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Which brands do you identify yourself with, and why are you loyal to them?  Are you loyal because you admire the celebrities associated with that brand?  Are you loyal because everyone else is?  Or are you loyal because you have actually had a positive experience with a product?

Despite your answer, on the other end, it takes a lot of work to uphold a positive brand image.  Companies and brands take a risk every time they choose to endorse an athlete or an organization because of what they might do for their reputation and brand image.  In addition, the people within a company must be sure to not give their customers any reason to defer their loyalty.  Here we will discuss two prime examples of both cases.

Reputation Management

The effects of hurting your reputation: definitely not the best golfer anymore

First, Tiger Woods.  Many people are familiar with the November 2009 scandal and his Pandora’s Box of secrets that was opened as a result.  Although Woods and his then-family were most directly affected, the Tiger Woods and Nike brand took a hit in the public relations department as many people questioned continued use of the brand because of who represented it.  In addition, sponsors such as Gatorade and AT&T decided post-scandal that Woods was no longer who they wanted to promote their product.  The social media scene was filled with people posting their opinions about the scandal.  While this event was then seen as damaging several brands’ reputations, the reputation that Woods hurt the most was his own.

On the other hand, social media was used this week to severely hurt the reputation of Bob Parsons, the CEO of  He took a trip to Zimbabwe, and there shot an elephant.  Several elephants were supposedly damaging a farmer’s crops for several nights, so Parsons decided to take the matter into his own hands.  As if this act wasn’t enough itself, Parsons took the liberty of posting a 4-minute video of the proceedings on his blog for the world to see.  This video shows several graphic images of Parsons with the dead elephant, as well as the grotesque scene of the community feasting after wards.

Reputation Management

The results of Parsons’ action on his company are soon to be seen

Because of this series of events, several large organizations have closed their account with, and they are encouraging others to do the same.  A company with an untarnished reputation at this point,, has already jumped on this opportunity (probably faster than the villagers on fresh elephant meat) to take any business from transfer accounts.  Parsons’ reputation is again in question (this isn’t the first time something strange has happened with the company), and his company may suffer as a result.

Think about yourself as both a consumer and a company executive.  Your overall brand loyalty is an interesting thing; it takes time to gain, but can be lost in a second.  But everything is easier when you maintain a good reputation.

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director