Shopper Marketing and Customer Experience Management

we believe it takes an inspiring story to make people buy

Mike Jeffries was bold, let him be

So what is with the whole backlash at Mike Jeffries CEO Abercrombie and Fitch about???

Chronology of events:

  • Mike Jeffries made a statement in the year 2006 – “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong”
    This statement has been dug out now and seems to have caused an uproar of how target marketing can work against a brands or how A&F is a bad brand
  • Book written by Robin Lewis, called “The New Rules of Retail”. released in December 2007
  • May 2013 – Video on youtube ridiculing him of these words
  • af
  • News that sales have declined 17% and stocks are off by 8%
  • Facebook apology
    A note from Mike, our CEO in May 2013:
    I want to address some of my comments that have been circulating from a 2006 interview. While I believe this 7 year old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context, I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense. A&F is an aspirational brand that, like most specialty apparel brands, targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers. However, we care about the broader communities in which we operate and are strongly committed to diversity and inclusion. We hire good people who share these values. We are completely opposed to any discrimination, bullying, derogatory characterizations or other anti-social behavior based on race, gender, body type or other individual characteristics.

Give the guy a break:
He was honest and BOLD. Too bad if you dont see how most brands are doing the same thing. Honestly tell me how many brands make apparel that flatters the ‘not so caltwalk slim’? Have you been to Zara with a some holiday weight, you will come ont wanting to wither hit the guy or get a donut. Wake up, they ALL DO IT.

The number of people I have met customer and friends included who got to brands that make apparel for plus sizes. Think of how many such people you know. In fact there are certain brands that make their money only because of the large sizes they offer.

And oh what a shock it is to know they burn their stock instead of donating it to the poor. Here is some news for you ALL luxury brands burn their unsold or damaged stock. It is not because the don’t care for the poor, it is because they have a brand to run and a demand and supply curve to manage.

Dear whoever you are,
Firstly what was your first sign? The hot store representatives didn’t give you a clue about the brands positioning?
More importantly, I must give it to you for the fantastic work you have done on making the story sharable and ensuring it is shared. But I hope you are aware that this story will die and the brand will continue to sell, so not so good a job in identifying the story.

Businesses must beware of how quick and easy it is to craft and share bad stories. Do you have a plan in place. Listen to the stories your customer is talking about and you could well be able to avoid misunderstandings before they become too large.

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