It struck me as a very modern problem for companies this one, something which didn’t really kick in when brands were limited to spending promo-big with celebs, but which matters now they’re spending promo-mad with influencers. I must ‘fess up to ranting about this previously on Stories, mainly because I just got so bored of AD after AD after AD by accounts I followed, mostly when it was clear that the accounts would absolutely not be using the products had they not been gifted or spon’d, or when the influencers endlessly opened boxes of candles / beauty kits / artwork and feigned orgasmic deep joy.
Good, authentic collaborations work brilliantly when it’s clear that the receiver is providing great content, testing something out or showcasing a product, piece of equipment or new range of whatever it is being sold. We don’t mind being sold to by our peers, but it’s gotta be genuine and transparent or it just doesn’t work. We’re all pretty savvy now and can (usually) see through transactions for transactions sake. I did my first ‘campaign’ a few weeks ago, a discount voucher given to me to test out a companies Click & Collect service. I enjoyed the process, my lovely tenant got a new sofa which we also contributed to and everyone was happy. I hope.
Anyhoo, I’ll get to the point. Last year in August I impressed myself hugely by getting super organised and buying a not inexpensive, LED festive wall hanging from an online interiors company. It lit up my bedroom wall for Xmas 2019 for about an hour an evening. The the lights didn’t come on a couple of times when I switched it on but then did, so I didn’t send back, plus they’d sold out anyway. Plugged it in this week and nada, not a spark, and LEDs so not repairable. I rang the company and was on hold for ages, I know, Covid, everyone WFH, we all need to be patient. Then I got cut off after 45mins on hold, so rang back, irritated and said I was not going to be on hold again for another 45mins, explained to sales who told me they’d investigate and be in touch. The next day I received this email:
Now, this in itself is pretty poor. Seriously. ‘Cause we all get out our Christmas decs in summer and test them right? Wear and tear my ass, it was barely used last year and kept safe in its original packaging.
Which brings me nicely to Instagram, which is my point. I know, it’s taken a while, but you needed the back story. I’ve mentally kissed goodbye to any refund or exchange btw, but this is a wider issue, I think.
For Xmas 2020 the particular company have spent big on influencer marketing. 12 lovely people getting all festive and being gifted a stable full of products to wax lyrical about. All fine and dandy, if the company in question were looking after their actual customers. You know, those wot pay. I’ve had a load of DMs from people who’ve had a pretty poor customer service experience with them: broken items on delivery, poor quality, disinterested customer service. And lots of you on Insta have clocked this too, not just with this company, but others too.
I just don’t get it. If companies can afford to spend big on PR and influencers, why can’t they afford to actually look after their paying customers. Loyal customers too, through various mediums and clients I’ve bought a lot from this particular company over the years. Or maybe they can afford to have good customer care but they just choose not to, which is even worse.
Glossy advertising campaigns with celebs feel a lot more remote to regular buyers than the smaller campaigns we’re now surrounded by. We ‘know’ the influencers so well, we watch them on Stories daily and have sometimes even met them, so it’s like they’re one of us, the same as us, just everyday people. So when brands are on the one hand showering the chosen ones with gifts, whilst simultaneously brushing off paying customers’ fair complaints with arrogance and a dismissive attitude… well, it doesn’t feel good does it? I don’t even think that they understand that we clock it all. We don’t mind endless freebies and every other post being an AD if the surrounding gubbins is nice – nice influencers promoting nice stuff for nice companies. For me though, the feeling that my hard earned is being kept to fund freebies to others leaves an unpleasant taste. It’s not as simple as that financially, obviously, but that’s how it feels. And sometimes, how something feels is the important thing.
So think on, companies, when you go glossy but forget the basics. We consumers do not forget!
And here’s my tree. Not Lit. Anyone fancy unpicking the rear and inserting new LEDS? 😉