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Brand Protection Overload: Abercrombie goes on offense

Posted on October 19th, 2011 · By Integraphix · No Comments

Brand Reputation Management

You’ve spent years developing your brand solution. You’ve spent even longer developing and maintaining your image. Now you’ve got to protect it. This is exactly what Abercrombie and Fitch, a ‘casual-but-elite lifestyle’ clothing brand is doing. Today, it was reported that Abercrombie is preparing to pay ’The Situation’ of the Jersey Shore an undisclosed amount of money to not wear their clothing on the show.

“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s (the previously mentioned ‘Situation’) association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans,” an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesperson said in a statement. “We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently awaiting a response.”

Even though they were named the Worst Recession Brand, due to their failing stores, they are apparently in talks with MTV and the rest of the hardy partying cast as well. Most businesses, at least small businesses, don’t have the cash handy to pay off celebrities they’re not fond of promoting their products, but what else can we do to protect our brands when they’re being dragged through the mud without emptying our pockets?

Have a Crisis Plan

This may be PR 101 for some of you, but surprisingly, most companies don’t have a backup plan in case their brand starts feeling the heat. As a Marketing and Creative Agency, we understand the importance of knowing what’s being said about you online. This is where online reputation management is useful. Social Media is an enormous influencer of brand image and you need to have a plan related to the business’s culture, personality and service. Your brand is not only your logo, as we’ve said before, and it’s really the entire experience of the brand that creates your image. If that image is tarnished by something like Jersey Shore, then you need to do damage control. A bad experience with customer service or even a damaged shipment could start a firestorm of poor customer reviews. Your carefully build image is now under-fire and what do you do? A response, perhaps not Abercrombie’s, is better than just a reaction.

Get Constant Feedback

As a business, you can’t run your business without getting feedback from your clients. There is a wealth of information just waiting to be discovered in your clients. Use that feedback to gain insight into future business decisions, promotions, advertising and any other way your brand is currently being received. The bottom line is this: learn how your brand image is viewed by your current clients as well as those who’ve chosen to go elsewhere.

Listen to Online Chatter

Online brand reputation management is a serious issue, and not only for large corporations. A small business lives and dies by its client base, just as Apple or Chanel does, and we are more vulnerable to dips in customer satisfaction than larger companies. Brand reputation management is more than simply replying to a few tweets. There are several free or low cost tools, that are available so you can monitor your brand name and anything associated with it on Social Media and other areas of the internet. Monitter is a wonderful Twitter monitoring tool. It looks a bit like Hootsuite, but isn’t Hootsuite.

No matter which method you use, what you learn on those monitoring channels can present great opportunities for change from your fans as well as those who don’t like you at all.

Integraphix, a Marketing and Creative Firm

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