Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to Implode Your Brand in 24 Hours

You have to hand to the Susan G. Komen folks--they certainly know piss away a reputation in an incredibly efficient manner. For the life of me, I can't understand why they've adopted this new ideology-based strategy. Normally I would give an organization the benefit of the doubt and figure that they ran the numbers and believed this to be the best strategy, but the unspeakably shoddy way they've handled the PR for the decision makes that impossible to believe. I honestly don't know how it walks away from this fiasco without the resignations of the people behind the policy change and tougher institutional controls that prevent ideology from trumping the core mission of providing for women's health. Charities live and die by their reputations and right now SGK's is imploding.

But this isn't going to stop with Komen. Like most other successful charities, SGK has dozens of prominent corporate sponsors, like:

3M, American Airlines, Bank of America, Bic, Caribou Coffee, Caterpiller, Crayola, the Dallas Cowboys, Energizer, Evite, Ford Motors, Forever 21, Guess, Hewlett-Packard, LPGA, Lowe's, Major League Baseball, The Preakness Stakes, Merck, Microsoft, New Balance, Old Navy, Oracle, Pepperidge Farms, REMAX, Samsung, SELF Magazine, Stanley Black & Decker, Walgreen's, Yoplait.

Those are some huge brand names and all of them are about to be inundated with a deluge of requests to end their sponsorships or face a boycott. Some will do so before they receive the first angry email. Komen is handling this so poorly that it's brand is going to start to weigh others down with it.

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