PR Through The Eyes Of A Young Professional

Prove It To Me!

In Corporate Social Responsibility, Public Relations on February 10, 2010 at 5:06 am

I like to shop, just like many other women, I also like a good deal. For this reason my frugal wallet and I graced the aisles of H&M the other day. As usual I browsed through the euro-centric apparel hoping a shirt would jump out and tell me to buy it.


I had found yet another shirt to add to my collection of “seemingly unique but similar to all my other tops” shirt. I then proceed to the register with my new find and the cashier asks, “Would you like to make a donation to help the victims in Haiti, H&M will match all donations made.” Without thinking twice I responded, “No thank you,” and proceeded to check out.  

When the cashier asked that simple but heavy question, I could just see my donation sitting on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia in a tightly tied bag waiting for recycle pick up because they had too much of it. Many of you may remember the embarrassing New York Times article about the clothing giant’s flagrant behavior toward an influx of unworn clothes.  

Money On The Ground Royalty Free Stock Images

Yes, the company made a reactionary statement to show they are in fact a very charitable organization. But, what about people like me? People who will shop at H&M but will never donate to H&M for fear their donation may be in vein or for the people will no longer shop at H&M at all. This may be troglodytic of me because everyone deserves a second chance, but here is the number one question… How do you get that second chance? How do you go back to that untainted place in the consumer’s mind when you were the best retailer ever?

This is a hard question but holds a simple answer… Maintain VISIBILITY! You may say you are a very charitable organization, but I want to see it especially after tossing tons clothes.  For example Disney’s “Give a Day Get a Day” program is a great way for people to get out and get involved to improve the communities around them on behalf of Disney.

Get out there in the local communities in which your stores or organization reside. It only takes a consumer one second to categorize your organization as untrustworthy. In the mind of a few consumers your organization may be dead forever, but in the process of building your charitable appearance you will most likely gain back the trust of most of your consumers and new consumers as well.  

We all know how important a company’s appearance is in maintaining the customer. Therefore after a big let down, we do not want to have to change the brand image of a company just to maintain the customer. I want to be able to grow tired of seeing your organization and how charitable it really is. It’s almost like having a person apologize to you a million times before you give in.

As for H&M, I will shop there but I will not give my money to H&M on behalf of any cause. Prove to me you are who you say you are!


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