One of the most common types of marketing comes in the form of email.
In the case of brand-consumer relationships, when a consumer opts-in to giving their email it’s with the understanding that by willingly giving their information, the brand receiving it will provide them value. Whether it be in the form of discounts or new product updates, consumers trust the brands to engage responsibly.
What happens though when a brand abuses the trust and expectations of the consumer? What happens when the brand turns an opportunity to engage with a consumer into something excessive and bothersome.
For case and point, we reference Banana Republic. Part of The Gap Inc., Banana Republic offers modern, refined clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women. Boasting clothing inspired by Mad Men as well as an exclusive line from designer Trina Turk, Gap has positioned Banana as a mainstream luxury clothing retailer.
Most recently, a friend of mine who had purchased clothing from Banana in the past had shared with me her story about how the value of their brand had diminished, largely due to the way that they had interacted with her via email. Over a 7 day period, Banana had sent out 6 emails on consecutive days with 4 of them focused strictly on promoting 3 different ‘limited time sales.’ While a large reason for her subscribing to the Banana Republic newsletter was to receive deals, what she got instead was the feeling of a brand desperate for her business. The emails were impersonal and incessant and more importantly convinced her that if she would shop at Banana that it would not be for full price. Why buy something full-price when they always have a sale? Additionally, she longer viewed Banana as an upscale brand like she had previously. Think about if Mercedes-Benz sent you emails about car deals every day, how would your perception of their brand change?
While there are many who say that the days of email may be reaching its end due to a change in consumption by incoming demographics, email still remains a tool for brand to tell their story to consumers. How you tell that story is the key.
Having a consumers email is similar to dating. When a girl/guy gives you their phone number, it’s with the understanding that you won’t abuse it. Imagine though what would happen if you called/texted that person every day? Yes, they may be interested in you, but there becomes a point where it become nothing but a nuisance and they end up regretting giving you their number.
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