Employees being the pillar of organization, their problems have to be addressed first. While Lululemon perceived and projected their employee relation to be excellent, the truth was far from what it looked. Stokes (2008) has illustrated that Lululemon’s business model was based on raising the level of health for their staff and community. But sadly the employees were stressed to maintain positive emotions and also they did not have the freedom to voice their concerns (Beninger et al 2014).
Few employees and the brand ambassadors has described Lululemon to be hypocritical, and has manipulated and misused the whole meaning of yoga and Sanskrit phrases. The reason why employees were stressed out was they had to work overtime with no pay just to stay out of trouble, being dictated on what needs to be (Daily mail 2015. ) Further the murder of one employee by another in their Maryland store was attributed to the high level of stress. From the above issue, it is visible that Lululemon’s values and principles were inconsistent, they encouraged the art of yoga, but their employees never benefited out of it.
A good employee-employer relationship with effective internal communication, considering employee opinion would help in establishing employee’s trust which will reduce the stress level (Dolphin 2007). Empowering the staff would have a positive impact of being respected which they deserve will lead to satisfaction and finally job commitment (Laschinger 2005) Secondly the quality of product marketed. Initially the Yoga accessories were a big hit among customers. Eventually though Lululemon has its own quality control, it failed when it marketed its black luon pants because of its sheerness while stretched which was uncomfortable.
However Taiwan’s Eclat Textile Co. Ltd stated that they were following Lululemon’s instruction. Competition could have been a reason why it resulted in poor quality as Under Armour and GAP were its threats and it needed to increase the quantity it manufactured and began outsourcing to multiple suppliers (The Motley Fool 2014). Chritine Day, the CEO then clarified that the quality problem was not because of the production but inadequate testing, which resulted in further analysis that there lacked appropriate oversight in the factories which led to production of the sheer pants (Larcker et. l 2014).
Lululemon was also a highlight on the Jimmy Kimmel show, as they aired a spoof of the sheer pants incident and turned the firm into a laughing stock (Shaw 2013). Lululemon should be consistent with its quality promises and in this case the Taiwanese manufacturer supplied what they were asked of, but instead admitting their fault, Lululemon blamed their supplier. This melodrama decreased the trust and loyalty within those valuable customers (Red Fox 2013).
Because of the poor quality, Lululemon has damaged its brand image of being a premium brand and as a firm Lululemon should now focus and leverage on its differences once again from its competitors such as GAP, Under Armour through strong customer relationship by being exclusive such as sponsoring for marathon or sporting events wherein consumers are treated as participants (Briley 2015) and this could reduce the damage done and increase a positive opinion among the consumers about the quality of this product.
Product placement strategy can be implemented once the initial negative image fades off. The third point to be stressed upon is making inappropriate comments during interviews which are aired on national television. It is important that the spokesperson should keep in mind that he or she is not only addressing the interviewer but a whole lot of people who are watching it.
Stating negative comments on media would bring about serious repercussions which will destroy the brand image and sometimes it is irreparable. The founder’s comments of plus-sized customers and his controversial statement on fabric pilling of Lululemon’s pants, was due to rubbing through thighs, negatively impacted the women population who were working at the firm and also the consumers.
Lululemon’s founder Mr. Wilson should have concentrated on improving the Brand name while introducing their products rather than issuing controversial statements. Adobe’s product director Ms. Stark throws light on this framework called RACI matrix a method applied to mitigate any serious damage through poor PR, one person from the firm will be Responsible and Accountable to answer, Consulted – opinions are sought from experts and lastly keeping the high authorities Informed about the decisions made (Boeri 2013).