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Swayzine - Influencer Marketing InsightsFor this week’s newsletter, I thought it would be fun to cover a few high-profile brand moments in social media lately. Today’s influencers — including regular people, not just social celebrities — have a lot of power in shaping public perception with their own content, and brands should be prepared to respond when it’s appropriate.

Let’s take a look at three recent instances of brands who were given a reason to respond, and how they handled the opportunity:


The moment: consumers have been flooding TikTok with accusations that the fast-casual Mexican grill chain has been shrinking portion sizes.

The brand response: Chipotle management issued an official denial, saying “There have been no changes in our portion sizes, and we have reinforced proper portioning with our employees.” Confusingly, the CEO went on to do an interview in which he implied that the trick to getting more portions is to deliver a “special look.” “One of the things I think is great about Chipotle is if you come into the restaurant and you want a little more rice or you want a little more pico [de gallo],” Niccol told Fortune, before widenening his eyes slightly and nodding his head, “Usually our guys and women give them a little more scoop.”

Our take: Weaksauce. Aside from a snarky send-up that spoofed the attention Chipotle has been getting, there’s been no official brand response via TikTok, where many of the complaints are being shared and engaged with. Why not share content that shows authentic real-world portion sizes to combat the negative reception?


The moment: Bethenny Frankel, the founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails and a former Real Housewife, claimed she was turned away from a Chanel store in Chicago. She posted about her experience, describing it as “elitist and exclusionary” because she wasn’t dressed in a way that looked “dolled up” or “wealthy.” Her post quickly gained traction and has racked up nearly 14M views as of this writing.

The brand response: Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Our take: Boring, old-fashioned, potentially alienating. As I told AdAge, “The most amazing response would be something funny that pokes fun at what went down, apologizes to her, and shows that they don’t take themselves so seriously.” Imagine Chanel embracing the moment with humor and humility – maybe even with a Pretty Woman reference?! (Let it be known that I added a clarification: I don’t actually think they’ll do it. Feel free to surprise me, Chanel!)

Four Seasons Orlando

The moment: a hugely viral video of a baby raising her hand and saying MEEE when prompted, “Who wants to go to Four Seasons Orlando?”

The brand response: One glance at the Four Seasons Orlando’s TikTok page shows just how heavily the brand has leaned into the spotlight by sharing all sorts of “Four Seasons Baby” content. They also created a (hugely delightful) video montage on TikTok showing baby Kate being welcomed in style at the resort.

Our take: Perfection, no notes. The response has been fun, lightearted, and cleverly leveraging the on-trend “Fully Concious Baby” moment as long as possible while also highlighting the resort’s amenities.

In our super-connected digital world, brands no longer control every aspect of their messaging. Consumers have more power than ever before, and it’s smart to think of them as contributors to the overall brand story rather than passive recipients. The brands who take the time to listen and thoughtfully respond to customer feedback have the chance to improve their reach, engagement, and even foster long-term loyalty.

Meanwhile, the ones who stay silent or brush off concerns are just leaving opportunities on the table.

Reach out any time with questions, to send questionable memes, or just to say hi!