Brand managers should be prepared to handle any response when selecting a brand ambassador.
Lands’ End recently removed an interview with feminist and political activist Gloria Steinem after backlash from anti-abortion activists. Many were upset at the brand for aligning itself with an outspoken women’s rights advocate.
After the article was taken down, more customers piled on, expressing confusion over the organization’s decision to completely remove the content.
Lands’ End apologized in a Facebook post:
When discussing important issues, brand managers should be aware of potential consequences and maintain editorial standards. With regards to the Gloria Steinem interview—conducted by CEO Federica Marchionni—the brand lacked understanding and how to respond to potential criticism.
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By saying, “It was never our intention to raise a divisive political or religious issue,” brand managers copped to willful ignorance, which would be unacceptable for any publisher.
Many marketing pros were scratching their heads at Lands’ End’s decision to remove the interview, photo shoot and message, as it appeared to be “on brand” for the clothing group.
The organization’s "Legend Series”—which Steinem’s interview was part of—was created to feature people "who have made a difference in both their respective industries and the world at large."
What do you think, PR Daily readers? How did the company handle consumer backlash?