Lululemon has a little trouble with too much transparency, but reacts with transparency and attempts to rebuild.
Lessons Learned From The Lululemon Wunder Under BlunderI admit it. I am a Lululemon loyalist and was so excited to find a brand catering to active women. I found the brand after observing the funny little logo on the pants and tanks at my local yoga studio and investigating the brand and styles.
Although I quickly realized I had been in Lululemon stores in the past and thought their prices were too high for workout clothes, I finally took the advice of a fellow yogi and decided that I am willing to pay for quality workout gear being that I workout every day of the week (and sometimes twice).
After discovering the brand and stocking up on the basics, I was very happy with the clothing’s performance and decided to ditch my other workout duds and become exclusive…until the news broke of the see-through pants.
I was watching Good Morning America and saw them report on the issue and I was very concerned that I may be a victim of the see-through pants plague. I checked my Wunder Under crops (one of their most popular pant styles) and thought I was in the clear…until I went to yoga and the yogi behind me explained that she got a view she didn’t pay for during most of the class. Whoops.
So this unfortunate Wunder Under blunder got me thinking a little more about the company and I took a look at their company history and overall interactions and responses from their community. Since Lululemon knows they have an engaged audience (they recruit brand ambassadors from each store who head up some of their social media campaigns – check the mile a day campaign here) they are very active in the social space and do what they can to leverage their audience. The community is loud and members do not hesitate to voice their opinion, which seems to be good and risky.
As we know, with social media and community management, we are doing just that – managing. We cannot control what others say or do, but only how we, as a company, respond and interact. It seems that Lululemon keeps their cool and carries on.
So by reviewing how they responded to the issue and what they’ve been up to since the dissatisfaction with their far too revealing pants and change in leadership, there are five key business takeaways from their response strategy.
1. Keep your integrity by keeping calm. No one likes the company that blows up and makes scene (check out the Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro Facebook freak out). Actually, everyone likes that company, but only because it becomes the bud of pop culture jokes and serves as the fuel to the firestorm of late night comedic acts and punny ecards. Don’t freak out, don’t lose your cool and you won’t be that company.
2. Never respond with “no comment.” Silence is NOT golden in the age of 24-hour communications and constant connections. When a company goes silent, everyone waits for the response and has plenty of time to prepare to pick it apart. The quicker a company can grab the bull by the horns and start explaining or fixing, the better and quicker they will recover. This can include responding via social, issuing a formal statement, or releasing that news story before angry or disappointed consumers can take center stage.
3. Empower advocates to do what they do best. No matter the situation (well, for the most part), your company should have a handful of die-hard advocates who will go to bat for you in any situation. Use them. Use them nicely, but use them to your advantage and get them talking. Third-party validation is far more powerful than personal testimonials so once you have some big voices on your side, you are stacking the deck in your favor.
4. Curate and manage, don’t overwhelm. The company who pushes and pushes a repetitive message is the one who may lose lots of friends. Message fatigue is a ongoing problem from brands who lack variety in their communication. The message begins to look canned and loses authenticity and genuineness. Instead, respond, interact, and keep it real.
5. Be honest. This takeaway is far too often overlooked, but as we know, consumers want and appreciate honesty. Businesses are also understanding that dirty laundry always makes an appearance and it’s much harder to clean it up after it’s revealed. It’s also much easier to control the message and build the narrative when you’re responding proactively in lieu of reactively.
This entire situation could have lead to a huge disaster, but Lululemon stepped up to the plate and is currently working to rebuild the brand, it’s reputation, and strengthen costumers relationships.
Once those sales numbers and earnings are announced, we will know if their efforts were successful!
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: