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Brand and the beast
Part 1
New brands are created each day. Many will make it, many will not. And many will face unexpected challenges that result in brand breakdowns.

Should your brand go bad from

  • A product recall
  • A scandal
  • A major market shift
  • Or  some really bad luck

You can turn your brand around and get back to business.

With the right knowledge, tools and preparation, you can better equip yourself to recover from that evil, intimidating beast—the unforeseen brand shakeup.

Whether commercial, individual, cause or nonprofit, or destination, well-regarded brands reap benefits including customer loyalty, trust, backing by eager ambassadors, a protective shield and countless opportunities. Still, sometime this just isn’t enough to prevent your brand from crumbling when catastrophe arises.

The key point here is that no brand is immune to a breakdown. No matter how strong or popular your brand, always be prepared for the worst. It can happen without warning, and have catastrophic results.

Like any type of beast, a brand shakeup rears its ugly head in many forms. They could be the result of accidents, product recalls, scandals, dramatic market shifts, poor judgment, bad behavior or bad luck, among other things.

Despite the trigger or severity of the shakeup, some brands come out fighting—and make complete turnarounds, sometimes even becoming stronger than they ever were.

The first step in combating a shakeup is to be prepared. Brands undergoing hard times move through five phases:

  1. Brand-shaking Event — market shift created by internal or external circumstances.
  2. Market Reaction and the Brand’s Reply — public suddenly has negative view of your brand and you lose ambassadors; press management and a spokesperson are crucial here.
  3. By-products and Other Hazards That May Follow a Troubled Brand — public media and negative sentiment can grow and brand equity could be lost.
  4. Road to Recovery — start to heal when another, more damaging event, enters the news cycle or when your good planning results in execution of recovery strategies and tactics.
  5. Return to Glory — maintain progress and respond to new challenges.

Familiarize yourself with this cycle and create a plan for how you will deal with each step. Simultaneously, make an effort to rebuild connections and relationships with core markets. Beyond this, know your brand essence—solidify your purpose, distinction, promise and personality.

See next blog for part 2 and more tips on how to turn your brand around. This content is an excerpt from my new book Brand Turnaround (McGraw-Hill 2011) that released December 16th…

Until then Brand On!

For more information on branding tips, view:
8 must answer questions to grade your personal brand