The world’s most “damaged” brands

An article on 24/7 Wall Street this past week outlined the “Nine Most Damaged Brands in America“.

It’s nice to see the media starting to acknowledge that an organisation will be impacted when they don’t keep their promises.

“The brands on this damaged brand list often rose based on lofty claims, and fell when those claims were not realised.”

The article is quite lengthy, so in a nutshell the damage to each organisation/person was made by:

  • Mismanagement of finances.
  • Software glitches.
  • Huge price increase of service.
  • Product defect (okay, cracks in airline wings is a bit more than a product defect).
  • Poor communications.
  • Inconsistent access and service.
  • Bad HR policies.
  • Product defects again (engine problems for a car this time).
  • Being a pain in the ass.

The bottom line is that damage to your organisation can come from places you least expect it and the promises you make are not just in your ads.

Products have to deliver what they promise. People have to do what they say. Services have to meet expectations. Organisations have to stay solvent to trade. If you do make a mistake don’t try and duck – own up and fix it.

These are the basics. Ignore them and you could find yourself in dire straights and featured on a list of things not to do.

And there are always the easy targets for those lists.

Banks firing hundreds of people while posting record profits. Mismanagement of the new Myki ticketing system in Victoria leading to massive delays at entry and exit points. V/Line trains stranding passengers twice in a week.

On the more personal side, Ben Polis has delivered an abject lesson on the impact that can have on the professional – as if Ricky Nixon hadn’t already demonstrated that.

How can you avoid the kinds of damage listed above? Chances are you can’t and won’t, not completely and forever. Organisations are complex multi-layered things and are made up of people. And people screw things up. But a few things can help.

Don’t rush products or services into the marketplace before they have been tested and tested again (that includes websites) – a delay to make sure it is right isn’t likely to hurt you, putting out something that doesn’t work definitely will.

Don’t get greedy.

If you do or say something you shouldn’t have, apologise and fix it.

Don’t over-hype what you can deliver to try and “gain market-share”.

Figure out what you CAN do and do it consistently.

Think more than one or two steps ahead and look for unexpected things to happen.

Who do you think are the most damaged organisations in Australia today and why?

See you next week.


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