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a&FIn recent news, outraged critics have been blasting Abercrombie &Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries’ comments about what the A&F brand stands for.  Here’s what he said:
Candidly we go after the cool kids.  A lot of people don’t belong (in our clothes) and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.  Those companies that are trying to target everybody young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody either.”
The Good
1. Clear Brand Character
You really know what this brand looks like, sounds like and thinks.
2. Clarity Around Who The Brand DOESN’T Attract
Anyone that has issues with polarizing statements or can’t naturally fit the clothing need not apply.
3. Standing For 1 Thing
The CEO is very smart when he says that standing for ALL things makes brands “totally vanilla”. Amen to that.
4. Being Controversial
I’d never even heard of Mike Jeffries before. Now me and millions of others have and the A&F brand is big news as well as a viral sensation.
The Bad
1. Alienation
When you’re teeing off a percentage of the population just make sure that the remaining portion is big enough to keep your biz afloat.
2. The Inhumanity
Hey, I considered myself a “Fat Chick” in high school so need I say more about how hurtful just the words are?
3. Botched Positioning
One could argue that the same point could’ve been made with more tact and finesse by stating that the A&F brand embodied natural young leaders who attracted attention and liking based on their God given talents, abilities and personality. To me, that still describes ‘cool kids’ but in a much more empowering way.
So there just might be a few marketing lessons to be learned from this dude, even if said dude will never win any Nobel Peace Prizes.
As a small business coach, I ask you the small biz owner, what’s the lesson in this for YOU and your brand?
Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

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