Friday, June 29, 2007

Brands That Rebound

On Fast Company's website they have a slide show about particular brands that have rebounded from negative publicity. Brands such as Tylenol, Firestone, and Martha Stewart are featured.

One important aspect about brands is their delicate nature. Brands are essentially reputations. And the more people are aware of these brands the more important reputation becomes. So, when bad publicity hits it is critical how a company responds, if they are to recover. (Does anybody remember Enron or WorldCom?)

It seems that the first thing a company needs to do is one of two things, if it is to survive: own up or fight. But they must choose wisely. If a company chooses to fight, it better be because they are innocent, not to cover-up misdeeds.

Also, it seems that companies that survive PR disaster make a similar next step; which is some sort of reparation or visible improvement. They do this despite whether the problem is due to an obvious wrongdoing, critical mistakes, or unfortunate conditions outside their control.

But the last step is similar too. And it is last for a good reason. They start the process of repairing their reputation through promotional efforts. And this comes after all the work of admitting the problem or being exonerated, and of making restitution or any improvements. This is because their promotional efforts much match their actions. Otherwise, their promotion efforts will come across as disingenuous.

These all have to be done fairly quickly, especially if the public health is concerned. But they must be all present, in that order, for the company to survive. These are also important for companies and organizations of any size, even though the speed of which these steps are implemented might vary. But the time to be ready is not when it happens. It is a good idea to have a plan in place beforehand, especially when a business or organization considers its values and mission.

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