David Jones the winner as Myer's Brookes fallout continues

7 May 2013

There's no love lost on the high street, but one thing but one thing Myer and David Jones can agree on is letting customers have their say on social media. Even if it means a broadside from angry customers, as Myer found this week.

The two retailers are the only ASX 100 retailers that allow customers to openly post comments to their branded Facebook pages, according to a report published today by WebProfits.

Since the ASB ruled in August that social media brand managers are responsible for any content that is posted on an advertiser's online brand or community page, many firms have simply stopped allowing people to comment. However, that cuts across the broader market's move to engage consumers rather than simply marketing at them.

DJs and Myer clearly feel the reward is worth the risk. However, reactions to Myer CEO Bernie Brookes' comments about the impact plans for the National Disability Insurance Scheme demonstrate that balance can easily be tipped.

Myer's Facebook page has been inundated with customers voicing their displeasure at Brookes' comments. Some have called for him to resign, others vowed they will no longer shop at the store.


Kudos to Myer for not hiding from the response and keeping the channel open, but its efforts to respond have been less than impressive. Just two comments from the brand attempt to apologise, explain and contextualise Brookes' comments and seem to have done more harm than good. Myer has made no direct responses to consumers' comments and subsequent posts about discount promotions have irked customers further.


David Jones could be the beneficiary. One Facebook fans even suggested sending a basket of muffins to Brookes to thank him for "all the new customers you are getting".


Having attempted to clear up the mess, and realised it wasn't helping, maybe Myer hopes the best thing to do is sit tight and hope it will go away. But it's yet another reminder of the need for brands to react quickly, decisively and individually to situations that can emerge at any time.

Myer was not immediately available to comment. Here's to the next brand social disaster. We will not have long to wait.

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