“The Rumors of Our Brand Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated!”

June 23rd, 2011

So, according to 24/7 Wall St., several venerable brands will die in 2012, including A&W, Saab, and American Apparel.  Whether or not these brands actually expire, there are two critical PR issues at stake for all of them.  It’s actually fairly easy to analyze things from this brand perspective.

First, is the prediction true?  If so, before the creditors start lining up, it’s worthwhile to start running some PR triage.  For any parent companies involved, they certainly won’t want the sinking ship to hurt the larger operation.  Start by creating a core slate of messages that clearly and directly explain exactly what’s happening with the business winding down, which preempts bystanders from crafting their own narrative of the demise.  Give marching orders to all staff to stick to this line publicly to avoid conflicting messages that will only confuse stakeholders.  And make sure your company’s site and digital channels present the messaging upfront so interested media can easily find them.

(Now if this isn’t the case, we go to the next scenario…)

Second, is the prediction not true?  Are the rumors of the brand/company demise incorrect?  If so, better set the record straight – and fast.  As discussed above, any parent companies will certainly demand such discipline, along with investors, shareholders, subsidiaries, business partners… the list goes on and on – and each probably requires a different set of messages and expectations.  Again, the idea is to preempt the media narrative on your own terms, instead of having interested reporters and competitors do it for you.

And that’s the binary calculus for today.  A strong brand’s instinct of course is to survive, but if they don’t, there’s always room for a comeback…

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