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Is One Mistake All It Takes?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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People make mistakes. Brands make mistakes. It’s all part of the way the day-to-day works. One mistake shouldn’t be the end of a brand, the end of success, or the end of a person’s responsibilities. But sometimes it depends on the mistake and the result that follows that mistake. And sometimes when a mistake happens, people need to blame someone. Customers want to see change, physically, and unfortunately that has to fall to someone. But are brands able to mitigate the change needed by the way they deal with a bad mistake. Maybe this is the single fact that helps customers understand what happened, how it will be fixed, and what they should expect from the brand next. Maybe, just maybe, no one needs to be blamed.

Lululemon’s CEO has recalled herself. No, seriously — that’s how she stated it. Almost like a product that went bad; that’s how she’s describing her abrupt resignation. And everyone is aware of the most recent mistake made by the brand that included see-through yoga pants. Maybe it wasn’t just an oops, but something that affected customers more and the brand even worse. The mistake cost Lululemon about 17% of its black yoga pants as the product had to be recalled. Kind of like Christine Day except this is her job, not a pair of pants.

So where did it all go wrong? Lululemon made the announcement and handled a recall. Many brands do that and CEOs are praised for their quick work. Is it because this is yoga pants and not medicine? Could it be that Lululemon didn’t take the issue seriously? They kinda did. Is it because there was no real conversation about how this would not happen in the future? Or maybe customers and the brand alike wanted someone to blame. A reason to move on and make a change and remember that a recall is not something Lululemon takes lightly. Of course, Day is not saying any of this and is simply saying the brand’s path is set for years to come, so it’s time to move on and have someone new take on the challenge of the future. True or not, it’s very telling that when customers want change brands make a move to deliver.

When you break down the see-through pants there’s probably no one person to blame, but a series of events that led to a mistake. And technically that blame is placed on the CEO. Maybe Day wasn’t visible enough; maybe she moved on too quickly to another topic or the future. Sometimes a "sorry" and a plan eases the customer angst. Whatever the reason, Lululemon is making a change, making it public, and hoping customers will continue to follow along for whoever takes the challenge of heading the brand in the future.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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