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30May

Image Courtesy of The Telegraph

 

Fashion has always been the barometer for measuring each generation’s socio-political activity. It seems that with time, as the fashion industry climbed its way towards its present status of a Megaladon-like profit-generating machine – these zeitgeists have begun to show beyond the manner in which individuals choose to dress. Instead, they have morphed naturally into brands’ decision-making processes. Namely the production and marketing strategies.

Just recently the consumers were back at work and expressed their disdain for Kanye West’s anti-Semitic comments, following which Adidas has decided to cut all ties with the rapper. It is because of this latest example we have decided to discuss the options that consumers have with regard to expressing themselves to brands.

Because often times when the average consumer considers his/her place in this industry, they lack determination and accountability. Accountability for their power that is. But this article might offer some insights that turn that thinking around. Let us dissect for instance the reporting from one of the leading Trend Analytics services used by the leading fashion brands.

(Image Courtesy of Put This On)

 

With the data available to us right now through industry monitors such as LSN global which state that brands are aware that “only 8% of consumers are committed to the brands they buy” (Hawkins et al., 2019). Brands being aware of this are expectedly, equally as vigilant in their attempts to secure respect and commitment from as many consumers as they can. That is of course, by making them feel listened to.

As of now, it is reported that “58% of companies ask customers for feedback” (Hawkins et al., 2019) with that figure due to escalate in the upcoming years as brands are seen making shifts to find ways to link themselves tighter to communicate with their consumers, and most importantly respond.

Brands are actually attempting to go beyond customer service, and improve it to the point that consumers always have a point of real-time, personal contact with the brand. Done to ensure that maximum information is collected each time a consumer interacts with a brand.

The reporting of these trend-based sites is not only useful for brands but could be very important to consumers themselves, we can understand how to use this to our collective advantage. We no longer need to mistake brands for large corporations that are isolated from the conversation and have no interest in it. Instead, they are more vulnerable to consumer opinions than we assume.

Image Courtesy of LSN Global

 

Consumers are currently saying:

“I do not support anti-Semitic claims, therefore if you continue to carry this line I will not purchase from you.”

What consumers do not yet realise is that they could be saying much more. They could very well say “I do not support anti-Semitic claims, therefore if you continue to carry this line I will not purchase from you, but if you do not dispose of these products in a sustainable manner, I too will not return as a customer to your brand.”

There very much is space for consumers to begin;

  • Combining their demands. –  It is time that socio-political and environmental objectives get engaged simultaneously when consumers address brands.
  • Being detailed with their demands towards brands. Consumers very well could provide organized feedback to brands, with several points that they expect them to follow.

How would this work in practice? Let’s dissect the Kanye West and Adidas scandal as an example.

 

Image Courtesy of SHRM.org

 

As controversial as Kanye West is, not many were surprised as they witnessed his inappropriate comments against Jews, instead people got to the task quickly and gathered thousands of signatures on a petition for Adidas to immediately drop Kanye West as a partner. (Anguiano, 2022)

Following which of course Adidas came forward with a call to pull all existing products from its stores and notified the public that the contract with the rapper is in the process of immediate termination.

Although this is a victory in our eyes, we believe there are still follow-up questions to ask. Like how many of existing Yeezy products worldwide are going to be pulled from the stores, and where are they going to go?

Will the products be able to be re-injected into the supply chain and reused to make other Adidas products to avoid them going to landfills? Or is the brand willing to make a charitable drive for the homeless or less fortunate who could receive these items free of charge?

The way consumers are taking action already is impressive. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for improvement that will make the outcome more well-rounded and direct. For instance, that petition could have been riddled with details of how consumers see the brand’s sustainable disposal of the products, and two birds would have been killed with one stone.

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