A brand can be one of the most powerful assets a company can have. Brands are not necessarily just for a product or a service. Anything can be branded these days, a country, a football club, even people. How many celebrities do you think have their own name as brands? They are a product, a very well crafted product, sometimes.
But what exactly is a brand? As we learned, it can be many things. It can stand for the identity of a business, a name, a symbol, a design, a representation, an expectation, a differentiator, and nowadays, most brands are lifestyles. It’s something that puts your company, meaning product or service or anything that can be branded, in a different position of other ones of the same category. It is something that distinguishes you from the rest. A brand can also, as I learned, represent a set of values, it represents trust. And I want to focus on this: trust.
A consumer or user trusts you to deliver certain things that your promised. The user expects certain things in return. This trust takes time to build, sometimes a lot of money, but certainly a lot of effort. A company’s reputation is the trust that it evoques. But this can all change from one day to the other. Because people change, choices change and the market changes. As Keller suggests, the context can always change. So a brand must be able to pivot constantly.
So what happens when the face of your company gets a bad reputation? You parts way with them, right? Easy. But what if the representative of your company is one of the main pillars of your brand? Not only as a person but as a name. I am talking about the case that is shaking the film industry worldwide, Harvey Weinstein. He was not only, arguably, the most famous producer in Hollywood, but his company, The Weinstein Co., was one of the top players in the business. Most people in the film and TV wanted to work with them, with him. But that all changed in a few days.
In October, The New York Times published an article where several powerful women in Hollywood accused the producer of decades-long sexual harassment allegations. Many more followed, including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. The Weinstein Co. fired him but the name still remains.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, several films and TV shows will have the company’s logo removed from their credits as well as the producer’s name. But what will happen to the reliability and image of the company? This is a production company that has many TV and film titles to be released over the next few years. Variety reports that these allegations led to the delay of TV projects with Apple and Amazon. Of course if your brand is tarnished people wont be that interested in working with you. Many business partners have parted ways and ended agreements with the company as the story unfolded.
This is just another example of the power of a brand. With its power comes the good and the bad.
The good: Weinstein was the most thanked name ever at the Oscars. (Yes, even more than God).
The bad: It can all change in the blink of an eye.
Who will get recognition at the next Academy Awards? Maybe God will get its chance this time.
Topic: Brand Management
Keller, K.L., Sternthal, B. and Tybout A. (2002) ‘Three Questions You Need to Ask About Your Brand’, Harvard Business Review, 80 (9), pp. 80-86.
Weinstein Company Renews Sale Effort as Colony Capital Drops Out, Bankruptcy Looms http://variety.com/2017/film/news/weinstein-company-sale-bankruptcy-1202609512 (Accessed: 6 November 2017).
Harvey Weinstein’s Credit to Be Removed From All TWC TV Series http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/harvey-weinstein-puts-marchesa-fashion-brand-tough-spot-1046926 (Accessed: 12 November 2017).
Harvey Weinstein Puts Wife’s Marchesa Fashion Brand in Tough Spot http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/harvey-weinsteins-credit-be-removed-all-tv-series-1047062 (Accesed: 12 November 2017).