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Moments When A Company’s Brand Is Shattered | Crisp Digital

When a company is growing and developing, most of its marketing work goes into nurturing and developing a brand that is associated solely with them. Once they reach a certain level, however, the focus shifts to protecting it at all costs.

So what happens when a brand’s carefully cultivated image is radically shifted and damaged by a major event, controversy or PR disaster?

The answers can be somewhat mixed, although there are very few occasions where a company collapses immediately. Some do see an immediate downturn, while others stay the course but ultimately falter. Some even manage to turn it all around.

Here are moments when we saw a company’s brand values shatter in front of our eyes and what happened next.


Ratner Group

One of the most infamous examples of a company’s reputation catching fire and collapsing almost immediately was living proof of the Warren Buffet quote that a reputation built up over 20 years can be destroyed in just five minutes. Or, if this video is anything to go by, 90 seconds.

That is an excerpt from a 25-minute speech to the Institute of Directors 1991 Annual Convention by Ratner Group head Gerald Ratner and starts off fine, with some light jokes about some of the more eclectic items Ratners Jewellery sell, leaning into their reputation as a “tacky” retailer.

However, when he insulted his own products, going so far as to call them “total crap”, The Ratner Group lost £500m in share value in just two weeks until he was dismissed.



An example of how even if the circumstances are not of your making you do need to react to a potentially brand-damaging moment, Ayds was an appetite suppressant sweet and diet supplement that got somewhat negative attention in the early 1980s due to HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Initially, members of the executive board were somewhat flippant, jokingly stating that the disease should change its name and that sales had increased because of the notoriety.

However, as AIDS became a worldwide pandemic, sales fell dramatically, and whilst they changed the name to Diet Ayds in 1989, it was too late to save the brand, and it was withdrawn from the market by the mid-1990s.

For more information and advice from a branding agency in High Wycombe, get in touch today.




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