H&M Apologizes After Facing Social Media Fury Over ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’ Hoodie

 

After coming under fire Sunday night, UK retailer H&M issued a public apology Monday morning in regards to posing a Black child model in a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hoodie:

“This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”

H&M’s apology came after hours of late-night outrage in response to a tweet shared by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A firestorm of social media fury

This one tweet sparked a firestorm of fury as social media users shared and commented on the image on the H&M commerce site depicting a little black boy posing in a ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’ hoodie:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why all the fuss?

The term “monkey” has been used as a racial slur against Blacks for centuries. So much so that when I gave birth to my beautiful black Prince, I swore I’d never allow him to wear anything with monkeys. No jungles, no bananas … none of that. So I have no idea why any parent or guardian would willingly give any company permission to pose their child in such a garment.

Some say H&M had no ill intent and that may be true, but I’m deeply concerned that the H&M team placed the Black boy in a “monkey in the jungle” hoodie while a white child model is shown in a hoodie that reads, “Survival Expert”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Songwriter Wendy Parr ain’t buying the “unintentional mistake” argument:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, the million-dollar question is who in the heck cleared this photo for print. Models for Diversity, a British-based organization advocating for more inclusion in the fashion industry, was one of many groups questioning how the photo made it through marketing teams and out into the world:

 

 

 

Welp, H&M has apologized so it’s all good, right? Sooo, do YOU believe this nothing more than a “mishap” due to marketing carelessness, a lack of cultural awareness or bad styling decisions? OR do you believe it was a case of intentional racism and H&M simply got caught “red-handed”?

 

A Lesson in Personal Service from the Road-Trippin’ Strippers of ‘Magic Mike XXL’

I recently got my shut-in self outta my writer’s cave and into a movie seat on a weekday to see Magic Mike XXL.

There were about 10 of us there.

(Give or take.)

The plot?

Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) and his crew of “road trippin’ strippers” striptease their way to a male entertainers convention to prove they still “got it.”

Along the way, they take full advantage of every opportunity to please their audience.

And this is where it gets good.

You see they didn’t care if the women were short, tall, fat, skinny, Black, white or purple …

Their only goal was to create the fantasy.

And that’s just for starters.

In doing so, they treated each woman like a Queen and gave her, if even for a few minutes, what she was missing in her life …

Love.
Passion.
Intimacy.
Sex appeal.

Okay, so what? Here’s what …

That’s how each of your loyal followers should feel – like royalty.

Each one should feel like you’re dialed into their pain, frustrations, fears, fantasies, and sleepless nights.

If you’re not doing that …

There’s really no way you can capture the hearts, minds AND pockets of your ideal clients.

What’s the secret to doing it?

I share this type of stuff with my CopyCloset members, so I can’t give away the answer for free.

But I can tell you 3 things you’re probably doing that’s pushing your ideal clients away, rather than capturing their hearts, minds AND pockets:

1. Trying to sell to everybody and their mamas

People want products and services that solve their specific problems. Nobody really wants a “one-size-fits-all” solution because in business, there’s truly no such thing. There’s an old saying in the business world:

When you talk to everybody … nobody hears you.”

Stick it on your wall. Remember it. Live by it.

2. Doing too much too fast

Running a business requires building relationships … and, of course, making sales. While most of us want to cut straight to the selling part, there’s an art and science to this.

Would you walk up to a hot guy and kiss him before even asking his name?

Probably not.

So why on Earth would you think it’s okay to friend someone on Facebook and immediately send them an unsolicited message about your products and services?

Can you see what type of business the person runs?

Does she really even need your service?

Figure these things out before you go in for the “kill.”

3. Being a “giveaway artist”

On the flip side of No. 2, you cannot expect to have a thriving business being a “giveaway artist.”

Someone who is great at giving.

But sucks at selling.

If this is you, I strongly suggest you find a way (like I did) to sell in a way that feels more like giving value than selling to you.

So here’s the bottom line on asking for the sale:

You simply cannot give away everything until you find yourself living in a box and bumming change off folks …

But you can give value so your loyal followers realize the benefit of investing in you.

And that’s all for today. Love this post? Mosey down to that hot, little link below and join us for weekly copywriting secrets and infotainment emails. (I can’t guarantee we’ll talk about Channing Tatum every week, but you’ll be pleasantly entertained, nonetheless.)

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How to Pull Off Superstar Marketing on a Starving Artist Budget

Struggling to cover the cost of your small business marketing plan? We’re all rich when it comes to a few brilliant ideas and Internet marketing.

superstar marketing, small business marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing
Photo courtesy of Superstar (1999) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167427/

So you’re a small business owner. Perhaps you’re a startup with nothing in the budget for a glitzy televised ad with a celebrity spokesperson. Thankfully for those in small business marketing, there’s another option.

Internet marketing is budget friendly and produces results, but that’s not to say it’s easy. You’ll need both time and a good idea of what you’re doing. Here are some pointers.

Get Your Shine On

Everyone loves a superstar – they are the stars that shine oh so bright. How can you become an online superstar? We’re so glad you asked.

Regardless of the nature of your merchandise or services, those in need will likely begin their quest with a search engine query. And let’s be blunt: Google, for all intents and purposes, is the only game in town. That means you’ll have to play by their rules. The best way to make this titan happy is to provide valuable, relevant content. (Check out WTF is Content Marketing for some amazing tips.)

If your specialty is cupcakes, for example, write a thoughtful and entertaining blog on the subject, complete with appropriate keywords. And once the sentry that is the search engine lets you past the online gate, potential customers who share your passion for pastries will feel similarly rewarded with your musings on sugary confections.

Ideally, your content will position you as an authority in your field and be worthwhile enough a read to keep people coming back. Be sure to update your posts frequently.

Give the People What They Want

If you’ve played your cards right, at this point you should have amassed a gaggle of loyal followers. Don’t stop there – you’ve piqued the interest of folks who are virtually lining up at your door. Now make it worth their time by offering them coupons or exclusive member discounts that encourage them to close the sale.

They surely wouldn’t mind getting such a thing in return for providing their email addresses; you can then use these to send out further offers and ads to bring in repeat business.

Stay in the Mix

So you’re sharing valuable content and have built a sizable community of fans. Good job, but you’re not done yet. You’d be remiss not to take advantage of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and various others.

In keeping with our baked goods analogy, absolute cupcake junkies will very likely congregate on a Facebook group devoted to the topic. You’ll need to be seen here. And of course, the best part of the social media experience for marketers is its viral nature.

If one person with a sweet tooth “likes” your establishment, you can be sure others on the network will follow suit. Post links to your blog entries here as well, in hopes of getting shared and offer the same sort of exclusive discounts to your fans as those on your email list.

Stay Hungry

I see it all of the time – as soon as a starving artist gets that big check, he goes out and buys a steak dinner and stops “being hungry.” You’ve got to keep that same passion and continue to grind and work hard. Take advantage of the opportunity to market your small business on the Internet and stay hungry.

It’s called the “World Wide Web” for a reason – it’s a gigantic virtual planet of information unto itself. There are millions of ways to make use of it in your small business marketing endeavor. But unless you don’t mind being branded a spammer, Google pariah, or even worse, it’s best to stick to the points above.

What’s the Word: Satisfying the appetites of search engines provides you with the avenue to fulfill the needs of future customers, which in turns gets your foot in the door with their social networking peers. Keep it up, and people might wind up Googling you with the keywords “cupcake millionaire.”

What are some other low-cost ways you have been marketing your small business?

3 Easy Ways to Overcome Blogging for Business Roadblocks

It’s hard to think of any entrepreneur in the 21st century who has managed to get by without blogging for business or having some other sort of Web presence.

But anyone with any degree of net savvy will tell you content is king – it’s what makes your site turn up on search engines and keeps visitors coming back for more.

business blog, blogging for business
Photo courtesy of dict.space.4goo.net.

The Internet affords small businesses with all sorts of ways to connect with customers; online transactions, email newsletters and printable coupons are all par for the course.

Hardware, bridal gowns or video games might be your specialty, but every entrepreneur can benefit from honing his skills in writing business blogs.

Not a great writer? No problem, you can still create amazing business blogs by sharing advice that people actually want to read.

1. Write what you know.

Of course, most visitors would be disappointed to find your blog utterly devoid of text. If you’re afraid you lack the gift of gab, fret not: as a small business owner, you’ve likely got a passion for what you do. Let that verve spill out onto the keyboard!

Let’s say you own a fishing gear store. Wouldn’t customers love to read your expert take on various fishing rods? And aren’t they likely to be just as enthusiastic about all of it as you are? Go ahead and chew their ears (not literally; we’re not Mike Tyson here).

If you’ve got something to say that relates to your specialty – opinions on bait, say, or just some wild fish stories – go on and post it, and do so regularly. Fresh, enjoyable content is what turns casual surfers into habitual readers, bound to turn up at your establishment.

2. Share more than words.

Your business blog is the perfect place to deliver your treasured content. Most people think of bloggers as the folks who huddle over keyboards with their fingers on fire, but that’s not true … for most. After all, the written word is just one component of the blog experience – content can refer to any manner of media.

For example, let’s say your grocery store is running a sale on Granny Smith apples, then by all means, post pictures to whet the buyers’ appetites. Your televised commercials too would find quite a nice new home here; your ads will reach an ever wider audience, and there’s no telling what’s going to go viral. And if you’ve got a signature jingle, waste no time posting the mp3. Imagine if just one customer’s ringtone was a mobile advertisement for your wares!

3. Throw in a promo periodically.

Content marketing isn’t about direct selling, but it is okay to throw in a promotional blog every now and again. Don’t be afraid to show off your goods with photos, or amaze visitors with your zany or otherwise memorable videos. Put your expertise on display with posts that are equal parts info and entertainment. But above all, be yourself, and let your love of what you do shine across a million monitors.

What’s the Word: Blogging for business is proven to increase traffic to your website, but you’ll need to be interesting and creative to keep folks coming back for more.

What is one thing you learned from this blog post that you can act on today?

 

 

12 Brilliant Blog Post Ideas for Businesses

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Is Poor Grammar Stopping Your Readers from Enjoying Your Blog Content?

Poor grammar can bring your content marketing efforts to a screeching halt and prevent readers from truly enjoying your message.

poor grammar, content marketing, poor grammar examples

Poor grammar has no place in your marketing content. While the Microsoft Word spelling tool is useful, we simply can’t trust it to spot all of our content errors. Perhaps we just don’t have some innate, Shakespearean command of the language. Perhaps we’re simply buffoons. Whatever the case, few things can sink otherwise great content like poor grammar.

If your 5th grade English teacher can’t take your writing seriously, you can’t expect potential customers or clients to be all that impressed either. Thankfully, for those in need of a more professional sheen on their work, there are a number of fine online grammar help tools that can hammer even the crudest scrawling into a worthwhile read.

We’ll explore two of them here.

Online Grammar Check

This online grammar tool wins points for having the most succinct domain name, and gets extra credit for being a free service. This particular online grammar check tool — to be perfectly redundant — checks grammar and offers the ubiquitous, obligatory spell check feature as well.

But it’s the bonus features that make this site worth clicking around on for more than a minute. Has it been some times since you’ve had to conjugate transitive verbs?

This site features a conjugation tool that can take you from ignoramus to erudite. And for those with untold hours to spend in search of grammatical supremacy, games of hangman and crossword are sure to hone your chops. Lose yourself in a syntactical wonderland!

SpellCheckPlus

poor grammar, content marketing, poor grammar examples

For those writers who can do without the frills, this online tool is just for you. Simply copy and paste your text into the box, and the site will delight your eyes with glowing red spelling errors and common grammatical missteps highlighted in yellow.

If phrases like “we had went there” or “it was more better” have failed to ingratiate you to the intelligentsia, this service might be just what you want. And there’s no need to worry about wasting too much time here; in addition to its strictly utilitarian tone, the glaring banner ads that support this free site will chase you out of there as soon as your job is done.

Whether you like your grammar help tools extravagant or streamlined, the online grammar check services detailed above are sure to suit your needs. A simple Google search might turn up another more to your liking; such sites might either charge you for something others are simply giving away, or may be entirely unreliable (one professes to correct grammar “erros,” which could be a misspelling of either of two words).

What’s the Word: Online grammar tools can make a critical difference in how your content is received.  A few rare readers might take pity on a dullard writer, but far more would rather we content producers speak the language.