people respond.
So far I haven’t found it to be particularly helpful and most of my experiences have been reporters treating bloggers badly and not giving them the credit for content or photos but I do stick with it just in case one day we might go viral!
I like to live in hope lol.
What is a brand?
Simply a brand is the image that a company, business or individual wants to portray to (potential) customers and how they treat the customers they already have. It can be something as simple as a customer service agreement right down to the quality of products they’re sourcing and selling.
Our brand image is about presenting budget travel, trying to be adventurous, being honest with you about our experiences, being environmentally friendly, promoting responsible and sustainable travel.
Standing up for principles
Having principles can be tough. In a shiny world of social media fakeness, it certainly doesn’t make you popular if you stand up and make a point against the grain of mainstream.
The question I always ask myself is; can you hold you head up high and be proud of the example you set your kids, if you don’t do what you think is right?
The answer is always no. How can we strive for a fairer world if nobody speaks up? Why should somebody else bear the responsibility of speaking up? What if nobody speaks up?
When this happens, I am reminded of this poem from 1946, written by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
We have a responsibility to leave this world in a better place than we found it and we will endevour to do this regardless of how unpopular that makes us ‘snowflakes’.
So what happened?
I responded to an anonymous request on Haro for Mexico family bloggers. Uh-Oh. Sadly there are lots of anonymous requests and whilst it’s not something I agree with I thought I’d respond because our adventurous month in Mexico fit ideally with the criteria.
Unbeknownst to me, I had already blocked the reporter on social media for using the follow-unfollow technique which I feel is disingenuous and not inline with our brand. I didn’t become aware of this though until she contacted me to say that the story had been accepted and would be published over the weekend.
Then what happened?
We WERE featured alongside other bloggers, which frequently happens and I have no problem with, however the family featured above us had ‘trained baby dolphins‘ in Jamaica and had a photo of themselves in a pool holding a dolphin.
We frequently blog about animal abuse and I have strong opinions about marine life living in the ocean – you know, that rather large expanse of water they’re supposed to live in!
So I decided to try and be as constructive as I could be and challenge the post writer. Here’s a copy of that message.
They did what?
Obviously both the writer and the owner of the site it was published on didn’t like my email and they chose to remove us and our story from their publication.
At the time I was stunned that a publication had actively chosen to pursue a story containing such a horrific example of torment, now I’m angry that people still think it’s ok to keep animals in a pool.
Have they not watched blackfish? Do these people not have a brain or a conscience? It makes me so sad for the future of our planet and the future of the species. Actively promoting dolphin abuse to your kids, is not ok!