An Austin-based public relations firm with a strange name broke an important industry rule and was forced to learn its lesson the hard way this week.

Strange Fruit Public Relations, a firm specializing in hospitality and culinary PR, came under a social media firestorm after Twitter followers make the link between the firm’s name and a poem made famous by Billie Holiday about racially motivated lynchings in the Deep South – as bodies hanging from trees were referred to as “strange fruit” in the poem.

The founders of Strange Fruit knew about the poem, but it wasn’t until after the story was covered by USA Today and the Washington Post that the owners pulled the website down, closed its social media accounts and changed the name.

The company’s lack of brand awareness compromises an important element of the public relations industry. Brand awareness is driven by quality research, which allows firms to make informed decisions and not distribute misleading statistics or information that could be harmful to the public or to a client’s reputation.

The company’s obvious mistake is choosing the name Strange Fruit, but this scenario highlights the importance of brand awareness and corporate integrity. (might need more here)

Read more here.