sábado, 19 de octubre de 2019

Rihanna vs Victoria's Secret: Or why you should do your social listening homework

Here's a quick post I came up with after looking at some recent events happening in the world of fashion. 

News was that Victoria’s Secret cancelled its -once super popular -tv show for this year. Most likely because of this

Meanwhile, Rihanna announced that this year's Savage x Fenty lingerie show is now streaming through Amazon Prime. In case you didn't know, Savage x Fenty is Rihanna's new venture -another one away from the music business-, a lingerie brand for women of all kinds.

In other words: Fenty is in, Victoria is out. 

Diversity is among Savage by Fenty's core values.

I think the Victoria’s Secret brand had never generated as much uproar as in the past 3 years. It certainly had haters and critics before, but advocacy on social media was just not as strong as it is today, making the complains shine through. Or maybe, the body positivity movement was not as present as it is in today’s social conversations. Whatever the exact reason might be, all the planets aligned for a brand like Savage by Fenty to come to life, backed up by Rihanna’s powerful endorsement/involvement. It took long for society to come to this point, but the moment came. 

The situation surrounding Victoria’s Secret can be considered an interesting case study of why social listening is so important. If they had considered it on time, they would have been able to react opportunely to the demands of the audience. 

People want to see bodies that are more real; people want to see a little less perfection. And maybe they didn’t want the whole show to be created for the girl next door, we understand that the aspirational part is still important for a brand like this one, but at least they wanted a higher dose of real representation. 

How come the first model of color to walk their show with her natural hair DIDN’T HAPPEN UNTIL 2015

Of course, the brand can take on the excuses that they serve a specific target audience, that they have certain brand identity or standards. They could even claim that they don’t care if they lose a few customers that don’t agree with what they portray, maybe most of their customers agree with the way they think. 

But what cannot be ignored is the fact that when brands remain ignorant and so full of pride to respond to the public perception, the time will come when the public opinion will affect their reputation and ultimately their business. And even sooner, the time will come when a new competitor will rise to “offer the same” with the added benefit of taking what your brand has been ignoring and work it out to do better than you do. 

It is true that brands must have an identity, and that brands cannot please everyone, but doing social listening must help you understand the difference between having some haters  from witnessing a real change in the industry that might lead to disruption. 

So here's a free piece of advice for you: 
  • Check your comments and check them right. The good, the bad and the ugly. 
  • Make sure you have justified answers to the “Whys” you are being asked. 
  • Check the comments on the articles that talk about you on the media. Your PR efforts get you to the media, but the real people get to the comments. 
  • Make sure your team is DIVERSE. Bringing in people from different backgrounds is the only thing that will help your brand understand the opinions of your customers and the different meanings your messages can have to your audience, their struggles and their needs. 
  • Don’t think things will just pass. Keep on listening, and if the same claims persists on and on, then you MUST take action before it’s too late. 

I'm Yaneris Michel. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn to share more thoughts. 

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