What do the recent Volkswagen scandals mean for legacy brands?
When our trust is violated, do we respond differently to people than to companies?
Legacy Brands vs. Disrupters
Legacy brands have credibility. They’ve weathered storms. You assume they’re good in order to have thrived for so long.
Are brands like VW too big to fail?
Or are they going the way of our ever-shrinking attention spans? As new challengers arise, will their grip on consumers’ imaginations slip?
From a damage control perspective, VW had a solid strategy. They realized they were at fault and took immediate action. They fired their CEO and opened lines of communication with customers to let them know how it was going to be fixed.
Now, as VW seeks to reassure loyal customers and recapture market share, its Crisis PR and Marketing teams need to work hand-in-hand to ensure their messaging is consistent.
People vs. Companies
When an individual wrongs us, it hurts more. It’s personal. It’s the human element that gives it that extra sting. We hold them to a higher standard.
Not so much when companies and organizations do it. They’re nebulous, and we almost expect them to be doing something they shouldn’t. Often our reaction is to shrug.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve betrayed the public’s trust, your ability to bounce back depends on various factors. Has your brand built up a vast bank of goodwill? Are you or your product or service easily replaceable?
Unless you’ve amassed a cult-like following (à la Apple or Disney), it’s harder to bounce back. If you’re a new, smaller brand like Tesla, you’d be toast.
Elon Musk, on the other hand, would be fine. He’d just find another pet project to be his golden child.
For more on this topic, check out #7 of 10 Pop Songs That Perfectly Illustrate The Brand-Consumer Relationship. Makes you think about how we cultivate our own personal brands and how our reputations are affected. http://goo.gl/ZJMZti
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.
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