Even in the age of real-time customer service, where crucial contacts and tips are shelled out—en masse and by the second—across Facebook, Twitter, and 24/7 chat lines to resolve issues, it’s always a bit dazzling when the head honcho of a major brand reaches out to address a singular customer (and arguably, more so when the interaction prompts a discernible pivot in brand strategy). Those are the moments in which it seems that the two-way conversation goes analog—as though to remind us all that no company is faceless and every solution is borne of two (or more) living, breathing people just hashing it out.

Today, we have another proof point for the content marketing binder, c/o of Jenni Avins for New York Magazine. Last summer, Avins, a freelance journalist, authored an impassioned open letter in The Cut to Jenna Lyons, President of J. Crew, requesting a re-release of her favorite J. Crew scoop back swimsuit from the 1990s. Influential channel and J. Crew’s reputation for great customer interaction aside, an email response from Prez Lyons came two days later. Paraphrased, Lyons suggested in her prompt and personal missive that Avins’ letter was the request that tipped the scale on the re-release of the suit.
A year later, the scoop-back that millennial dreams are made of has been reissued for sale, with print advertisements featuring a handwritten note from Lyons to Avins. Nice brand play for J. Crew, but an even better lesson for all content creators out there.
A customer request—distributed via the right channels and touching on a canny audience pain point—can move brand strategy, define new markets, re-launch a product and even make for a personalized response or two from a president (or THE President). Today, we all have voices. Make sure yours is heard loud and clear above the fracas, and your wish can very well become a brand’s command.