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”?


Digital Marketing Is the Reason Your Audience Ignores You

The Internet is the place to grow your business according to digital marketing gurus around the world. And yes, we agree … and so do your competitors. But if everyone’s on the Internet, how do you get noticed?

printed marketing materials, printed media
Photo courtesy of webhostingsecretrevealed.net

With all the talk in the business world today about digital marketing – social media, websites, blogs, Google rankings and so on, it can be easy to overlook a classic method of marketing – printed media.

Though not exactly in the limelight of the marketing world, distributing printed marketing materials is still an extremely effective way to reach your audience.

Make the Connection

The speed, specificity and relative price advantage of a paperless ad campaign makes it very attractive. However, printed media still provides a necessary comfort to consumers, and it also helps to connect your target consumer to the physical world.

Being a touchable object definitely helps bring printed media your audience’s attention, especially over the intangible Internet. It gives the consumer a sort of token that, in the case of coupons or offers requiring said printed form, gives them a physical connection to your actual place of business.

Break through the Noise

Furthermore, it helps to grab the reader’s attention. One of the downsides of using the Internet as a marketing tool is that people have become extremely desensitized to information. We’ve grown to skim through the Internet, searching for a particular thing, and sifting out anything that doesn’t relate to it, especially advertisements.

And with our attention changing between venues of media so quickly (just look at the average time people spend on a webpage), you need something to break through the noise.

Grab Attention

However, a printed piece of media has a special legitimacy about it and asks, better yet, grabs the attention of your audience. This sense of legitimacy can be heightened by getting your printed marketing materials in the hands of the right people. Targeted print media will establish a form of trust in conjunction with this legitimacy.

What’s the word: The Internet is an amazing marketing tool, but it can’t be your ONLY marketing tool. Printed media gives your business that personal touch, that’s just not available online. Printed marketing materials can also break through the clutter when so many of your competitors are focusing on email campaigns and other forms of digital marketing. 

Implementing a Marketing Plan in Three Easy Steps

You can plan forever, but planning is worthless without implementation.

Photo courtesy of selfstarterzone.com
Photo courtesy of selfstarterzone.com

Last week, we discussed how to create a marketing plan and today we’re keeping the conversation rolling with advice on implementing a marketing plan. Plan execution is where many small businesses get into trouble. It’s easy to talk, but doing can be a much different story. The best advice when asked how to implement your marketing plan is: “Just do it.”

Getting It Done

The most important step in small business marketing is to start marketing. Create a marketing message and share it. What’s your unique selling proposition? What do you have that customers want and need?

Go out and deliver this message and tell people in your market why they can’t survive without your products or services. Spread the word at networking events. Blast content on social media. Share informative content on your website. Stand on Main Street in your town and scream the word (okay, this probably overkill).

The bottom line: go out and find your audience and convince them how much they need you. Over time, they’ll find you.

Assess the Situation

This isn’t the last step though, and the reality of this situation can be lost on many. As you continue your marketing campaign (I personally suggest setting measurable goals by the day—“I will post on Facebook once per day, I will make 25 cold calls today, etc.), you’ll find it best to continually reassess your marketing campaign’s effectiveness.

It’s absolutely necessary to review what is and not working. Do this by asking every prospect how they found you and add it to your marketing analysis spreadsheet (okay, a piece of paper will work too, just don’t lose it).

If or instance, it turns out that many of your customers are coming to you from advertising on Facebook, it may not be essential for you to focus so much time on Twitter and Pinterest.

Stay Fresh

Finally, it’s important to keep coming up with new ideas. While this may sound a lot like reassessment, the two aren’t exactly the same. Where reassessment requires adjustment based on prior ideas, new ideas add completely fresh outlooks to your campaign. A business owner can never underestimate the power of completely new, off-the-wall, and perhaps even absurd ideas. Invention is the key to success in marketing.

What’s the Word: Implementing a marketing plan comes down to these three steps – doing it, assessing it and staying fresh. After that, there’s nothing left to do, but to do it. 

How to Create a Simple Marketing Plan

Struggling to create a simple marketing plan that gets results?

Photo courtesy of www.lyricmarketing.com
Photo courtesy of www.lyricmarketing.com

Developing a marketing strategy for your small business can be extremely daunting, especially in our age of total media saturation. It can be easy for you to look around and assume that advertising is a multi-million dollar game that requires an extreme amount of money to avoid a viral marketing flop.

The pressure of developing a successful marketing plan can be even worse when you’re pressed with time constraints: local competition is getting worse, large businesses are moving in on your target group, etc. The key is planning for your marketing strategy to fail. That way you’ll be prepared to make the necessary adjustments to get it right back on track.

Target Your Audience

When sitting down to create a simple marketing plan, it’s obviously important to think about who you’re targeting. For instance, if you’re a condiment company, it probably won’t exactly pan out very well for you to focus on the punk-rock demographic or the organic/green crowd.

Pushing a well-targeted campaign properly can take a lot of time and research to implement properly. However, it’s a lot less time consuming than completely redirecting your efforts because you failed to target your efforts in the first place.

Build a Buzz

With widespread Facebook groups, Craigslist postings, cult-like blog postings and even incredibly dedicated Internet comic fans, targeting has become easier than ever. All you need to do, in a paradoxical way, is target with a shotgun-like method. By focusing on just a couple of social media sites, you can begin to generate online buzz and capture one of the more important marketing tools: word of mouth.

Get Some Variety in Your Life

Social media alone will not catapult you into superstar status, but all isn’t lost. Mix up your marketing strategy with networking and other local marketing tactics and you’ll have customers beating down your door in no time.

What’s the word: So there you have it, three steps on how to create a simple marketing plan. By targeting the right audience, building a community of loyal fans and implementing a diverse marketing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to attracting your dream clients. 

5 Secrets to Building an Online Community of Crazy-Loyal Fans

We’re continuing our discussion on reaching celebrity-style customer loyalty with a conversation on building an online community of amazing followers. building an online community

There is yet but one thing standing in the way of you making millions and reaching Justin Bieber status. And that’s building an online community. Sure, most of us can tell you exactly who we’re looking to buy our products and services, but actually connecting with the right audience is an entirely different story.

Start Your VIP Email List

Everyone loves feeling like very important people (VIPs). That’s why we join clubs, pay extra cash to walk the red carpet and sit in a cramped section of the club behind a velvet rope.

If you have any customers or business contacts at all, you have a VIP list … you just need to know what to do with it. Build your online community by treating your “peeps” like royalty. Every customer and business contacts are prime candidates to receive special offers and information via email from an industry expert – that would be you.

Collect email addresses on your website, social media sites and in-person. For example, if you’re at a networking event, you could say something like, “hey I send out weekly articles on small business marketing I know you could use, can I add you to my mailing list?” And, you have started your journey in email marketing.

Spread the Word

Whether you have an email list of one or 100,000, it’s important that you share good content on a consistent basis. Don’t send one article today and the next in six months. Set a schedule and stick to it.

Also, remember every connection with clients and contacts is a representation of your brand. So you’ve got to look good! Get a professional to design an email template that matches your website for brand consistency.

Get Some Online Love

Nope, we’re not talking about Match.com or Christian Singles, we’re talking about building an online community of fans who will ‘like,’ retweet and otherwise show their love for you online.  They key here is to say something worth sharing. Be conversational, funny and informative.

Give Some Online Love

Do you like controlling conversations? This is a good characteristic in some situations, but in social media, you need to focus on engaging in, not controlling the discussion.

Social media marketing etiquette says you should give love when you receive love and simply give without expecting to receive. Now, I’m not suggesting you share tweet for tweet or meaningless Facebook posts. I’m saying, don’t do all the talking. See something juicy your audience will love? Share it and give credit.

Be Patient

While it may seem Justin Beiber, Nicki Minaj and others reach overnight stardom, that’s not the case. These celebrities were on their grind for years before they became the household names they are today, we just didn’t see their behind-the-scenes hustle. So, be patient, your hard work will pay off very soon.

What’s the Word: Building an online community of loyal customers takes time and dedication. Get on your grind, stay true and focus on sharing amazing content and you’ll reach superstar status in no time.