There are things that get to me and this is one of them: Brands that apologize because they have to, but really are blaming the customer.
Exhibit 1: What happens across the border can still touch you
Remember Abercrombie and Fitch? The brand that blamed their customer for being too fat and wanted to cater to a supposedly exclusive audience. Did CEO Mike Jeffries forget that the people really buying their clothes are the parents of the kids? How many kids can afford clothes without their parents help? You wonder how the CEO of a brand so big, have the galls to be so blunt and harsh. And when the “apology” came, were we ready to forgive?
Exhibit 2: Lac Megantic, Quebec train derailment
Edward Burkhardt, the head of the train’s U.S.-based parent company blamed the engineer for failing to set the brakes properly before the unmanned Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train hurtled down an 11-kilometre incline, derailed and ignited in the center of Lac-Megantic early Saturday.
Look at Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway. The CEO was the founder and CEO of Wisconsin Central – a company where sixteen tankers jumped the tracks and exploded into flames evacuating the town of Weyauwega, Wisconsin, in 1996. This is a top down issue. Harry Truman famously said “The Buck Stops Here” but many CEOs of today consider themselves immune from any scrutiny and criticism as if they were an elevated caste.
Source: Lac Megantic: Railway’s history of cost-cutting
Exhibit 3: Lululemon’s excuse for see through pants “you’re buying the wrong size”
For the complete story click here.
Stop blaming the consumer and be accountable for your product. People have a choice to wear whatever size they feel comfortable in.
A brand is an embodiment of the people who run it and by extension the perception of a brand as being either bad or good is the reality of what the community at large thinks of it.
Think Blink Advice: Apologize because you are truly sorry about it. Don’t make it into a marketing glib. People are smart. Genuine regret gains genuine brand fondness.