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Posts Tagged ‘Amazon.com’

UPDATE: Sears Apologizes for Third Party Connecting Them with Third Reich

Sears-SorryYesterday, we brought you the distressing story of Sears and Amazon trying to serve the niche (and morose) market of Goths and Emos.

Why? Who knows, but there it is — a business plan to reach the supercilious and splenetic kids down the hall…swallowing razor blades and considering hematolagnia.

In short, they were selling Swastika rings not because of the whole Nazi thing but because it’s trendy. In less than 12 hours, Sears proved that it is still a retailer for the common man while Amazon proves it is…not. One communicated directly with the media, while the other chose to ignore headlines (and customer complaints).

By understanding its own crisis communications plan, Sears proved that it really does have everything.

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Amazon, Sears Sell Swastika Rings as ‘Punk Rock Fashion’

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Sears has been knocked down many times and, as the retail world turns, the company has been searching for ways to get in front of its competitors again. In another effort to stand out, it recently decided to sell some “punk rock fashion” to the coveted Goth/Emo demographic because of “upward mobility.”

Sears doesn’t have an “all black” clothing section, so there had to be another way. Inspiration apparently hit the buyers in the room, who recognized that a certain fashion icon named Adolf Hitler wasn’t getting enough exposure.

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StubHub’s Goal is to Score with Fans, Says CMO Ray Elias

Whether you’re a “social fan” actively networking, a “fanatic” attending every game, or a “premium fan” perched in front-row seats, StubHub serves the preferences of all three segments, said CMO Ray Elias. He spoke at The Incite Summit in New York on Wednesday about the brand’s customer service, social media and mobile efforts.

“Tickets are scarce, perishable goods, and StubHub manages the secondary ticket marketplace. We focus on the buyer and seller experience and the intersection of supply and demand”, Elias said. The market has evolved, and he identified key elements behind StubHub’s success.

Customer Service: Fans of entertainment and sports events didn’t used to receive the red carpet treatment. “We recognized the frustrations consumers were experiencing with ticket purchases”, Elias explained. “Traditionally the process wasn’t fan-friendly, so we applied the customer service models you’d find with Nordstrom and Zappos.”

A core issue StubHub regularly deals with relates to the authenticity of tickets. Elias said they need to deliver on the proposition that “our tickets are real and the fans will be able to get in”. He acknowledged that’s not so easy to convey from a marketing perspective. (Although he didn’t discuss their “Ticket Oakad campaign, it offers a reassuring presence, and according to a Forbes article, the ads have improved key brand perceptions).

Customer service plays a critical role in delivering on the brand’s promise, and Elias described StubHub’s service as ‘heroic’. “We have local reps on the ground, and ‘Make it Right’ customer service” to resolve on-site issues. “We’ve empowered fans, and that has fueled our growth.”

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Cyberattacks In Support of WikiLeaks Pose PR Dilemma

An activist hacker group called Anonymous is taking responsibility for an orchestrated cyberattack against Mastercard and says that it’s planning other attacks in order to “wreak revenge on any organization that lined up against WikiLeaks,” according to the NY Times.

The story says that Anonymous doesn’t have a leader, and one of the activists stated in a telephone interview that 1,500 hackers were lined up to attack various companies and individuals. On the list of those that have been hit are Amazon.com, PayPal, and PostFinance, the financial side of the Swiss postal system.

This situation poses a big strategic question for PR pros working with companies that have come in contact with controversy.

(Updates after the jump.)

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