May the force be with Black Milk!

Social media marketing has opened up the doors for many companies to engage with their customers but a slight mistake is all it takes to bring them down. On May 4th, Australian fashion label, Black Milk Clothing, offended a number of fans with a meme they posted on their Facebook page. In case you didn’t know, May 4th is also known as Star Wars Day.

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So why is it that a meme would cause so much displeasure among their customers? Often, companies attempt to use social media to become their customers’ “friend”. However, as time passes, many companies forget about the reason why consumers want to be their “friend”. For Black Milk Clothing, many customers supported them because they have always advocated that all women’s bodies are beautiful. This is evident on their special commandments page where they listed on Commandment no. 5 to tell fans of theirs : “You shall not make critical comments on other women’s bodies”. Ironically, that meme they posted seems to defy all the values they used to stand for.

Black Milk is often the brand that retailers hold as an example of doing social media right and even had several successful tie-ins with blockbuster franchises such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Star Wars.  However, they made a huge mistake in dealing with this incident. A lot of fans were very upset with the meme and commented on their Facebook page. Instead of immediately removing the meme and apologizing, the Black Milk social media admin sternly defended their original post, deleted critical comments and even blocked fans from its page. It seemed like Black Milk was ready to lose all these loyal customers.

One thing I’ve learnt during my marketing education is that gaining new customers is often harder than retaining existing customers. Therefore, brands/companies should always make the effort in maintaining customer loyalty. It is hard to believe that this incident has already caused thousands of customers to “unlike” Black Milk’s Facebook page. Many fans have also stated that they will no longer be supporting the brand. I think the real problem here is the brand losing focus of its identity. While this incident may have been the catalyst for losing fans, the problem would eventually get bigger if they do not stick to their brand identity. It is therefore important for Black Milk to remind consumers what their brand is about.

PS: May the force be with Black Milk!

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