I read with interest (and slight horror) last week an article about online retailer ASOS who had left bulldog clips in a photograph of a dress they were selling online. The clips had been used to make the dress fit better on the model and were clearly meant to have been edited out for the final shot, the error was spotted by an eagle eyed Twitter user who brought it to the brand’s attention. ASOS responded to say “ We’re sorry to hear the clips are showing in the picture, we’ll now raise this with our specialist team” which seemed a little like when my six year old apologises for something to be honest, he’s not genuinely sorry but he is sorry I caught him out.
The photograph appearing online as it did is a cock up no doubt about that, and when it comes to ensuring this sort of thing doesn’t happen there’s likely a marketing department, agency or variety of the two receiving a bit of flack about that right now but it’s also about the subsequent response and ensuring everyone is responsible for brand. Mistakes happen, but how your business responds when things go wrong, how those people on the front line represent your brand at that moment is incredibly important and in this case that half hearted response could be construed as a representation of how the brand as a whole feels about its’ customers. Not to mention the fact it blindly ignores other questions from customers about why the clips were there in the first place and why the garments need to be altered at all.
Branding is a long term investment and challenge and goes far behind beautiful visuals, brand is about every touchpoint with an organisation from the first to the last and it’s something which must be instilled in the people who represent your business from the start. The most successful businesses are ones led by brand and which have invested in developing their people in such a way that every customer interaction provides a consistent brand experience.
ASOS has recently been in the press having announced a policy of banning customers who serially return clothes, since the ‘bulldog clip’ debacle customers have been quick to point out that serial returns may not be necessary if the clothes weren’t adjusted to show a different fit, in the first place it’s also interesting to note that ASOS shares dropped 37% in December 2018, perhaps a good indicator that it’s time to get back to basics when it comes to brand and customer experience.
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