Last week, Beyoncé introduced her new athleisure line, IVY PARK. Upon hearing the news, one Twitter user sent a question into cyberspace: “Is Ivy Park supposed to be like lululemon?” The brand quickly noticed and responded to the tweet, unwittingly angering the star’s fiercely loyal fan base. Lululemon tweeted: “They do say imitation is the best form of flattery. Maybe Beyoncé is so Crazy in Love with our brand, she made her own.” The Beyhive, as Beyoncé’s staunchest admirers are known, swiftly responded to the lululemon’s implication that IVY PARK was a knockoff. Some tweeted “RIP lululemon” and “The beyhive never forgets.”
What this means for brands:
This episode highlights the importance of having a consistent brand tone for all social media platforms. Lululemon is an athleisure juggernaut, and the tone of the first tweet seemed juvenile and snarky, not what one would expect from a company of their scale. Humor is a great way to engage with users on social media, but it is tricky, and such posts should always be run by multiple members of the social media team to ensure the right tone. Once the mistake had been made, the mea culpas were speedy and appeared sincere – insisting that “we’re huge fans of hers and never meant any harm.” Lululemon offered similar responses to many of the offended fans, trying to stop the backlash. Hopefully the brand will learn from this experience and not poke the hive in the future.