It’s important to stay in tune with the needs of your customers. Otherwise, you may end up with a situation like Essence Magazine. Apparently, the magazine targeted towards African American women has gotten so out of touch with its consumers that they’re canceling their subscriptions at record levels. So what has happened? There’s a post on the Essence website (page link no longer working) from an employee that gives the details:
Low level Essence staff members and interns are being forced to go on this website and post supportive comments about this issue and Essence Inc. in general. Since this issue came out Essence has been getting hundreds of calls from irate subscribers. There have been more canceled subscriptions in the last week or so than in last quarter put together. Senior management believes if they can have it look as if support for the cover is evenly split than they can stop the bleeding so to speak. They believe changing the perception is critical.
At a meeting last week focus on damage control was paramount, it was determined that Essence would release a statement acknowledging the controversy, no apology, just an acknowledgment via the website. This decision was soon nixed by a very senior person who is offended by all the negative reaction the cover is receiving and will not “placate a bunch of angry black women who don’t know what century this is” (exact words)
What this senior person has agreed to, is to allow Angela, Jeannine or Michelle to do interviews with other black media outlets. Ms. Taylor has also been asked to participate in damage control due to the high regard long time subscribers have for her. I don’t know the status of Ms. Taylor’s decision.
Beyond the vile, racist words spoken by this particular senior person, many readers have been in agreement that the magazine no longer meets their needs. The quality sucks. It’s out of touch with its reader base, so now they are faced with the repercussions of their actions.
Money talks. We applaud the action of these unsatisfied customers. It’s great to hear of black women making a statement through the most effective method. It isn’t often, but African Americans can mobilize and rail against brands that don’t represent their interests. It’s happened before with the brands Tommy Hilfiger and Cristal. Now Essence seems to be heading down this path and alienating its loyal and targeted audience. They’ll have to learn the hard way: never bite the hand that feeds you.
We encourage our readers to “rage against the machine” when they aren’t being treated respectfully by businesses or services. Withdraw your patronization and let your story be heard. Feel free at any point to share your experiences with Minority Fortune. We’re more than happy to give you a voice.
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