No company is perfect. We all mistakes, and if granted a second chance, I’m certain some would choose to do things differently. In efforts of learning from the past to avoid repeating history, here are four lessons we learned from some of America's most damaged brands about "what-not-to-do" to your brand.
1. General Motors
General Motors produced faulty ignition switches that have been linked to 31 accidents and 13 deaths. Executives reported that they were not made aware of these defective parts, and were called to appear before Congress to address these accusations. Mary Barra, CEO of GM, stated that the faulty parts had no impact on GMs' sales — but the company’s totaled loss after the part recall came in at $535 million in the quarter, compared to nearly $1 billion operating profit the year before.
Lesson learned: Don’t continue to sell faulty products to customers and expect them to still support your brand.
2. Paula Deen
Celebrity chef Paula Deen’s brand may be permanently ruined. Deen was sued by a former manager at one of her restaurants for racial discrimination. Deen admitted to using racial slurs and the Food Network cancelled her popular show, “Paula Deen’s Home Cooking.” She lost millions of dollars in endorsement and salary from the Food Network, Sears, Smithfield Foods and QVC.
Lesson learned: Everything you do or say can be used against you and your brand.
3. Bank of America
Bank of America was one of the many banks affected by the financial crisis. In the years to follow the economic crash, and after acquiring new companies, BOA’s actions left the public and shareholders very concerned when the company was faced with multiple fines and lawsuits. The bank’s credibility depreciated even more after disclosing that they incorrectly reported an extra $4 billion on its books. BOA has been faced with numerous legal actions since its acquisitions of Merrill Lynch and Countrywide Financial with recent error reigniting concerns that the bank is too big to be effectively managed.
Lesson learned: No matter how large your brand expands, make sure your management is copacetic.
4. Frontier Airlines
Once rated as the best airline in 2013 by Airfarewatchdog.com, Frontier Airline’s reputation took a dive after charging customers anywhere from $20 to $50 for overhead carry-on luggage. This upset customers since it was once free for travelers who purchased tickets online from the company’s website. The airline also began charging for nonalcoholic beverages. The public has let the company know of its displeasure regarding all the new changes. Frontier Airlines is trying to make up for the lost revenue by reducing fares, and by launching a new marketing campaign to explain the new fee structure. However, some current customer reviews still are not showing any positive feedback.
Lesson learned: People aren't often keen when it comes to change especially if it's taking more from their pocket. If you're taking something away from your customer, replace it with something even better to avoid damaging your brand.
To check out the full list of damaged brands, read it here.
Want to learn more lessons from well-known brands? Check out these Be Brilliant! blog posts:
Be Brilliant! | Brilliant Lens LLC is a branding, marketing and visual communications agency based in Fort Myers, Florida. Our work and experience have taken us around the globe, working for clients ranging from local entrepreneurs to global, Fortune 100 companies. If you’re on Facebook, be sure to Like our page. Follow us on Twitter @BeBrilliantSWFL.