For a long time now I have been 100% convinced that prior to anyone starting a business they should read a short and very simple message on brand integrity and that should simply read ‘don’t fuck this up’. The reason for this is because that is quite literally how simple it is when you are the owner of a brand, regardless of its power.
Some business owners may get stuck into the whys and the wherefores, the challenges of being a responsible brand and the obstacles which they have to face but the truth is that things just aren’t as complicated as that, they really aren’t, and sadly most of them will eventually F it up, it’s inevitable.
How many times have you heard about a cock up that a certain company has made and just put your palm to your face? In my case, it happens every time and I genuinely can’t think of a single PR disaster or branding error which made me think ‘to be fair they were unlucky’. In almost every single case the event has taken place because they allowed it to, the business got sloppy, they only had something checked by one person instead of ten, or perhaps even the staff were just too scared to tell their all powerful executive that racism isn’t really the best way to sell a product.
What baffles me most about this is that businesses know only too well just how difficult it is for them to create a brand, this takes years and years of hard work, investment, hustle, growth, it is never something which happens overnight. You would think therefore that incubating this idea for such a long time, giving the nurture and the love that creating a brand needs and doing everything that it takes to arrive at a position where you have a strong and trustworthy brand, would all lead to a business looking to protect it with their life, especially given how frail a reputation is. However, this happens time and time again and quite why the power of the brand is not respected is beyond me, there are just so many who do manage F it up.
Honestly I think in most cases it is a situation where the company just doesn’t see the wood for the trees, they are so hell bent on getting product placement for their new bottled water all over the place that they fail to see the irony of oil company execs drinking it or whatever error it may be. We see this a lot in fact, execs who are just wound up to the hilt to get the product out there, market the hell out of it so that they can start counting the cash, and of course they lose complete focus of the glaring errors which they are making.
The answer to all of this is simple for businesses, just don’t fuck it up.