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What Missguided teaches us about corporate communications, crisis, and picture painting
June 15, 2022

As the specialist media training consultancy for retailers and fashion labels, we’ve closely followed the Missguided saga. We’re particularly interested in why this story has created such extensive coverage – much of it pretty negative.

One of the main reasons for this prominence is simply that it’s very visual.

If you’re covering any aspect of this story, be that Frasers Group buying it out of administration or hiring the brand’s founder Nitin Passi as CEO, you know that you’ve got some great pictures to illustrate the story. It might sound trivial, but the media requires images to back up any story. The better those pictures are, the more prominent the piece will probably be. All our media trainer journalists have found themselves reducing the contribution from speakers or even having stories dumped altogether because the pictures simply weren’t good enough – however interesting the actual content.

The importance of using imagery in the Media

As we point out in our Media Training courses, so much of our language around understanding his visual – is that clear? Do you get the picture? That’s why whatever the interview you’re doing; it’s a good idea to paint some pictures to really illustrate and explain the point you’re trying to make.

Another part of the appeal of misguided is that it’s quite a cheeky brand – a disruptor or upstart challenger to traditional fashion labels. This is the kind of business journalists like to write about, and we work a lot with them as we support their PR agencies and communications teams.

Missguided crisis communications

There’s an element of crisis in the Missguided story, and we provide a lot of crisis communications courses for fashion labels as well as retailers and accessories brands. A crisis for a company doesn’t just mean a fire on their premises or a data breach.

In this case, stories that Misguided shoppers who have been left out of pocket after it went under won’t get their money back according to the administrators winding up the company has gained a lot of media coverage.

Teneo, the company running the business until Frasers group assumes control, has said that Missguided won’t be able to send refunds to customers. The company refused to comment to the BBC. So naturally, the corporation’s coverage includes a quote from a partner at an insolvency firm – to fill the column inches. The Independent has done what any journalist will do in the situation: trawl through social media to find angry customer comments. One way or another, it doesn’t look good for Missguided and all the companies associated with the situation. “No comment” is rarely the best approach.

During our crisis communications training courses, we look at what organisations can say – and what they should avoid commenting on – in any problematic situation. Teneo appears to have provided advice for customers, but we certainly haven’t detected any sympathy or understanding for those who might find themselves out of pocket.

It’s interesting to note that stories on the BBC website and other outlets feature these quotes and comments from individual shoppers themselves. This is a classic way to tick the human box in any story. We always advise people doing our Media Training workshops to include human case studies and examples.

Will Missguided recover?

Finally, once the company gets up and running again, how should it handle this severe dip in its fortunes and the fact that it’s been so hard on customers and others? As in Media Training consultancy for fashion brands, retailers and other sectors, we focus a lot on corporate narrative. This is essentially about the problem that the company is there to solve, the talent it uses, its ups and downs and its development, and, very importantly, what it learns from its triumphs and disasters. This kind of corporate narrative or storytelling is vital for all stakeholders – customers, suppliers and, very significantly, employees.

Frasers group will have to consider how it explains its purchase of Missguided, what has gone wrong, what it is doing to put it right and where the brand goes from here. Good public relations and Media Training can help to do this.

Media Training in London

We are not saying we can prevent your business from liquidation; however, we do know how to ensure that, if it did happen, your communications with the media and public would be strong and respectable.

Please get in touch on 07958 239892 or email gareth@communicatemedia.co.uk to organise your Media Training course today.

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