Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You've worked hard to build your brand's image. These are some things that can kill it.

As Miami’s premier Salesforce consulting company, SkyPlanner's focus is on helping businesses improve how they conduct business. The third and final part of SkyPlanner’s three-part series on branding deals with incidents that could negatively affect a brand’s image. 

Before the advent of all-day news networks and social media it would take a monumental disaster such as the Exxon Valdez to make people wonder about how they previously perceived a brand. These days a single word uttered in privacy or a private donation can cause an uproar that can tarnish years of positive brand equity. This post from SkyPlanner, Miami’s premier Salesforce consulting company, outlines different ways a brand can damage itself.

branding, brand image, skyplanner, salesforceThe fist common threat to a company’s brand image is instituting a drastic change in business practices. These large-scale changes tend to trigger a huge backlash from both customers and
business experts. A prime example of this was Netflix’s decision to alter its business model in 2011 when the company announced that it would split off its DVD-rental service into a separate entity called Qwikster and, at the same time, raise prices. Netflix had built its loyal customer base on a sole brand and cheap subscription prices so when it seemed like the company was trying to gouge subscribers it was immediately attacked. Then customers threatened to leave the company in droves. Almost as quickly as it announced the new plans, the company had to reverse course and announce it would keep its service in its original form.

The second threat is when a brand’s image is heavily dependent on an individual, be it the
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company’s founder or a celebrity sponsor, and that person’s personal problems affect the brand. Paula Deen, who created a cooking empire with her Southern charm, and her well-publicized fall from grace caused by a derogatory comment is the latest example of personal problems affecting a brand. Almost as soon as news of the incident broke she lost her television show, her book deals, and many of her endorsement deals. While a scandal may not necessarily result in lost brand equity- most of Tiger Wood’s sponsors continued their association with the golfer despite his infidelity- Deen is somber reminder of how fragile a brand’s image can be.

The final issue we will touch upon concerns what happens when a company publicly aligns itself with
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one side of a divisive issue, which can result in a PR nightmare because those who favor the opposite side will usually bring attention to it. Chick-fil-A, known for its Christian leanings, became the center of a national debate when it came to light that the company donated money to organizations that were pro-traditional marriage. While it is, of course, the right of a company to do what it pleases with its earnings and will get support from like-minded people, it must be aware that there will be a vocal segment of the opposing view that will make it into a scandal. And it is up to the company’s leadership to determine whether their stance is worth the potential scandal.

SkyPlanner hopes you have enjoyed our three part series on what brand image means to your company, how to develop a brand strategy, and threats that can kill brand equity. SkyPlanner knows that as a young company our image is everything. And that’s why take care to give every client a professional yet personal touch in everything that we do for them.