Better to be a brand than not. Once consumers establish your product by brand, it is not an entity in itself. (I have said before that brand is a living, breathing thing.) Rather, as branding expert Laura Ries says: it is bulletproof. Why is proofing your brand against brand scandal so important? Over the course of the last 12 months, we have seen so many “brand scandals” (i.e. Ries’ account of the 2010 Toyota and McDonald’s recalls). Despite these recalls,time is showing that ultimately there has been little effect on their overall positioning.

brand scandal

Photo by salty_soul made available through a creative commons license


Brand scandal… how do brands recover…or do they?  A well known brand can bounce back from a brand scandal. Known for whatever they built their character on – reliability, fast service, expertise – if one of those characteristics is challenged, the brand character will outweigh the incident, providing of course, they maintain integrity in their response to the incident. When an incident is the first time a brand has notoriety… well, there isn’t much more to say. When a brand is weak, it is susceptible to catastrophe.

Think about it – if a company is only ever known for their scandal, how is the public supposed to see them as any different… funny how BP comes to mind (i.e. BP and their eco initiatives gone wrong, sparking tandem You Tube talk).

Are you afraid of what a brand scandal may do to your business? Want great ways to brand proof your business? Consider these 3 tips:

1) Familiarity: Your brand has to be part of the public consciousness. They have to know it as soon as they see it, and it has to be distinctive. Consistency is a must!

2) Uniqueness: Your brand must have an active character. More than just the “sell” nature of the brand  there needs to be real recognized initiatives that prove your brand’s character. Actions speak louder than words!

3) Presence: The magic of 3.  A strategic advertising campaign is one that presents your brand across various platforms, so my formula always aims that the target group sees it in 3 different settings at different times. Be there, and there, and there!