Friday Freak Out – The Stupidity of Brands Like Claire’s

As larger brands and business get more involved with social media marketing, I’m starting to notice a theme: big names making some big PR mistakes.

The latest example of poor social behaviour is Claire’s Accessories. The fashion accessories chain was recently called out by Tatty Devine for its blatant plagiarism of several of their designs. So far, Claire’s has yet to officially respond to the accusation but that hasn’t stopped scores of tweeters, facebookers and the like to unleash a swarm of unfriendly comments on the matter. So much so, that Claire’s is now a trending topic. So, how has Claire’s reacted to the sudden attention of consumers everywhere? By deleting all negative comments and burying their head in the sand. Big mistake, Claire’s!

Word to the wise – social media is a two-way medium, so either get with it or get off it!

This comment was deleted a few minutes later

Do brands and businesses really think that they can receive all the benefit of social media marketing without needing to be held accountable? Social media is an amazing forum for staying in tune with your customers but it also gives those customers significantly more involvement in the way your business is viewed. Brands that ignore this really need to get a grip! All plagiarism issues aside, here is what Claire’s need to do today:

Be honest

There is a problem. They know it; we know it, so there’s no point in pretending it doesn’t exist. Be honest and at least say that you’re looking into it.

Speak up

Instead of trying to silence your customers, use your voice to address their concerns.

Say you’re sorry!

You were wrong to rip off the designs. You were wrong to not immediately respond to the issue. You were wrong to try and control negative comments on public forums. I think at this point, an apology is more than appropriate.

Save face

Now that we’re clear there is problem, you’re talking about it and you’ve apologised, tell me what you’re going to do to fix it. This is your chance to recover your public image. Make the most of it!

Do you have a take on Claire’s response? How would you handle this situation? Please add your comments and get in on the debate!

Stay tuned for more Friday Freak Outs!

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About Jenni Maley

Jenni Maley is a digital marketing professional and self-described Canadian gem. She is currently doing a digital marketing manager for MetaLab in Victoria, Canada where she is enjoying an abundance of sunshine after two years in Scotland. Though she admits that she does miss the chippy and easy access to fine Whisky. Check out Jenni on LinkedIn. If you care to, go ahead and follow Jenni on Twitter and Tumblr.

  • Marob

    Jenny I am not saying this could not have been handled differently, but the truth is Claire’s may well believe that their target customer base is not really concerned about ‘ripping off’ designers as their market positining is very much cheap fast fashion. And so a flurry on Twitter is not a concern, as it unlikley to be coming from the majority of their customers. Whether this is right or wrong, it is their commercial standpoint. No one wants to see designers exploited, but where does rip off end and interpretation begin. It could be argued that many of Tatty Devine’s jewellery re-interprets pop art plastic motifs that are widely and cheaply available and charges a fortune for them. Perhaps if they charged less then their would be less demand for the Claire’s version. It is only my opinion but how much craft and design has really gone into the making of a plastic banana on a chain?

    • Anonymous

      You’re right, Marob – there have been comments that are somewhat supportive of Claire’s remake of the Tatty Devine designs. People buy knock off products all the time. But from a PR or marketing standpoint, the issue isn’t the designs but Claire’s response to the consumer complaints. Deleting comments? Acting as if nothing has happened? Not smart!

      Thanks for your comment!