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Standing Ovation for Lululemon

June 4, 2013
Posted by Susan Weissman

When we talk about managing a crisis and using social media for brand engagement, Lululemon just got an A+ in my book. The background: Lululemon had to recall a yoga pant due to customer complaints that the pants were too sheer and easily seen through when bending over — something that happens quite a bit when you’re doing yoga. Apparently, these pants accounted for 17% of sales and the recall is predicted to cost the company $67 million. Ouch! But we know you can take these situations and recover – after all, Johnson and Johnson recovered after the Tylenol recall years ago and their mistake cost people their lives. Clearly, everyone didn’t learn the lesson as we saw with Schnucks this year. (Schnucks is a local grocery story chain that had a security breach with customer credit cards and didn’t come clean with their customers until they had an angry mob on their hands. Click here for the full story.)

Lululemon took the opportunity to listen to their customers and acknowledge they made a mistake. They made fun of themselves and also explained what they did in response to the problem. No apology, simply, “We’ll make it right.”  Now the “new and improved” yoga pant is in the store. Here is an excerpt from their blog post late last Friday:

I’m Britt and I have the scoop on black stretchy pants

How did we get black back?

Luon is still the moisture-wicking, four-way stretch, high Lycra content, cottony-soft fabric that we want to wear every day. So our recipe for luon hasn’t changed. But our testing and checking has, big time.

How? There’s a pretty long list, but here are a few examples.

First, we added tighter new standards and specifications to our testing and development. In fact, your stretchy pants go through about 15 tests to make sure you get great ass coverage (that’s the scientific term).

And speaking of science, we even got some university scientists to help us developed a “sheer-o-metre” which measures the amount of light coming through the fabric while being stretched at varying degrees.

We’ve also re-engineered our luon bottom patterns in each and every style to minimize the stretching of the fabric. Basically, that means there’s now more fabric across the bum so it’s not stretched from the get-go.

Let’s get real about sheerness

Luon is a knit fabric – if you stretch a knit fabric far enough, it will go sheer. That’s why the right fit is key. (Check out this fit guide I made.) But what makes our bottoms great is the amazing technical benefits they provide. Fit, style, colour, performance, beauty – finding the perfect mix is what keeps us innovating and what makes us love doing what we do.”

If you want to read the whole blog (it’s worth it), here you go.

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