Banana Republic didn't get personal. And I'm taking it personally.
by Jess Iandiorio
This morning I received an email promotion from Banana Republic.
Headline: Dress like a boss - it’s simple.
Hook, line, and sinker, I was opening it. I’m a female executive, and I love a good power suit. I also love Banana Republic clothing.
Becoming an executive is largely about confidence in addition to overall competence. I think their style perfectly aligns with what I need to feel confident in the way I present myself. Clean, simple lines, professional cuts, but no sacrifice on style. I love it.
The bad news: I opened up the email to find two images of men in suits, and both links took me to a landing page just for men.
I was pretty enraged, so naturally I tweeted about it.
— Jess Iandiorio (@JessIandiorio) February 6, 2015
The reason I was upset is that this went beyond a poor digital strategy, where a brand isn’t harnessing it’s user data to deliver relevant experiences. This completely alienated a hard working professional woman. I’m a boss in a male-dominated industry, and although things are getting better for working women and working moms, there is still much progress to be made. I don’t need reminders that this is a man’s world from brands that are otherwise perfectly positioned to help me feel confident and grow my career.
I want Andi Owen, Global President of Banana Republic, to fix this. I have a feeling she’d also be disappointed to be as poorly targeted.
This was a huge missed opportunity. I am a Banana Republic customer. I have repeatedly purchased online and instore with this email account. With the amount of enabling technology today, there’s no excuse for not knowing who I am and how to target me.
The email title could not have drawn me more. I not only care about my own career, but helping other men and women succeed in theirs. Before I opened the email, I had an entire train of thought around how great this idea was, for Banana Republic to reach out with a positive message about dressing for success. I figured I’d see something about dressing for the role you want, not the one you have.
When they showed me what it was to dress like a boss, there wasn’t a woman to be seen.
This email campaign could have exhibited absolute greatness as an engagement tactic for both sexes around empowerment. Deliver men a message with male suit content, and women a promotion with female content. If targeted properly, I would be a suit or two more flush, and writing a very different blog about how Banana Republic is getting things right by integrating content and commerce, and personalizing delivery.
Acquia helps companies deliver relevant experiences every day. We help large organizations manage user data and ensure that digital content and experiences are served up for every users unique context. It is not a point in time where delivering alienating, irrelevant experiences is acceptable. It is exactly the time where getting these things right or wrong will make or break your brand.
It’s this opportunity, the opportunity to help the world’s biggest brands connect at a point of truth and honesty, that drives me. And Banana Republic’s miss here inspires my team at Acquia for the great opportunity that lies ahead.