By: Zama Khumalo

“I went to your restaurant and your service is appalling. Although your food is amazing and better than some places I have ben to, I have to express my sadness from how your restaurant, as I have been here to many times but your staff are unfriendly and clearly display that they do not want to work at your vicinity. Please could you rectify this issue as soon as possible, as I still love coming to eat with my loved ones” Something as simple as a Facebook review, can indicate how a brand is received from it’s consumers. This is the power in which consumers have over brands. The ancient saying goes that “experience is the best teacher” and if any lessons are to go by, are that brands need to learn to appreciate their consumers even more, as they are the reason, why the brand is in existence.

Recently, clothing superstore H&M had gone under fire, for posting a picture of an African child model and he seen wearing a jacket which said “Coolest monkey in the Jungle” ,for their children’s range which is named “Jungle” . This did not sit well; with quite a lot of consumers of H&M because it was felt there was a racial undertone to it. From the man on the street, to famous celebrities, it definitely made a mark on everyone and created plenty of opinions, at the end of it all, Social Media proves to be a major tool for the voiceless.

Founder of advertising company Ogilvy, David Ogilvy once stated “what really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not it form”. The power of the consumer, on social media, can definitely make or break a brand. It is absolutely vital for brands, to take note of the way that consumers feel about them and how they present themselves.  

In the case of H&M, they have issued an apology regarding the whole matter and are trying to rectify their issues. Social media being a powerful tool, the child model, has been offered a modelling contract by famous musician, Sean “P Diddy” Combs. Another twist, to this whole situation were the different artworks posted with “Coolest King in the world”, showing how a bad situation can be turned into a good one.  

At the end of it all, if the work that brand is doing is great, they must maintain it, however if the brand is doing badly, they need to find a method to repair it quickly, in order to gain the trust of the consumer because trust is key.

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