When Friendly Fire Cause a Crisis: Three Easy Ways to Avoid a Brand Scandal

By | January 31, 2014

I came across this slideshow about the biggest brand scandals, and its simplicity made the problems, and the solutions so clear.  Here are three ways to avoid brand scandal:

  1. Learn from the mistakes of others – Victoria’s Secret tried to launch a “sexy” line of underwear for tweens. Abercrombie did the same thing, and got hammered.  12-year-old girls don’t need thongs, and their parents won’t pay for them.
  2. Remember that nothing is “only internal” – if you don’t want to say it on Twitter, or see it printed on the front page of The New York Times, don’t say it, and definitely don’t write it. Case in point: Target and the “sombrero” remark.
  3. Include a sensitivity check in your final approval process – if the joke is at someone’s expense – or at the expense of an entire gender, ethnicity, religious group or other demographic, it isn’t funny. Don’t do it. Half of the brands that found themselves on this list earned their spot this way.

We are all existing in a complex environment where it is difficult to get attention.  Where speed kills.  But any attention is not good attention.


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