The rise of blogging and its influence on our sartorial choices has meant a swift change in the way fashion houses and brands are doing business. Pandora, Betty, Jane and Alix have all witnessed the beauty of Coco Chanel's Parisian apartment, once closed to the public it is now open to a select few who are the new muses of fashion.
While some brands are openly transparent with bloggers and the projects that they work on together, others seem to skip over them all together, forgetting the key to many blog's success- involvement in their communities, open discussion and acknowledgement that our opinions count.
This morning I stumbled across Betty Autier's post, trawled through 250 comments all of which were utterly dismayed by Zara's lack of courtesy. This is quite similar to the uproar that started on IFB a few weeks ago surrounding Payless Shoes and Chictopia using member's photographs without permission or credit.
It seems to me that a quick telephone call, or email would have sufficed and even worked in Zara's favour. Now, I'm no blogging it-girl, I've never had Chanel inviting me to sit on Coco's steps, but if a company such as Zara called and said, "hey Lola we want to put a cartoon of your ever so gorgeous mug on our t-shirts" I would have been absolutely flattered. I may have even whipped up a lovely little blog post and all of those 250 comments and rising may have translated into a little pot of t-shirt gold.
Instead, the company has most likely risked any future cross promotion with Miss Autier and alienated a fair chunk of their targeted demographic. Not such a smart move when most of us no longer look to magazines for style inspiration but Betty et al.
What do you think? How should companies deal with situations like this? Sink their heads in the sand or try to understand the dynamics of the blogging economy a little better?