Consumers are now publishers.

This isn’t so bad for smart and bold companies looking to gain greater brand equity, customers, and sales despite this communications renaissance. The reason I believe is simple: businesses are also now publishers/media companies.

When you recognize your consumers and your business are publishing entities, it can get fun and strategic.

Here’s a case in point:

Two days ago, a video hit YouTube.com called eHarmony Girl Really Loves Cats. Yesterday, Melissa McInerney at tbk Creative shared the video with me. It’s worth the laugh here:

http://youtu.be/_1GYb_L9CMg

It’s certainly humorous, but brought to question the legitimacy of Debbie’s plea for romance.

Yesterday, eHarmony was fast and creative to make an official response on their blog with the creation of their own homemade video:

http://youtu.be/sLZazN8QbYE

The video is witty and appears to the public as an act of social engagement – a fun response to an entertaining and harmless spoof.

Underneath the scene, however, it’s laced with strategic corporate communications.

From a public relations tactic, it’s brilliant. It quickly acts as a tool to manage the reputation of the brand by spelling out in no uncertain terms that eHarmony does not match cats with humans for dating.

From a brand strategy end, it delivers their brand promises multiple times, from the upper manager at the meeting that says, “We match people on 29 dimensions of compatibility” to the summary line at the end that reads, “But we do give you the best chance of being in a great relationship.”

From a marketing end, this response video has been viewed 2,684 at the time of this writing, and I don’t think this story has hit the Associated Press, the Canadian Press or Mashable.com yet. I think this story and turn of events has the potential to pick up a lot of eye balls (the blogging and news media world will likely pick it up).

eHarmony created timely content that is going to be viewed, shared, and reported on and because of that, I think they stand to gain a lot of equity out of this situation.

This is a great example of how companies don’t need to be helplessly at the mercy of consumers’ new publishing powers but can stand to gain when they become as creative and fun as the people doing the publishing.

Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a web design & social marketing agency that instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands. To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. Andrew can be followed on Twitter here.